Getting a dog is a decision for life – at least for a long period of time, which can easily last 18 years. You should carefully consider beforehand whether you want to and can take on this responsibility. Here are a few tips for getting started!
The perfect home
Dogs cannot be kept everywhere. It is ideal if he does not have to live in a small apartment, but has plenty of room to run around and a garden. But of course there is also the possibility to keep a dog happy in a flat. You should clarify in advance whether your landlord allows this. You should also choose a breed that does not bark so often and loudly – otherwise you will quickly get into trouble with the neighbor. Furthermore, it should be clarified who takes care of the dog and when, so that the dog does not have to be alone all day. Dogs that are keen on exercise and sports are perfect for life in the country. The best thing to do is to ask breeders about the respective requirements and characteristics of the individual breeds.
Once you have decided on a dog, you should know one thing: Dogs are pack animals – they need a lot of company. Unlike many small animals, dogs do not necessarily need a companion to be happy. Humans are also accepted as part of the pack and as true friends. From the beginning you should spend a lot of time with your four-legged friend and educate him. Mostly it takes several weeks until your dog has learned that he has to do his business outside. Experienced dog owners can often train their dog on their own, for beginners it is really important to attend a dog school. In many places there is now also the dog-handler’s license, which masters and mistresses must take at the beginning. For many dogs it is a great pleasure to play with other dogs in the park. Maybe you can find other nice four-legged friends in your neighborhood with whom you can do something?
Keep an eye on costs
Right at the beginning you should get an overview of the costs for your new roommate. Which insurances are necessary? How much do you need monthly for food and equipment? Your local authority can tell you how much dog tax you have to pay annually for your four-legged friend. Be sure to set aside some money: visits to the vet are not exactly cheap.
You are going to need a lot of things, like a good dog bed or a house. Check top lists of dog products for that and don’t trade quality for lower prices – because you’ll have to replace products more often if they have lower quality and end up spending more.
Getting started with the common everyday life
With the arrival of the dog everything is new. It takes time for the new family to grow together and find a common everyday life. You make it easier for your dog and yourself if you try to incorporate fixed rituals and procedures into the day. Fixed sleeping and feeding places in the apartment provide orientation. Introduce fixed times for daily walks. In the beginning it also helps if you don’t always change rounds, but rather follow familiar paths again and again. Later on, when your four-legged friend has settled in, you can vary – this makes it more fun and encourages his spirit of discovery.
Explore the surroundings
Already in the first few days you will discover your surroundings in a completely new way: Which neighbor likes dogs? Who is afraid of them? Where do other dogs live and how well do you get along with them? At which places on the daily walk does it become dangerous for your quadruped? Step by step you will perceive your environment from the perspective of a dog owner. The better you get to know your dog, the sooner you will know when to keep the leash a little shorter. Take your time for this round of introductions – it’s best if the whole family doesn’t take turns with your four-legged friend immediately, but if he has a permanent reference person. This person can then quickly estimate when your dog is ready to go out with the others.