Preparing to Welcome Your New Dog

-by Jessica Brody Ourbestfriends.petdog

A dog can be an excellent addition to a family. Dogs are loyal, can help you stay active, and love their owners unconditionally. But not every dog breed is suitable for every potential owner, and vice versa. Before committing to the responsibility of dog ownership, consider the following in choosing a breed, preparing your house, and bonding with your new friend.

What breed is your match?

You may have preconceived ideas of what kind of dog you’d like, but did you consider the dog’s needs in coming up with this preference? Every day, dogs end up at animal shelters nationwide because of good-intentioned people who overestimated their ability to care for a dog. Others don’t “return” their dogs but neglect them to some degree. A Weimaraner is a beautiful dog who will look amazing on your Christmas card, but it’s also a breed that needs a lot of exercise to have a happy life. So think about your living and work situation and how much time you are willing and able to commit to your dog before deciding on a breed.

There are several resources to help you find a good canine fit. The American Kennel Club has a great tool on its website that allows you to enter details about yourself to get matched with an ideal dog. Other resources list the top dogs for new owners, and humane societies can guide you with adoption as they want to ensure that you will be providing a good home for the dog.

Also consider the benefits of adopting a senior dog. Older dogs are often much more accessible as first pets since they require much less time investment in training. Most senior dogs already know all the basic commands, are house trained, and have shed some of the destructive behaviors that puppies have. Also, you can feel good about giving a second chance to one of these old souls. If you’re going to take in an older dog, you may need to modify your home for his needs.

Preparing your life for a dog

Once you determine what dog breeds you can handle, you should familiarize yourself with the actual cost of dog ownership. Hint, it’s much more than a weekly dog food bill. Expenses include licensing, training, dog beds, crates, carriers, leashes, annual vet checkups and vaccinations, toys, grooming, and boarding. And then there is the potential for unexpected health expenses too, so many choose pet insurance to help ease this shock.

Pets often shed, so you’ll need to be prepared to do some cleaning. A quality vacuum can help with this task. Just make sure you go over some online reviews before making a purchase. And don’t forget to make your pet part of your family emergency plan.

Create a sanctuary

Your new addition will likely be anxious at your house. Nervousness is dog’s a typical reaction to the newness of the situation. One way to minimize a new dog’s anxiety is to create a sanctuary. This can be a separate room with a dog bed and toys—some place that is quiet and off to the side. Establishing this particular place for a dog also introduces stability, which is essential for behavior.

Sharing activities to build a life together

When you welcome your new dog, plan to invest a good deal of your time in getting to know each other. Several bonding exercises can develop trust. Petting is an excellent way to become friends. For some dogs, if you can just reach that one spot they cannot itch, they will be indebted to you for life. Playing with your dog is essential as well. It can give him some structure and provide an outlet for pent-up energy that could otherwise be spent on destructive behavior. And of all the activities for you and your new dog, obedience training is the best way to connect. It provides a dog needed guidance, structure, play, and bonding.

By understanding the importance of the decision to get a new dog, you’ll identify what dog is best for your situation and how to prepare your life and your home for your new family member.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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