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How to be a responsible puppy parent

When you adopt a new puppy, you are committing to a shared life with your pooch for the next eight to eighteen years. You are taking on the care of a sentient being, one who is capable of feeling pain, fear, anger and panic but also pleasure, excitement and joy. You are also committing to the legal responsibility of owning a dog who may end up causing trouble both inside and outside your home. This is especially important now that we are living in more densely populated neighbourhoods and communities.

As a dog owner, you are responsible for providing for the biological, emotional, social and cognitive needs of your dog so that they can grow up to be confident, happy and responsive dogs. This may seem a bit daunting to the first-time puppy parent, so here are some guidelines on how to be the best human for your dog.

Meeting your dog’s biological needs:
Good food (the best quality you can afford) and fresh water at all times
Daily exercise in whichever form fits you both best
Shelter and protection from the elements especially the heat of summertime
Routine medical care (vaccinations, parasite treatment and yearly check-ups) and emergency care when necessary
Regular grooming which may include bathing, brushing, clipping coats, cutting nails, cleaning ears or eyes
Safety through preventing your dog from being injured

Meeting your dog’s emotional needs
Security by protecting them from things which frighten them
Love in the form of physical touch and kind training methods
Trust by training them using force free and fear free methods
Consistency by training them and then committing to communicate clearly and consistently
Good leadership by understanding how they feel in different situations

Meeting your dog’s social needs
Opportunities to bond with people and other dogs. 
Daily play with you, other people or other dogs.

Meeting your dog’s cognitive needs
Opportunities to choose how and when to engage with unfamiliar situations, people or animals
A balance of routine and novelty by rotating toys, varying walking routes and using novel ways of feeding
Opportunities to exercise their brains and solve problems

All of these things cost money and part of being a responsible puppy parent is making sure that you have the financial means to care for your dog from the day you bring them home until the day they breathe their last breath. Fortunately, these days there are pet medical insurance options available and the range and availability of beds, toys, leads, harnesses, shampoos and foods means that there are options for everyone. And of course, puppy school is the best way to start your puppy off on the right foot since a lot of the information you need about caring for your new pooch is available from the puppy school instructor.

Don’t delay, register your puppy for puppy school today!

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