A lot of people are adopting pets right now, in part due to the ongoing quarantine state that we’re repeatedly slipping in and out of. However, while there’s nothing wrong with giving a dog a home, it’s important to make sure that you are doing so responsibly. That means that you have realistic expectations of what letting a dog into your life really means. Here, let’s look at a few ideas of what you should expect when you bring a new puppy home.
You need to get the home ready for them
Have you thought about how a dog is going to approach the environment that you call home? More importantly, have you thought about the potential risks that might be lying in wait for them? Make sure that you’re putting anything that might cause harm if they get their teeth into it out of reach and out of sight of the dog. Otherwise, ensure that you’re preparing an environment that caters to their needs, making sure their water bowl is always accessible, that they have a bed that they can rest in, and toys to play with when they need to exercise off some energy, for instance.
They are going to take time to adjust to the environment
No matter what age the dog is, they are going to take some time to get acclimated to their new surroundings. As such, they might seem a little more timid or even afraid at first than you were expecting. Be patient and give them time to come out of their shell. There are ways to help them get used to you and your family more quickly. That doesn’t mean that you should go taking them out to any social gatherings just yet, either. This is even more true for dogs that have been through a lot in their life, such as an abusive or neglectful home. Give them time to feel at home.
You have to spend time bonding with them
It’s not just about making sure that you’re in proximity with the dog, either. You need to make sure that you’re actually focusing your attention on them and bonding with them. Not only does this mean playing with them, but it also means taking the time to observe their habits and personality. If you know a dog is a little more skittish, you know that you will need to be gentler in getting them out of their shell, for instance. Aside from playing, you can strengthen your bond with the dog through training, clear communication, and simply spending time resting with them when they are lying down. Dogs bond easily to their owner, you just need to put time into it.
You have to get them used to other people and animals, too
Having your dog bond with you and your family is relatively easy if you’re willing to put the time into it. However, getting them to react positively or at least neutrally to other people and animals can be a lot harder. There are some breeds of dogs that are a little tougher to train, but all dogs can be socialized to ensure that they behave with others and don’t cause any danger or panic. If you’re planning on having people over to the home or taking your dog out into public spaces, it is very much your responsibility to make sure that your dog can handle being in such situations.
Puppies have a lot of energy and need to work it off
A lot of people underestimate the “puppy madness” that comes with very young dogs. If you’re adopting a breed that is known to be energetic or athletic, like black lab puppies, then you should be well aware of just how much they like to play, run around, and work off all that excess energy. If they have too much built up, your furniture, shoes, and anything else they can get their teeth on is likely to bear the brunt of it. Make sure that you’re taking time to play with, walk, and generally exercise your dog to make sure that they’re not sitting around frustrated with all that pent up energy. They will make their own fun.
You’re going to need a vet
Just like all humans need doctors, all dogs will need vets, as well. Even if they never have any health problems, it’s important to stay on top of their condition and ensure that they are thriving under your care. What’s more, your vet will ensure that your dog stays healthy by giving them necessary vaccinations if they are pups, as well as helping with pest control, preventing things like mites, ticks, and fleas from bothering them. A great vet will do more than just help you care for your dog, too, they will educate you on how to provide better care as an owner, as well. A good vet is the close ally of every responsible dog owner, to put it simply.
There are going to be behavior problems
There is no such thing as a perfect dog, so if you’re expecting yours to come home with the very best manners and no hitches along the way, it’s time to adjust your expectations. There are all kinds of problematic behaviors, such as excessive barking, chewing on your items, separation anxiety, aggression to other people, urinating inside the home after house training, and more. The best approach to any issues is to act on them as quickly as possible, knowing what kind of problem behavior to look out there, then acting to stop it as soon as you can. If you let it grow out of control, it can be a very hard habit to remove.
If you want to make space in your room and family for a new dog then, by all means, it can be greatly rewarding. Just make sure that you know what you’re getting into before you make that big decision. There’s never a downside to being prepared.