For first-time pet owners, the prospect of choosing the right breed, acclimating a dog to your home, and establishing a healthy routine can be overwhelming, and understandably so. Considerations when it comes to pet parenthood are many, as are the steps which can be taken to ensure a smooth transition into the new home and a happy life for your furry companion.
Finding the Right Breed
The first step in becoming the proud owner of a pooch is deciding which pooch is right for you. Or, more importantly, which dog breed will suit your lifestyle. Begin with marking any dogs who you or your partner/children may be allergic to off the list.
The second consideration when it comes to choosing an appropriate breed is your current and future living situation. If you anticipate living in a relatively small space, such as an apartment, smaller or medium sized breeds who do not require inordinate amounts of exercise are the best choice. Even if your apartment provides ample greenery, most owners will be at the office during the majority of the week, meaning the dog may be left alone in the home often, and in this case it should have space to move around. For many, hiring a dog-walker is worth the money, especially if you work long hours.
Those who live in houses are more appropriate owners of large and more energetic breeds. Even for house-dwellers, these breeds require ample outdoor space to run around, meaning that the home should be equipped with a large yard and/or a very convenient-located dog park.
One often overlooked consideration in terms of breed is the size of your car, as you may be inclined to bring your dog on road trips and/or to locations outside of walking distance. A mammoth of a dog and your two-seater convertible aren’t exactly a recipe for comfort, and it can seriously limit the opportunities for you and your dog to enjoy activities together.
The Acclimation Process
Once you have settled on a breed that suits your lifestyle and choose your individual pup, it is time to begin the process of acclimating the dog to its new home and routine. The American Kennel Club recommends that new owners give their dog treats and/or biscuits upon meeting them because, as we know, first impressions are everything.
Upon arrival at the new home, it is encouraged that the owner first take the dog to the spot where they will be expected to go to the bathroom. This may also mean taking the dog for the walk, which will be a proper introduction to the neighborhood and surrounding areas. Having an array of toys on hand is important, as the dog will be able to choose which it enjoys the most.
For those adopting an older dog, some unique steps must be taken. These dogs, often rescues, may be a bit more skittish, and a bit less playful, than puppies. For this reason, it is unwise to have a large crowd or excessive stimulation present when first introducing the dog to your home. Petfinder suggests that new owners of older dogs take it slow. These dogs often come from noisy, rambunctious shelters, and they may appreciate simply taking in the calmness of their new home while lounging on a big comfortable bed. If they are used to a crate, it is advisable that one be present should the dog decide to use it as a form of comfort and familiarity.
As an owner, the initial process of introducing dog to home is an important one. Over-stimulation, particularly when it comes to a dog’s first go-round in the home, can result in a hyperactive state of arousal that indicates stress, a scenario which should be avoided when possible.
Taking home a new dog can be a process imbued with uncertainty, but adhering to the advice of professionals will create a sense of assurance that you are doing your part to help your pup feel at home. Whether you are taking home a puppy, middle-aged rescue, or older hound, the right choice in breed is determined by similar criteria including size, energy-level, and allergenic considerations. Once home, older dogs may require a higher level of calmness in the home, but the administering of treats, toys, and an introduction to the urination and defecation station reflects a similar routine for a dog of any size or age.
Article Submitted By Jessica Brody.Ms. Brody believes dogs are the best creatures on earth. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website Ourbestfriends.pet.