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  • Writer's pictureAshley Timms

So, you got a puppy for Christmas...

There's nothing quite like coming down the stairs on Christmas morning to find Saint Nick brought tons of presents for you and your family to open.

Did you hear that? I think one of the boxes just barked...

If you're the proud new owner of a puppy, rescue pup, or any new-to-you dog, congratulations! You just gained a new best friend and there are plenty of fun-filled adventures headed your way. While teaching a sit-stay might be the first thing on your to-do list (along with the onslaught of photos to Facebook), here's a quick guide to get you started:

Find a trainer:

Even if you've owned a dog before, any new-to-you dog requires an individualized approach. Did you know: dog trainers aren't required to be certified, so it's imperative you find one who is qualified. If you're local to me in Rhode Island, I highly recommend Katy at The Clever Canine (I've used her for my own dog and can attest to her incredibly vast knowledge). If you're not local to me, use the CCPDT directory to find a certified trainer near you.

Manage your expectations:

Whether you got a puppy or you rescued a dog, their whole world just changed in a really big way. They need time to settle in and patience from everyone in your family. Make sure everyone is on the same page with training and make sure your kids respect your new dog's boundaries. Likewise, set your dog (and yourself!) up for success. Don't leave out valuable items that might get chewed and be mindful of dangers such as chocolate.

Explore food options:

You'll soon find out everyone around you will have recommendations for your dog, especially regarding food. Do your research to find the best option for your pup. Along with food, explore options for enrichment. There's a great Facebook group, Beyond the Bowl - Canine Enrichment, that is all about using enriching activities for mealtime. Trust me, your dog will love it.

Book a photo session:

Whether a puppy or a seasoned golden oldie, your new dog is about to bring you so much joy. Now is a great time to capture all these adorable moments with a photo session. From untrained dogs to total experts, the Adventure Session is for every dog and every type of owner. Learn more about how it works and book your session today.

Have some must-read tips for new dog owners? Have a great product to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

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