How to Care for Dogs, Ways of Play and Ideal Toys – Guide for New Dog Owners
So, you have finally decided to get a dog, and you are wondering what exactly you need to do. Should you move your furniture? Is redesigning the whole house to make it dog-proof necessary? Should you buy special beds? How about the food? Which toys are best suited for dogs? How do I set boundaries? How much time can puppies be left alone until they cause havoc and destruction in you house?
By this point, your head is probably spinning with tons of questions, and it is totally normal since having a dog is a huge commitment. But there is no reason to be intimidated by all the new stuff you have to learn because we are here to help you. Here is how to take care of dogs, ways of play and ideal toys.
Dog Toys and Equipment
First things first, you should split your home into ‘’areas’’. This means setting up designated ‘’dog zones’’ the dog’s crate, toys, bed and other stuff are placed and setting off-limits area where the dog is not allowed to enter.
As for the dog toys, there are many variants on the market, so your decision should be based on the dog’s age, height, size, and temperament. If you want to see what the market has to offer, you can check ToyPetReviews, a specialized website dedicated to all matters concerning dog care. There, you can find reviews, tutorials, and other useful materials that will help you on this new adventure.
Here are the absolute essentials that you need to buy before any toys:
- A leash and a collar
- Waste bags
- A dog bag, a crate appropriate for the dog’s breed or size if you want to crate train him.
- Spare water plastic water bowls and food to last for about a week.
As for the toys, they should be appropriate for the dog’s breed and, most importantly, age. Puppies will not enjoy toys that are designed for adult dogs, and senior dogs will get no kick out of playthings that involve intense physical activity. Here are the most common types of toys:
- Teething toys. Teething is one of the most painful and uncomfortable phases of the dog’s life, and he will naturally do everything in his power to alleviate any inconveniences, including chewing your furniture and possessions. To satisfy your dog’s urge to chew, make sure to provide him with durable chewing toys.
- Comfort toys. Dogs, unlike other pets, suffer from what experts call separation anxiety. Thankfully, there are lots of toys that are specially designed to comfort lonely dogs and provide them with a sort of surrogate companionship. Choose toys that resemble things familiar to the dog, such as rabbits, ducks, bones or even other dogs. If they squeeze or make any kind of sound, the better because it will keep the dog occupied until you get home.
- Puzzle toys. Dogs, regardless of breed, need as much mental activity as possible. Puzzle toys, which are basically constructed in the form of elaborate feeding games, will stimulate the dog’s brain, and teach him healthy eating habits in the process.
Preparing Your Home
Now that we have covered the subject of toys and equipment, it is time to prepare your house for your dog. As soon as you will bring him home, he will naturally start sniffing and exploring the new surroundings, and since puppies are highly energetic and lack control, they might risk hurting themselves.
So, before bringing the little dog home, you need to make your home puppy-proof, as well as prepare it for when he will inevitably grow up:
- Move valuable objects out of their reach (meaning in high places that they can’t reach)
- Make sure that the electrical wires and cords are either hidden somewhere or kept into cable protectors to eliminate the possibility of your dog chewing them.
- Shoes, socks, phone chargers, headphones and other small objects that the dog might feel like they are delicious should also be tucked in a safe spot.
- Trash should be kept in closed containers to prevent your dog from scavenging.
As for the outdoors (if you have a yard, of course), make sure to take the following steps:
- Install a secure, stable fence that the dog can’t jump, or crawl under. Add mesh wires to prevent the dog from squeezing through the panels, otherwise the dog might suffer an accident.
- Make sure to keep the side gates and drive shut at all times
- Do not let hot tubs, ponds or swimming pools uncovered.
- Some plants might be poisonous to the dog. Before removing them, consult with a vet, as they can advise you which plants are dangerous for dogs. But in general, the lily, azalea, hydrangea, tomato, daffodil, aloe vera and tulip should be kept away from your dog.
As for the exploration part, your dog will start examining his surroundings as soon as you let them. For this part to go as smooth as possible, remember the following things:
- Dogs, especially males who have not been neutered, might mark their territory if they sense that other animals have been living in the home.
- In the first few days, keep the dog leashed as he is exploring the house because you will be able to immediately nip any bad behavior in the bud.
- Make sure he understands that it is your house, and no bad behavior will go unnoticed. Once you establish the power dynamic, he will start behaving accordingly.
Ideal Games for Dogs
Dogs have been bred for generations for various types of work. Now, since they are more popular as house pets than working dogs, owners have to go the extra mile to ensure that their beloved companions get enough physical activity. Here are a few fun games that your dog will surely enjoy:
- Tug of War. This one of the best games to play with your dog, because it combines training, physical exercise, and proper social engagement. It is a good way to teach your dog good manners because you will constantly be commanding him to do one thing or the other. Just remember, the game is over when YOU decide it is over, not your dog. If his teeth touch your skin, stop immediately and repeat the process with the proper commands to prevent the dog from developing aggressive behaviors.
- Detective game. Let your pet smell the treats from your hand, have a friend hold the dog, and hide the food in various spots around the house. Dogs are natural trackers and spotters, and he will love sniffing around your house to find the treats.
- You can also teach your dog to chase bubbles by simply pointing them out and encouraging him to seek them. Use bubbles made for kids that do not contain any ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
- Digging games. Some dogs love digging, so owning a box solely for this activity is a good way of teaching them to dig only in pre-approved areas.
- Another game that will stimulate the dog’s natural scent-tracking abilities is hide and seek. Command your dog to stay while you hide. Once you find a hiding spot, call your dog and let him search for you.
These are some of the basic things that all new dog owners should know before getting one. A dog is a big responsibility, so make sure to redesign your house to be pet-friendly and buy all the necessary equipment and toys. As for the rest, as always, you will learn on the fly, and the dog will love learning alongside you.