By Johny Kershaws
Preparing For a New Family Member
Bringing a dog home is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences. Their presence can have therapeutic effects that’s why you’ll find many pet friendly senior living centers.
Once adopted, it’s a minimum 10-15 year-long project. But, because of poor planning, many dogs end up in shelter homes; or worse - abandoned.
To ensure you don’t become one of those individuals, you evaluate the most important things beforehand, such as…
Know Why You Want a Dog
Think long and hard about why you want to have a dog. Are you just trying to rescue a dog by adopting it? Is it because you want to surprise your kids? Are you trying to fill your sense of isolation by bringing a pet home?
Do you wish to become more disciplined by having a pet around? When you are clear about the why behind your move, all your efforts will be in alignment with it.
Is Your Family Ready for a New Dog?
When you decide to bring a new pet home, know that every single member of your family will in some way deal with their presence. Do you think everyone in your family including children and those who are not fond of the animals will be okay with the decision? What about the consequence of their expected behavior?
Will you be able to handle the occasional outbursts of anger by others? Can you handle irritated family members? Or do you fear you may have to leave the dog with a shelter home or even abandon them?
Do you Know About the Breed & the Costs to Adopt a Dog?
Different breeds have different requirements. Are you knowledgeable enough about the breed before you decide to bring it home? For example, a small breed like chihuahua can do well with confined space.
But, a breed like Labrador or Golden Retriever will require enough space to move around. Depending upon the breed, the cost of adopting them and caring for them will also vary. You must take the financial constraint into account. Many people don’t realize the financial ramifications of having a pet until after a long time. Do not make that mistake.
Are You Ready to be Selfless?
Caring for a pet demands more than just love. You have to be ready to sacrifice many of your old lifestyle habits to make room and time for the new family member. That might mean ditching your Friday nights and weekends with friends to take your dog out for a walk or to the vet.
Committing to a dog takes a lot of selflessness. Make sure to prepare for the days when the sitter is out of town and you have to sacrifice many of your important commitments. Dogs can be rather demanding of their daily schedule and routine. Know if you can give them that on a daily basis.
Compare Different Dog Breeds
You must compare different dog breeds before adopting one. Based on your lifestyle, how much time you can give, the kind of home you live in (townhouse, apartment, condo, etc.), the number of family members, certain breeds may be ideal for you.
For example, a small family in a tiny home may benefit from smaller breeds like most Terriers. On the other hand, if you want a security dog you will benefit from breeds like German Shepherd.
Evaluate your Home Environment
Many condos and apartment buildings may have strict rules about the kind of dogs allowed. There can be specificities regarding the size and the breed of it. It’s good to talk things over with your management company or the landlord regarding the kind of pet you plan on adopting. It’s even better to have everything in writing.
Additionally, think about the environment of the home. For example, Alaskan Malamutes are outdoorsy creatures. They don’t do too well in small indoor apartments. In the same way, Beagles can be rather too active for apartment living. So, you might need fencing around the house to keep them from running away.
Consider Behavioral Needs
Some breeds can be extremely active which means they would need regular exercise. In the absence of that, they may gain weight. Some dog breeds are shy and reserved. Their socialization needs may be limited.
The same way Labradors and Beagles need regular human interactions otherwise they may grow lazy, angry, and irritable. Siberian Huskies and Rottweilers are aggressive needs so they need a different type of handling. It's important to take into account the different behavioral needs of each breed well in advance.
Prepare a Support System
Make sure that the entire family participates in the decision-making process about bringing a pet home. For example, if you live with children do they think they will know the right way of treating the dog.
If there are elderly people in the home who are not fond of it, would they adapt well to a dog’s constant presence? Who's going to feed the dog? What about the training needs? Who’s going to look after it? Be sure to have a proper support system in place.
Hopefully, after this post, the process of bringing a dog home becomes a rewarding and smooth one for you.
By Johny Kershaws
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