So you’ve given in to the children’s request to have a dog! This will be the best decision you will make as growing up with a dog is an amazing experience for any family. Research has shown that dogs can have many positive effects on your health from encouraging the whole family to exercise more to reducing stress as well as your blood pressure. So, just as your teenage son causes your pressure to rise, a wag of a tail and a cuddle from your canine friend will help take it back to normal! After all, it’s hard not to smile when your dog gives you their enthusiastic welcome every day! So expanding your family to welcome the patter of four paws across your hallway is a positive move but have you considered the fundamentals before taking on the responsibility?
Consider the Breed
Now this is where the head has to rule the heart as there is no point in falling in love with a large energetic breed of dog when you work long hours and have an active social life just because you like the look of them. You must select a breed that will fit in with your family and lifestyle. So favourite breeds should have no bearing here, but choosing the right breed should. You need to offer the dog a fulfilled life and therefore researching breeds is essential so you end up with a dog to suit your family. If you decide to adopt a dog from a rehoming centre then staff will vet your home, assess your lifestyle then match you with a suitable dog. If a dog is unfulfilled and unhappy it will soon let you know by displaying troubled behaviour such as chewing your furniture so it’s in everyone’s best interests to make the right choice from the start.
Time to go Shopping!
This is the bit most families will really enjoy! Children love the excitement of preparing for the arrival of the new family pet. You will need the obvious things such as a collar, lead and a harness but also if you are getting a puppy, consider buying a crate. A crate may look like huge cage but it is a valuable training tool as well as providing a safe and secure retreat they can retire to for sleeping and playing. You will need to work out what size you will need and where you will locate it in your house. You will need a cosy, comfy bed and a few blankets so that they can be replaced when in the wash! Consider adding baby gates around the house during the puppy phase for their own protection and for the protection of your house and furniture! You will also need to get some quality, toxin-free toys and I’d recommend a food dispensing toy such as a Kong which will not only enrich your dog’s life but will distract him when you have to leave the house.
The Off Lead Experience
Dogs love nothing better than to run around and the off lead experience is an essential one but you need to know they are going to come back to you so training is vital. Keeping your dog safe on the walk will be your initial concern as a new dog owner but training sessions and socialisation will develop the bond and confidence you need. To keep your worry at bay perhaps you should consider a pet GPS tracker? These devices are either constructed into a collar or can be attached to a collar and can track your dog’s location via an app on your mobile phone. As even the most well trained dog can get distracted by wildlife and be off like a shot before you’ve even tried to call their name, knowing you can track their whereabouts on your phone will give you great peace of mind. With dog theft on the rise, time is also of the essence but by using a tracking device you can relax in the knowledge you will be reunited with your beloved pet before they get into danger.