Whether you’re bringing in a puppy or an adult dog, they will need time to settle in the new environment and understand the different rules and routines.
Bringing a dog into your home is a big commitment and you need to think very carefully about the implications. Along with extensively dog-proofing your home you will need to consider the big changes it will mean for your life.
Whether you’re bringing in a puppy or an adult dog, they will need time to settle in to their new environment and understand the different rules and routines. You and your family should be prepared for this, so it’s really worth going through everything in detail beforehand.
There are loads of small things you might not have considered – it may be necessary to alter the layout of your home or watch out for things that your new dog might chew. Read on for everything you need to do and think about before you introduce a new dog to your home.
Talk it through with your family
The first thing you need to do before you consider getting a dog is to have a discussion with everyone in your household about it. Remember that having a dog will mean a number of potential changes that you will all need to be prepared for.
Is everyone going to be comfortable with having a new dog? Aside from the obvious stuff like allergies, you’ll also need to understand the kind of commitment you’re making. Remember if you’re taking in a puppy, it could live for 14 years or more. That may mean having to miss holidays or alter plans, and it can also get in the way of other commitments you may have made.
It is also especially important to consider the impact children can have. If you have young children, consider how well they will interact with the dog and vice versa. This may mean choosing a particular breed that plays well with children. The same also applies if you already have other pets.
If you have made the decision to bring a dog into your life, you’ll need to decide who will be responsible for which duties. Your dog will need feeding, walking, exercising and bathing, as well as having general play time. As a family you will need to make time for the dog and integrate it into your routine.
One key aspect is that you need to ensure that your dog will not be left alone for several hours a day. Not only will unsupervised dogs get bored and lonely, they will begin to get agitated and restless. This can lead to loud howling, chewing on things they shouldn’t and making a mess.
Consider that your dog will need space in the house for themselves. Where will the dog eat and sleep? It is generally best to have somewhere in every room for the dog to be able to relax to stop them from getting on the furniture too often.
Is your house generally kept tidy? If not, you need to think about what could be a choking hazard for a dog. Also consider the positioning of any unstable objects – new dogs will explore enthusiastically and will knock things over without thinking. You also need to look out for places small dogs can get to but you can’t, like underneath a bed.
Fences and gates
If you don’t currently have fences in your garden, you will almost certainly need to install them. Fences are vital for stopping dogs from getting out of the garden. And remember that it’s not just puppies who will benefit from fences; even apparently well-trained older dogs can be startled and could easily bolt from the garden.
Within the house, the use of gates can help your dog get used to their new home. This can be very useful early on when training what is and what isn’t acceptable in the house.
Do your research
You’ll need to do your research about the things you have in your house. There are a number of plants that are poisonous or dangerous to dogs, and others that might just be quite unpleasant (think cacti).
There are other dangerous items the dog could get hold of if they aren’t put out of reach, including cleaning products, pest poisons and toiletries – many are toxic to dogs.
Finally you need to think about ways to entertain your dog while they live with you. First you need to provide things for them to chew on. Many dogs chew for their whole lives – it’s just in their nature – so if you want to avoid having them chew on your clothes or the furniture, they need things that are safe for them.
Also think about planned activities that you can do with your dog. It needs to become a member of your family and become involved in the things that you do. Once your dog has settled into a routine you can begin to introduce other fun things for them to do.
Dakota Murphey, the author of this article is a BA (Hons) marketing graduate and
independent content writer working alongside Vale Vets, who were
consulted for some of the information in this article.
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