Bringing your first pet home can be a very exciting time. It may have been something you have been planning for years and could feel like the perfect addition to your family home. Nearly half of all American household own a dog, and around 35% own a pet cat, so it's clear that we are a nation of animal lovers. But what may surprise you is that many people who decide to buy or adopt a dog have no idea how to train it or how to look after it. We are so swamped by cute puppy videos online these days that it brings about a 'how hard can it be?' kind of attitude in many would-be owners. But if you don't prepare yourself for pet ownership, you could very quickly see your dream go up in flames, and lose your beloved dog as a result. Here are some of the most common corners that new pet owners try to cut, and why you need to take them seriously.
Training them to heel
'Heel' is one of the most basic commands you can teach your dog. It means they know when to stay close by your side, which can come in useful in a variety of scenarios. For example, if you see another dog nearby that you think could be a threat to your pet, you can tell your dog to heel and they will come back to your side. Or, if your dog gets overexcited being around lots of people, you can order them to heel so you can calm them down. A dog that doesn't heel can be in danger of running off and getting lost, as well as being a threat to other animals and people in the vicinity. Just in case this does happen, make sure your pet is fitted with something like Oz Microchips, so you can track them down if they do go missing. But 'heel' is a command that should be top of your list when it comes to training your dog, regardless.
Training them bathroom etiquette
No, we don't mean actually teaching your pet dog to use the toilet! But toilet training your young puppy is an absolute must if you want to continue to have a clean and hygienic home. Puppies need to go to the bathroom very frequently, so make sure you start this training from the second you bring them home. If you let them get away with urinating and defecating on the floor, they will only continue to do so. Use cue words when they are doing their business, so they will eventually pick up on what you want them to do, and make sure you extend the training to when they are out on walks as well. Otherwise, they will think that the only place they can go to the toilet is at home.
Training them to be calm around people/other dogs
It is vital that you socialize your puppy with people and other dogs from a young age. If your dog is not exposed to anyone apart from you, it could become nervous around strangers and in turn display some violent and intimidating behavior. On a similar note, make sure your dog gets used to seeing other dogs out and about when on walks. Keep them on a leash at first, but let them smell the other dog. If any threatening behavior occurs from your dog towards the other, reprimand them for this. Integrating your puppy in such a way will make leaving the house with him or her a much easier task.