How to help a new dog owner
So, one of your friends or family members has recently welcomed a new dog to their family. They’ve told you that they’re completely in awe of their new, furry chum – but they’re also going through some ‘teething problems’ and need some help.
Whether they’re having issues with a two month-old pup or a more mature pooch, the best piece of advice you can give them is this: they’re not alone!
A lot of new dog owners encounter the same problems when settling in their new pooch, and there are always solutions.
If you’ve ever owned a dog before, then you may be able to offer some advice from your past experience.
Before we look at common new dog issues and what can be done about them, have you checked that the owners have dog insurance?
It’s really important that pooches are protected with insurance, just in case an accident or illness results in them needing treatment.
Having cover in place can help to cover the costs of vet bills, so they won’t be left out of pocket.
Go Get It is the UK's only dedicated pet insurance comparison website that compares cover on dog owners' behalf.
We compare varied levels of cover, from accident-only to time-limited and lifetime insurance, with each policy packed with plenty of benefits as standard.
Now let’s take a look at some common doggy troubles, and how you can help your friend or family member.
Is the owner complaining of headaches because of their hound’s incessant barking?
This could be due to a number of reasons – for instance, they might bark to be territorial or protective; out of boredom or loneliness; to seek attention or greet people; or because they have separation anxiety.
It helps to know exactly why the pooch is excessively barking before trying tricks to control it. Here are some things to try, as shared by Pets WebMD:
Boredom/loneliness.If the dog barks excessively when the owner is gone, this is a sign that they need companionship (or more stimulation). They might want to think about getting someone to walk them during the days they’re alone, or at least sit and play with them for an hour or so.
Greeting/play.If the dog quite literally goes barking mad when the owner gets back, it can help to train the dog to go to a spot and stay there every time the door opens. It’s best if this spot is in view of the dog, but not too near to it. Practice getting the dog to stay in that spot, praising and treating them when they obey the command.
Separation anxiety.This can be difficult to treat and it’s likely the owner will need the help of a veterinary behaviourist or certified animal behaviourist.
The important thing is not to shout at the dog when training him not to bark, as this will actually stimulate them and encourage them to bark more.
Also, the owner needs to bear in mind that whatever word they’re saying to them to shut them up, that dog probably doesn’t understand! So, they should train their dog to understand that word ‘Quiet’!
Chewing is a natural action for dogs, the Spruce Pets explains.
In fact, it’s an important activity for dogs, but excessive chewing can become an issue and could be a sign of anxiety, curiosity, boredom, excessive energy or teething (if it’s a pup).
If the owner has just lost their favourite pair of shoes due to destructive chewing, make sure that they’ve bought plenty of appropriate chew toys for their hound.
It also helps to store any personal and/or expensive items far from the dog’s reach.
If they were to catch their dog chewing something they shouldn’t, they should quickly distract them with a sharp noise, before replacing that item with a suitable chew toy.
And perhaps most important of all, the dog needs to get enough exercise for their age and breed, to stimulate them and help wear off some of that energy.
Who can resist those big, puppy dog eyes!? It’s hard not to slip a dog some food scraps from our plate when they’re staring at us with that longing gaze, but succumbing to their begging will create bad habits.
Plus, giving them food designed for humans can lead to more serious things like digestive problems and obesity.
So if the owner is complaining of their new pooch begging, the first thing to do is make sure that they aren’t handing over leftovers from their plate.
They can also train their dog to go to ‘it’s place’ before sitting down to eat – making sure this place is somewhere where the dog won’t be staring at them for the duration of dinner!
Like chewing, jumping up is a natural behaviour in dogs – puppies usually jump up to reach and greet their mums, then adult dogs will jump to greet their owners.
But a jumping dog can be irritating, not to mention dangerous if they jump on a small child or an elderly person.
There are a number of tricks that can stop a dog from jumping, but it depends on the pooch whether they work or not.
These include lifting knees, grabbing paws or pushing the dog away – but these could end up sending the wrong message to the mutt.
The best thing the owner (and anyone else) can do is to turn away and ignore the dog when it jumps, and walk away if they need to.
Don’t make eye contact, talk to them or touch them – then when they relax, calmly reward them to reinforce this behaviour.
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