It’s a big decision to bring a dog into your home. It’s an exciting time for the family but before making the decision there are some fundamentals that you must get right. As with anything in life, planning is key, owning a dog is very different from owning a cat for example. They will need your constant care, attention, love, stimulation and company. Everywhere you go, the dog will too so first question, are you ready for it? It’s a massive commitment and parents would say, one not unlike having a young child. Here are our top tips for getting ready to welcome your furry friend into your life:
The perfect match
There can never be enough emphasis placed on choosing the right breed. Remember this is about choosing the right breed for your family and lifestyle so this decision should not be based on your favourite type of dog. You may have been in love with huskies all your life but does your lifestyle match the demands of this working dog? Do you have time to tire out this energetic breed as well as time to devote to grooming their glorious coat? If you decide to go to a rehoming centre then they will do the hard work for you and assess your lifestyle to find the perfect match. If you decide to get a dog from a breeder then do your homework, making the right choice will mean you have the perfect pet for life.
Assign the tasks
Adding a new dog or puppy to your family will also add to the daily workload. Naturally there are so many fun things you can do but pooches are hard work. So assigning tasks to certain members of the family or creating a family rota allows individuals to take responsibility and play their part in looking after the family pet. Tasks such as feeding and cleaning bowls, garden poo duty, walking duty, grooming, playing and training will need to be covered. Spreading and varying the load will mean that everyone experiences all aspects of caring for the family pet. A team effort will also prevent those prone to being a little lazy from letting the side down!
Buy the right kit
There is such a wide selection of doggy paraphernalia to choose from it could cost you a fortune so buy the essentials first to get you started. Obvious things like collars, leads, harnesses, a comfy bed and blankets spring to mind, not to mention a car grate or travel harness. You will need toys such as things to chew on for a puppy, balls and ball throwers. Trainers often advise using a cage as it can be used in training, when they are left alone and also provides a safe haven for them to retreat to. Other items such as travel bowls, coats and pet GPS tracker devices can be considered at a later date. A GPS tracker might help you relax a bit more when letting your dog off the lead for the first time. You can view their location via an app on your mobile phone, so you need no longer worry about losing your dog.
Training and vets
Training for a puppy can start immediately the moment you arrive home. You need to create their boundaries as early as possible and most basic training such as sitting and giving paw can be easily practised. The key is finding a system that suits and sticking with it but remember the whole family needs to work together on this so the pup doesn’t get confused. Going to a training class can help with socialisation and they will be able to recommend a book so you and the rest of the family can continue at home. This is an essential part of owning a dog, you will reap the benefits of all the effort you put in now in years to come. Another vital task you have to do when you bring your new dog home is registering with a vet. They will need to get a check up and start their annual jab programme. Your vet will also be able to give you advice on neutering, worming and how to protect your pooch against fleas as well as how to take care of their teeth and coat. Make sure you register with a vet that you trust and feel comfortable with and a few ‘dummy’ trips to familiarise your dog with the process will help reduce their fear.
Adding a dog to your family is the best thing you can do. They are forever happy and cheerful as well as loyal and great to cuddle up with at night. It’s wonderful for children to grow up with a dog and once you have had a pup in your life you, will wonder how you ever lived without one!