Most people who bring pets into their homes do so with the best of intentions, and we’re willing to bet you can be defined in that way too. After all, anyone who may be dismissive or abusive to animals probably won’t be reading guides dedicated to helping them thrive as a pet owner.
But it’s important to notice that while having the virtue of best intentions is fantastic and can see you through the years of caring for a pet, avoiding mistakes as a well-meaning pet owner is worth your consideration.
This is because pets aren’t only our little fuzzy friends, but creatures that need to be nurtured in the right way. In most cases, they cannot be left to ‘fend for themselves’ provided we feed them enough, just as we wouldn’t take that approach to one of our own children.
For example, it might seem as though having all the best food on offer for your dog sounds like a good way to help them grow, until you realize that a lack of proper portion control has caused them to balloon up and suffer from unwanted health issues. So, in order to thrive in this role, some of the following advice is more than worth your time:
Try To Keep Areas Of Your Home Off-Limits
Small dogs tend to be very curious creatures, perhaps even more so than little kittens. It’s not that little kittens are less interested in their environment, but they tend not to recklessly charge from room to room like puppies do. As such, this is why keeping areas of your home off limits is most important. A small puppy’s legs can be harmed and its joints injured and stressed if climbing up and down stairs, so if they must be taken, carry them carefully.
Properly access gates can prevent them from getting into certain rooms. As they potty-train (for want of a better term), you may block off access to the home office where puppy accidents could ruin the thick-set carpet. As your dog grows into themselves and becomes more reliable, they’ll certainly avoid making those mistakes.
Don’t Shelter Them From The World
Don’t shelter your dog from the world, even though it can seem like waiting for vaccinations or making certain that they won’t be scared by the outer environment is a good idea. However, puppies need to grow and become aware of the world outside your house and your family unit, and especially to see other dogs and animals. When this becomes a common sight, they’ll be less reactive to walking past other dog walkers.
However, this may not just happen naturally. Undertaking appropriate training and socialization classes for dogs will help them develop under a trusted instructor. This instructor will also seek to develop the bond between you and your dog, more teaching you how to instruct your dog rather than doing everything themselves. As such, this helps you become a better owner, and will help you avoid the sheltered-dog syndrome that can otherwise become so much more common.
Ensuring They View You As The Authority Is Tough, But Necessary
It’s not necessarily the default for a dog to view their owner as their master. However, centuries of taming and bond between man and animal works in your favor here. It can be tough to discipline our dogs by strong ‘NO’ instructions and depriving them of treats and other affection we’d love to give them, but responsible instructions help them see you as the authority, deferring to you as much as possible.
This also trains you as an owner, someone who isn’t afraid to put their foot down and discipline their dog appropriately if they repeat bad habits, such as hanging around under the dinner table for scraps when your family is eating, or jumping on your leather sofa. Of course, appropriate measures towards discipline and warning, rather than the unacceptable methods of raising your hand to them or shouting each time is essential.
Make Sure They’re Suitable For Your Home
It’s also important to recognize that not all dogs are suitable for all homes. Well-meaning dog owners just wish to provide a nice home to a nice animal, but might it be that taking your first dog from a rescue shelter and bringing them into your family home environment with children around could be a bad idea?
It may be that you absolutely love chocolate labradors for instance, but if you have a new baby and you know labradors are super boisterous, perhaps you could go for a smaller dog like a cavalier King Charles spaniel, as these are more manageable. Making the best pre-emptive plan will always ensure a better outcome.
With this advice, you’re sure to enjoy a suitable dog for your home.