What to Know When You’re Welcoming a Dog Home

Welcoming A Dog Home

Whether you’re considering adopting a dog or purchasing one from a responsible breeder, bringing a dog home is life changing. While it will mark the beginning of a beautiful journey filled with love, loyalty and a lifetime of memories, the decision to welcoming a dog home should not be taken lightly.

To be sure, dogs, which have a lifespan of between 10 to 13 years on average, are a lifetime commitment. American journalist and writer John Grogan said it beautifully once: “Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.” He should know, being the author of the best-seller Marley & Me, an autobiographical book about his family and their lovable labrador retriever, Marley.

But I digress.

Before welcoming your dog home (and I promise, he or she will be the best member of the family you’ll ever have), here are some key considerations.

Key Things to Take Note of – Especially if it’s Your First Time Welcoming A Dog Home.

Make sure you are committed to welcoming a dog home

Before you even consider factors such as the dog’s size and energy level, you have to make sure that you are in this for the long run. Having a dog is the same as having a child – they should not be gotten rid of just because you’ve decided that they don’t fit in with the décor one day. Plus, dogs are known for their incredible sense of loyalty towards their owners. As a dog owner myself, I can guarantee that this is no exaggeration.

Know your reasons

Again, before going to the shelters or the pet store, know why you want a dog. If it’s to give you companionship, you’ve got it. If you’ve always wanted one and now have the means (i.e. your own house and income) to have one, by all means. But if you’re getting a dog just because you have children who have asked for us, please reconsider, especially if you are a first-time owner. With the latter, I suggest visiting a friend with a pet and learn more about the ins and outs of being a dog parent. Alternatively, you may visit the shelters to interact with dogs and understand the various commitments needed to have one. The shelters, which are constantly looking for volunteers, will welcome the visit and help.

Assess your lifestyle

Dogs need time to settle in – whether they’re adopted or not. As such, you should look at your lifestyle and determine whether you have the time, space and energy for a dog (they do need to have their daily walks at least once a day). Once you have ascertained that you have what it takes, you’ll need to consider other factors like the dog’s size, temperament, energy level, exercise needs, grooming needs, and more.

Make sure you can afford welcoming a dog home

Having a dog doesn’t exactly come cheap. Beyond its meals (kibbles, cooked food and supplements to name a few) your dog will also need a quality collar, harness, dental care, bedding, treats, toys and more. Then there are the vet visits (regular vaccinations and emergency visits at times) and grooming sessions. There’re more, but these are the basics, really.

Choose a name

This is self-explanatory, but you may be surprised. The possibilities are endless, ranging from the simpler “Peanut” and “Milo” to more sophisticated-sounding names like Winston, Archibald, Lily and Ella.

Get chipped

Accidents happen. Getting your dog microchipped is one way to ensure that your pet can be found again if he or she gets lost. Make sure he or she has a tag with your details too, so you can be contacted if the worst happens.

Be patient

Dogs are just like children. You’ll have to be very patient with them, especially when they’re new to your home. If you’ve adopted or got a puppy, you’ll need to first puppy-proof your home and carve out an area for your pup to feel safe in. Then, you’ll have to toilet train them. Like babies, relieving themselves in the toilet does not come naturally to puppies. Unlike babies, they have no diapers on 24/7. You can choose to have your pup relieve him or herself outside or within a spot indoors. If he or she does the job correctly, shower praise and reward him or her with treats.

Having a puppy is also like bringing a newborn home. He or she is in an unfamiliar environment and may feel uncomfortable. Before retiring for the night, try wearing him or her out with pre-bedtime exercises such as a stroll. Consider conducting crate training, which will help your pup associate the space with comfort and bedtime. To do so, avoid leaving your puppy in his or her crate for too long periods of time.

If you can, rub a piece of cloth or t-shirt from its old home and leave it with your pup, especially if he or she is sleeping separately. The smell will help soothe him or her to bed. Alternatively, leave your smelliest, unwashed t-shirt or blanket with him or her.

Never leave your dog outside

Like people, dogs need love and plenty of interaction. Leaving your dog outside would be plain cruel, especially in bad weather. In the same vein, never leave him or her locked in a car when you’re outside too. With the rising temperatures these days, a dog locked within a hot car can be lethal.

Provide plenty of love and affection

As I alluded to in my introduction, a dog is more than a pet. He or she is a member of the family and should be treated like one. So don’t stinge on the affection and cuddles. After all, life is short; your pet’s life is even shorter.

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