As a dog owner, there are many things I could tell you to help prepare you for bringing a dog into your home.
These would be entirely based on my experience and would veer from the sublime, such as the moment I’ll never forget when I picked my oldest dog, Mia, up from the vets and got the news she was cancer free (note to new dog owners: never take a day for granted).
To the ridiculous, when I left a pair of shoes in the company of my new rescue dog, who destroyed just one of the shoes (note to new dog owners: never leave shoes out until you know if a dog’s a chewer or not).
So, I asked some of our friends on Facebook to share with me some of their own stories, here’s what I learnt are the 3 most popular things, from one dog owner to another, that you should know.
1. Be Kind & Patient
This is true for any dog owner. Being kind needs no explanation, your dog will show you an abundance of kindness and unconditional love, and in return we will automatically give it back.
While patience is not just a virtue when it comes to training your dog to be a respectable member of society, it’s crucial.
When you adopt a dog, you may be adopting an older dog. In this case, they may already be fully trained. However, with young dogs or puppies, you’ll be starting potentially from scratch.
Some experts teach the basics from a young age, but their real training begins when a dog’s personality has developed and they say this because once a dog’s developed, you’ll know more about their personality and what makes them tick and you can combine your dog’s main source of motivation (whether food or play, for example) as part of your training program.
2. Make Sure Your Dog Is As Healthy On The Inside As Out
The importance of a good diet is as true for your dog as it is for you. A good diet will help young dogs to grow and develop, while it can add years to an older dog’s life. I know this to be true from personal experience.
Remember, your dog can’t tell you if there is something going on beneath the surface, they rely on you to spot the signs, subtle or otherwise.
Whatever diet you favor, raw, holistic, homemade or dry, make sure what fuels them is tailored to their needs because it could be the difference between being healthy and happy, or not.
3. Your Dog Will Never Be Here For As Long As You’d Like, Cherish Each Moment
If you’ve just brought your new dog home, this may sound morbid but bear with me.
Sadly, we know our dogs will never live for as long as we do. “They’re here for a good time, not a long time”, someone once said, so make the most of each moment you spend together.
I got my first dog, Bonnie, when I was a child in the late 1980s and she was with me for 12 years. Phones and technology wasn’t then what it is now and I didn’t have a camera at my fingertips most moments of the day.
In years gone by, as two other beloved dogs, Chloe and Jackson, have come and gone, technology has advanced and for each dog I have more photos and memories to cherish, but even I know when the time comes to reflect I won’t have as many of them as I do for my current dogs who’ve had cameras snapping away from the early days.
Life can often feel like it dictates how your day goes and you’re swept up alongside it.
When you’re with your dog, be in the moment and enjoy the little things. When you can, take photos of the things they do that makes them ‘them’. Not everything has to be picture perfect, life isn’t after all, but if they have a particular habit, something that’s unique to them then make sure you capture it because you’ll hold these close to your heart in years (hopefully 10+ years) to come.