What You Should Know as a First-Time Dog Owner: A Short Guide for City Dwellers - The Urban Menu
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What You Should Know as a First-Time Dog Owner: A Short Guide for City Dwellers

What You Should Know as a First-Time Dog Owner: A Short Guide for City Dwellers 

All pet parents would agree that owning a dog is one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, adopting a dog can be daunting if you’ve never cared for a canine friend before. This is especially true for people living in metropolitan areas because keeping a pet in a city comes with its own set of problems.

While you may have plenty of parks within your neighborhood, it’s difficult to ignore the impact of living in a congested, bustling, and traffic-heavy environment. Therefore, we have prepared a list of crucial recommendations for first-time dog parents in the city to help you look after your pup like a pro. Here are the top eight things you should know as a first-time dog owner.   

1.  Building a Relationship Is Important

Pet parents with their dog

It is a common misunderstanding that only tiny breeds can thrive in urban environments. The truth is that the dog’s characteristics and preferences also make a huge difference. For example, greyhounds make excellent city pets due to their capacity to spend a lot of energy in a single excursion and their predisposition to relax at home.

On the other hand, you might want to think twice about getting a Burmese Mountain dog if you live in an apartment with a tight, twisting stairway walk-up. It can be difficult to get the Mastiff in and out of the house and can lead to hip issues and other problems over the years.

That being said, it is also essential to understand that just like humans, dogs have their own distinct personalities. Some are more active and playful than others, and they all have their own peculiarities. Even though you have certain expectations for your dog based on their breed, make sure you’re willing to let them develop their own personality.

2.   It Is Crucial to Consider the Costs & Pet Regulations 

Dog with owner’s belonging

Amidst the excitement of bringing a pup home, many first-time dog owners forget to consider the costs of owning a dog. Quality food, flea/tick and heartworm preventatives, yummy treats, grooming expenses, health checkups, and vaccinations are all monthly or annual costs that you will incur.

Not to mention everything else you’ll need to buy before welcoming your furry friend into your house, such as a leash, food and water bowl, collar, leash, toys, and a crate for toilet training. You may also have to use Doggy Daycare or dog walker services. So, make sure you are ready to bear the costs that come with looking after your dog and providing them with a fun-filled, healthy life.          

Furthermore, if you live in an apartment or condo, don’t forget to check in with the building manager regarding pet regulations before adopting a puppy. Many buildings do not allow pets or have a size limit. Make sure you clear out these technicalities before signing up to become a pet parent.  

3.   Training Starts from Day One

A dog in a field

Disciplining your pup may not be your favorite thing. After all, how can you tell off your insanely adorable pup? Regardless, it is best to start training from day one.

When it comes to dog training and teaching commands and tricks, focus on clever tricks with practical applications in the city that may keep your pup safe and out of harm’s way. For example, if you live in a busy area with loads of traffic, teaching your dog not to run away when off-leash or sit on the sidewalk and wait for a command before crossing the street may be a great idea.  

4.  Socializing Is Essential

A dog at the poolside

It is important to socialize your pup from a young age as they will frequently meet your neighbors. Simply stepping out into the public and strolling about will help them get at ease with the environment and the people around them.

Everything, from automobiles and motorcycles on city streets to the mailman and deliveries at home, will seem a lot less terrifying for your pup once they have seen it a few times. Take alternative paths during walks, encourage your pet to make new pals, and encounter new sights and noises.

5. Being Aware of High Rise Dangers Can Save Your Pup

A dog near a window

Incidences with pets falling out of windows or off of balconies are all too common in the city. In fact, the urban phenomenon is common enough to have its own name: High Rise Syndrome. These falls not only can result in death but also can cause serious injuries.

The good news is that falling incidents can be avoided by taking precautions such as putting child-proof locks on windows and placing screening on balconies. In any case, never underestimate your dog’s power when it comes to opening a cracked window or door. Knowing the risks and being prepared ahead of time is the best approach to secure your safety.

6.   Following the Way Can Streamline Dog Walking

A pup with its owner

Far too many dog owners allow their pets to lead the way. This communicates the message that it is the dog’s responsibility to navigate the road ahead for potential hazards. As a result, your pup can get nervous and overly reactive. So, when entering and exiting buildings, getting on and off elevators, turning corners, or crossing streets, always have your dog walk alongside or slightly behind you.

When you meet a new dog in a dog park, make a point of saying hello first, with your dog trailing after you. Your dog will be calmer, happier, and far more attentive to engaging with you on walks. It is the responsibility of the owner to safeguard the safety of their dog by being the first and leading all introductions.

7.  Retractable Leashes Have No Place in the City

A pup with a leash

In stressful situations, dogs can act irrationally, so providing them a large area to wreak havoc is asking for disaster. Luckily, leashes less than six feet are far from constrictive and ideal for dog walking in busy streets and city parks.

Taking a dog for a walk is an engaging experience for both the dog and the walker. The leash serves as a connection and a means for communication, and if we’re in sync, life in the vast metropolis becomes a lot easier.

8.  You Can Acclimate Your Pup to City Noise

A pet owner playing city noise on a laptop

Many dogs have difficulty dealing with unexpectedly loud noises, particularly the continuous disruptions created by traffic, horns, and street voices. As a pet parent, you can condition your pup to loud noises. One great idea is to play recordings of the sounds that agitate your dog the most, such as car horns or fireworks.

The trick is to gradually increase the volume so that your pup doesn’t have an excessive response and can settle down on its own. You just want to assist them in adjusting to their nervousness so that they may overcome their apprehensions.

The Bottom Line: It’s a Learning Curve!

It’s an exciting and gratifying adventure to share your life with a dog. Nothing compares to the unconditional affection, treasured memories, and a lasting companionship between a human and a dog. However, there are many unknowns – and maybe some fear – associated with this connection for first-time dog owners thriving in the city.

The good news is that if you follow the recommendations for first-time dog parents mentioned above, you should be good to go. Also, keep in mind that pet parenting gets easier with time. So, even if it seems like a lot of work initially, once you get the hang of it, you will find it much easier to look after your dog and provide them the life they deserve.

Remember, your degree of awareness and some city-savvy pet abilities that only a truly cosmopolitan pet owner can exhibit are the keys to keeping your pet happy and secure in an urban setting. The more time you spend with your pup, the easier pet parenting will get!

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