You probably have children who have been begging, “Please can we have a dog?” Owning a dog is a big responsibility and it can be a perfect venue in which to teach your children. However, there are a few things to consider before adopting a dog into your family. You and your family will have to come up with a game plan in advance and agree to what your new furry family member can and cannot do in your home.
One of the first things you want to consider is dog or puppy-proofing your home. A great hint in doing this is to get on your hands and knees and look for hazards like dangling electrical cords that would be great for chewing; pick toys and other small objects off the floor that could be harmful if swallowed; remove chemicals, paper sacks, plastic items and even plants away from the prying jaws of a pooch. And if you are planning to house train your new pet, remove area rugs temporarily until he is trained. You don’t want him to accidentally think it is a great elimination spot!
Invest in a baby gate for those areas in your home where you do not want your new pooch to wander. It also could also be used to cordon off a special place just for him. This is especially helpful in the house training front. Also, dogs, especially puppies are curious and love to explore. If you don’t want your clothing and shoes plowed and chewed through, ensure that your pooch does not have access to them. Close your bedroom door or closet door.
Because dogs like to chew, buy some appropriate chew toys and rawhide bones for that gnawing instinct. Puppies teethe and having something safe to chew on will keep them from chewing on things in your home. Also purchase plenty of toys to keep him occupied. A bored dog can be a destructive dog! Rubber balls, tug ropes, push dog toys, and even squeaker toys are favorites of many canines. And just like with human children, you want to buy pet toys that are age-appropriate for them. Also, buy enough toys so that you can rotate them periodically so that your dog doesn’t become bored.
Lay some ground rules in advance of bringing your puppy home. Can he get on the furniture? Will you allow him in your bedroom? Where do you plan for him to sleep? You will want to know that in advance so that you can put his dog bed there. Are you prepared to be flexible and shuffle your game plan around a bit? Sometimes, dogs will latch on to a favorite spot in the house and if it is your bedroom, you will either have to train him to sleep elsewhere, or allow him to sleep on his dog bed in there. Dogs come with a unique personality and also a number of quirks, just like humans. You will have to learn to adapt.
You should also have a game plan in place for obedience training. A well-behaved dog is a great member of the family. Plus, you will get so much more out of the doggie-human relationship if you invest in obedience training. Do your research and decide if you can tackle the job yourself or if you want to find a training school to help.
Other things to think about are what plans do you have for your dog while you are away from home? What about a veterinarian? Would you hire a dog sitter or board him in a kennel if you had to travel? Do you have a decent yard for him to roam in? What about exercise? Do you plan to walk him and let him socialize with other dogs? All of these are important matters to think about BEFORE adopting a family pooch.