A dog is a wonderful addition to any family, and can truly be the final step in making a house a home. Loyal, friendly, playful and a protector of the house, dogs are good for the mind, body and soul. However, there is a lot to consider before adopting a dog, and it’s important that you do enough preparation to ensure your dog is brought home to a happy, healthy, dog-friendly house.
- Is the dog’s personality right for you?
Different breeds of dogs have different dominant personalities, and while not every dog will behave exactly like the stereotype of its breed, it is a general rule that you should consider carefully. If you have a baby at home, a low energy dog (such as a Basset hound, bulldog or chow chow) is better suited to your living situation, compared to a single person who has more time to devote to a high energy dog (such as a terrier, cattle dog or Weimeraner). The internet has loads of handy quiz tools out there to help you decide which breed of dog will be right for you, such as this dog breed selector.
- Have you puppy-proofed your home?
There are a number of things that you need to check at home to make sure that the place is safe for a dog or puppy. You need to make sure that there aren’t any poisonous plants in the garden, and that power points and any kind of medicine is well out of your dog’s reach. Also make sure that your bin has a locked lid to avoid spillage if the dog tries to rifle through it, and make sure cleaning products are put away safely. Dogs are extremely curious and love to chew and explore.
- Do you have a crate to crate train your puppy?
Some people hold the opinion that it’s cruel to crate train your dog, which involves leaving the dog in a specially-designed crate either overnight or when there’s no-one home. However, often crate training can be very beneficial in housetraining your puppy, and many dogs actually enjoy feeling like they have their own little safe space in the house. After all, they were wild and lived in dens once upon a time! Dogs don’t like to soil the spaces they actively live in, so the puppy will resist the temptation to go while in the crate. As soon as you let them out, take your four-legged friend outside to go in the garden, so they will be trained not to use your house for their business.
- Do you have these basic supplies?
On the first day that you bring your dog or puppy home, make sure you have these essential supplies:
- Puppy pen
- Water and food bowls; these should be stainless steel or ceramic with no painting
- Flea comb
- Grooming supplies; dog shampoo, clippers and scissors
- Pet-specific cleaners for use in the home
- Buckle collar
- ID tag
- Should you get dog insurance?
Dogs are no different from humans in that they can get sick and injured, and need medical care. As anyone who has had a sick dog can tell you, the medical bills can be substantial. This is because veterinarians have to train for many years to be able to treat a wide variety of animals, meaning their time and skills are very valuable.There are a number of different dog insurance policies that you can invest in, which can range from accident only through to a comprehensive policy that includes illness, to many thousands of dollars in cover. It’s worth comparing policies to make sure you get the right one.
- Do you have a training schedule planned from the get-go?
It’s important that your dog learns the rules of your home from the day they arrive, so starting training from the first day will be very beneficial, and make it easier for your dog to retain information. It’s important that you sit down with the whole family and explain the rules that you’re going to teach your dog, to make sure that they’re all on board with it. Make decisions (such as if the dog is allowed on the couch, if the dog is to live predominantly inside or outside, and if the dog is allowed to be fed from the table) beforehand. Otherwise, the dog will be getting mixed messages and will no doubt be confused. It’s also important that the family knows that it’s important not to overwhelm the dog with too much activity during the first couple of weeks, which are an adjustment period.
- Have you enrolled your dog in an obedience class?
Many people think that it’s not necessary to take their dog to obedience classes, however it’s a really good idea to leave the basic training of your dog to the experts. The earlier you start this training, the more ingrained the behaviours will be in the dog, and the easier it will be to build and improve on these skills throughout your dog’s life.
Preparation for your four-legged friend
It’s vital that you properly prepare for the arrival of a new pet, especially if this is your first experience with animals. Dogs are wonderful pets if properly trained and reared, however, a dog that isn’t properly managed from when it’s a puppy can also easily become a danger to other dogs, visitors, and even his or her adopted family. With the proper training and continuous love and attention, any dog can become a healthy, happy member of the family!