Article written for us by: Jessica Brody @ Ourbestfriends.pet
If you are joining the ranks of dog ownership, congratulations! Dogs provide owners with companionship, activity, and unconditional love. Pet ownership can help children learn about responsibility and caring. However, the process of choosing the right dog and preparing your house for your new addition can often be stressful. Here are some tips on how to make sure that you and your dog get off on the right foot — or paw.
Understanding the Responsibility of Dog Ownership
Adopting a dog is not a decision that should be taken lightly. By becoming a dog owner, you are responsible for another being’s life. You’ll need to shelter and feed the dog, but more importantly, you’ll be responsible for ensuring the animal’s development and happiness. There will be unanticipated expenses, such as veterinary bills and grooming and training costs. More than financial costs, dog owners have to invest their time. A dog is not just a cute possession that can be played with when it suits you then ignored. So, before adopting, make sure you are prepared for the responsibility. A dog will affect your work schedule, vacation plans, and how you spend a large portion of your free time.
Choosing a Breed
For those adopting, the choices are limited, and mixed breeds can confuse the decision. However, you should consider your lifestyle and home environment when determining the general type of dog that is right for you. Larger breeds, for example, likely need much more exercise than a smaller breed. A chihuahua is a tiny dog that obviously will not make a good running partner. Although a smaller dog might need less exercise, they still require walks, and their small size could make it necessary to check in on them midday, as their smaller bladders often cannot go an entire workday without relief.
There are online resources for connecting your lifestyle to certain dog breeds. Again, when adopting, you won’t have unlimited choices, but you can use this as a guide to discuss with the staff at the Humane Society or other adoption organization.
Preparing Your Home for Your New Addition
Once you determine the breed or dog size that is appropriate for your life, you should take steps to make your home safe for your new addition. First, make sure your dog has his own space. This doesn’t have to mean that the dog gets his own bedroom, but he should have a stable section of your home where he will have a dog bed, toys, and a crate if you are crate-training. To ensure that your dog is happy, give him his own sanctuary. A separate dog area can also help in curbing nervousness and poor behavior such as incessant barking.
Helping Your Dog Settle In
Carving out a dog space in your home is just one way to help your dog adjust to your family. Be patient, and let your new dog get to know your home. Help him explore, and introduce some training ideas. During this introductory period, it is important to begin basic obedience training and incorporate exercise routines. These steps not only help your dog become accustomed to his environment, but they also help initiate the bonding process between owner and pet. The single best way to bond with your new dog is to spend time with him. Include him in your activities, and make daily walks a part of both of your lives.
Special Considerations for Older Pets
Some adopted dogs are seniors, and they have their own sets of special considerations for their health and happiness. Older pets are typically well-trained on the basics, but you might need to make some modifications to your home beforehand to accommodate his age. Be sure to consider a senior dog’s comfort, and develop a good relationship with a vet and have the dog evaluated for any special medical concerns.
Adopting a dog is a wonderful way to experience the joys of bonding and living with a companion animal. By putting a little time and effort into the first few weeks and months of ownership, you can establish routines that benefit your new dog’s health and happiness.