Getting a dog for the first time is a big move, especially when you already have children. If you have had a dog in the past, then you already know the hard work that goes into raising and training them, but if you are a first-time dog owner, it is important to be realistic. The fact is a puppy is a baby, and adopting an adult dog needs you to think long and hard and put a lot of work into finding the right dog that will suit your family and lifestyle.
A dog is another child. It is a being you have to love and care for, which is why if you’re considering getting a dog for the first time, you will want to follow this guide:
1. Is Your Family Ready for a Dog?
It is best to wait until your kids grow up to at least nursery school. Babies and toddlers are a lot to handle and are messy enough on their own that adding a new dog to the mix can really overwhelm you before you know it. Not only that, but puppies have a lot to learn on their own, which means they won’t be as gentle or careful as they will be when they are older. Puppies are still generally good with babies, but they can get excited, and it’s generally better to wait until your family has settled a bit more before introducing a new dog to the mix.
2. Are You Ready to Put in the Effort to Train Your Dog?
There are a few things that you need to train your dog. If you are new to it, puppy school is a must, both for your new puppy but also for you. You will also need rewards, and for the sake of your dog’s health, we recommend these healthy and natural dog treats. Dog treats should be used regularly whenever your pet does something good, whether that is something as simple as coming when called or waiting by the door until you can wipe their feet. What will make the biggest difference of all when it comes to training your dog, however, is keeping your rules consistent amongst every member of the house. Conflicting rules can be very stressful for a dog, especially if they sometimes get punished for a certain action, but not all the time.
3. Are You Ready to Do What You Can to Keep Your Dog Healthy?
Being ready as a family and being ready to take care of a dog are two entirely different things. You need to be financially prepared and be ready to do what it takes to keep your new dog healthy and happy. What this means, more than just getting good quality dog food and treats, is that you are ready to walk them when and however often they need. Small dogs might just like one long walk a day, while big dogs will need to be active twice a day and generally be taken to dog parks or out in the countryside where they can run.