Dogs are a great addition to any home. Is your family thinking of getting a puppy or adopting a new dog? They are caring and loyal companions who very easily become part of your family.
However, when you are picking a dog, you do need to think carefully and do your homework and choose a breed that fits the environment of your family. Some breeds are considered easier to manage than others for families with smaller children, so make sure that your dog is among the most child-friendly if you have children at home or if you have children regularly visiting you.
It is important to remember that even the most well-behaved and caring dog should never be left alone with the kids, and it is important that you teach your kids how to pet and treat the dog properly and back off if they are not in the mood for attention. We like to explain to our boys, especially when visiting friends and their pets, to give their pets “space”.
Remember, you can find plenty of dogs in rescue centers, waiting for a loving new home, or you can find more here if you would rather purchase a puppy with specific breeder guidelines and standards for show purposes.
How to choose the right dog
While most families will love a dog, not every family is suited to one. If you are all working long hours and you are out of the house all day, think about whether it is fair to have a dog locked in and alone all day.
Remember, dogs are for life-sadly, many dogs end up in rescue centers because their well-meaning owners underestimated how much care and attention they needed.
Bringing your new dog home
Once you have chosen the perfect pup for you, getting ready to bring them home can be an incredibly exciting time, but one that can be nerve-wracking for both you and the dog. However, making sure that you are as informed and prepared as you can be, you will make the experience smooth and stress-free, and before you know it, your new four-legged furry friend will feel right at home.
Have you got all the pet supplies?
Like babies and children, dogs will need supplies. At the very least, these will include a water bowl, a food bowl, I personally love this adjustable food/water bowl from Amazon. A lead or a walk leash, no pull harness, a collar and an identification tag, a dog bed, and toys to keep them amused.
When you take them out in your car, you might want to think about things like dog seatbelts or partitions to hold them in the trunk of your vehicle
Depending on whether they are toilet trained or not, you may need puppy training pads, and some dog owners choose to use a crate.
How are you going to feed them?
There are so many different kinds of dog food on the market at the moment that you are practically spoiled for options. Many dog owners now choose to feed their dogs with a raw food diet.
Take a look at the different types available and do your homework before selecting the best diet for your dog. If you are bamboozled by the choice and do not know which one to go for, speak to your vet who will be able to give you information on the right one for your dog.
Make sure that your dog can always have access to fresh, clean drinking water, and do not forget the treats!
Have you discussed responsibilities with the rest of your family?
Before you bring your new furry friend home for good, make sure you have addressed and divided the responsibility of owning a pet. It can be an awful lot of hard work, especially in the early days when you are all trying to get used to one another.
This is why it is important to talk about who is doing what regarding the duties; who is going to take a dog for a walk? Who is responsible for feeding them or getting up at night to let them use the toilet?
Understanding who will do what beforehand would make it easier and less likely to give rise to arguments or disagreements, or one person talking on all of the hard work and responsibility.
Have you created some house rules?
Some households like to give their dog a run of the house, encouraging them to get on their beds and sofas and come and go as they please. Other people would prefer to stay off the couch or to remain downstairs or out of particular rooms.
Either choice is fine, but before you bring your dog home, make sure that you have these rules and boundaries set in place. When it comes to familiarising and training a new dog, consistency is vital, especially if they are a puppy.
Are you prepared to be consistent when it comes to training?
As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, consistency is important when it comes to training your dog, so make sure that you establish your expectations and boundaries right from the very beginning. It can be incredibly difficult to implement them at a later point.
If you want them to sit down before you give them a treat, make sure you all know what word you want to use and all adhere to it. If appropriate, sit down as a family and write them all out so that you can all make sure that you are singing from the same hymn sheet.
Have you put dog-proofing measures in place?
Like you would if you had a baby or a toddler, you need to make your sure your is home dog-proofed Take a walk around the house and the garden and think about what would be appealing to an inquisitive and excitable puppy. Loose cables and wires should be hidden away, safety latches need to be put on cupboard doors, and any food in the kitchen that might be tempting but dangerous to a dog, such as chocolate, is well out of their grasp. You may want to think about dog gates (or standard safety gates) to block places or rooms off in the house that you do not want them to go in.
Do not overlook the garden either-check that there are no holes or gaps in the fencing that they can get through and that the fences are high enough to keep them from leaping over at the first sign of the neighborhood cat or a squirrel.
Have you organized a vet?
The last thing that anyone wants is to see their beloved furry four-legged friend become unwell. it is stressful and worrying enough as it is, let alone if you have not organised a vet. In that situation, you do not want to be phoning around trying to find one that can get you in. As soon as you bring them home or even before that, arrange a vet.
Make sure they are close enough and easy enough to get your dog to in an emergency and have a good reputation -check out social media and online review sites You will need to see them for regular health check-ups, weigh-ins, immunizations, dental care and, of course, if they become unwell.
You can also talk to them about flea and worming and weight control, if necessary, as well as get advice regarding diet.
In putting all these things in place before you bring your fur baby home, you can alleviate the burden and stress on both you and them, and you can concentrate on getting to know the newest, and fluffiest, member of your family.
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