New dog owners

Dr Katie Friel-Russell

BVSc MAPDT PGDip CCAB MRCVS Veterinary Behaviourist

New dog owners

We work with lots of people at different stages with their dogs, people with new puppies, rescues and older (including elderly) dogs all the time. And some of these people might be working with us with their second, third, (and often even more) dog. Changing what you’ve done in the past, and getting help at that stage can be one thing – which we discuss more in our blog here.

But we also often work with first time dog people. People who haven’t had a dog before. And the number one biggest problem that we see in these is…. Putting themselves down!

I see so many people doing such fantastic handling with their dogs, they’ve done all the research, are getting the right help and are doing the best practices and yet they still nervously say “we’re first time dog owners”. And that’s such a discredit to themselves.

It doesn’t matter how many dogs, or what type of dogs you’ve had in the past. What matters is how you are being with the dog you have now. And if you can live with them, protecting them from fear and harm, whilst offering them an enriching life then you’re doing a great job.

So try not to put yourself down, or let other “more experienced” people tell you otherwise too. This hopefully well intentioned advice may not be accurate but you can feel the pressure of all those previous dogs that they’ve had. Remember that we do things differently now, and modern, effective, ethical training has come a long way.

So those people with a history of living with dogs have usually had a lot of time to pick up plenty of bad habits, and learn from old, outdated aversive trainers. Just because someone has had a lot of dogs really doesn’t mean that they’ve got all the answers. You’d never get treatment for a sore tooth from someone just because they’d lost a lot of teeth – you’d want a professional dentist!

So keep doing what you’re doing, be proud in the work you’re putting in and enjoy life with your dog. Your first dog is such a special bond to cherish.

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Dr Katie Friel-Russell

BVSc MAPDT PGDip CCAB MRCVS Veterinary Behaviourist

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