When bringing home a new dog, it’s a huge milestone! Whether you’re buying a new puppy that will become the ideal family dog, or a rescuing a pet from a shelter who needs a new home, getting a dog will change your family’s life for the better.

Prepare for Getting a Dog 1024x682 - Man’s Best Friend: How to Prepare for Getting a Dog

However, just as anybody in a new environment, your four-legged friend will probably be equal parts excited and nervous. Preparing for the first day will help make everything go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Prepare for everyone’s new responsibilities: Who will be responsible for what? If it’s just yourself adopting a companion, this is an easy question. But if it’s a household, especially for kids or for a couple, bringing in a new member can cause a bit of dissension when it comes to responsibilities. Sure, everyone may want to walk him at first, but what about when the weather isn’t ideal for walking? He will still need a walk. Daily fresh food and water are important, as is grooming. Lots of playtime and attention are mandatory too. Make sure everyone is on board with their responsibilities, and understands that they truly aren’t optional, even if they don’t feel like it that day. Your new friend will be very susceptible to tension in the new house, so try to eliminate it with clear communication.
  2. Buy all of the things! Shopping for your new pet is so much fun! Although it can be easy to get carried away, make sure you have the essentials taken care of first. Leashes, collars, clothing if necessary (depending on the breed and size of the dog: smaller dogs, such as Chihuahuas have very thin fur and not a lot of mass to keep themselves warm), among other things such as food, water bowls and a bed are must-haves. Do you need a kennel for when you won’t be at home? How about puppy training pads, a poop scooper, or one of those cute little bone-shaped keychains that carry poop bags for incidents on walks? Tags are another must have, so that if ever you get separated, he can get back home.

Apart from the necessities, it can be a ton of fun to shop for accessories and toys. A dog, young or old, will require a lot of stuff to make him feel at home.

3. Find a vet: Of course, you hope that no harm comes to your new furry friend. However, even fully healthy dogs will need the occasional checkup or updated shots. Having someone to call who is knowledgeable about your dog and can help should any emergencies arise is imperative. Keep the info handy, both in their health record at home and on the fridge for everyone to easily find it. Many vets even provide a magnet for such purposes.

Another important aspect is gathering information on your dog. If you’ve adopted a puppy, the paperwork from his breeder should be fairly complete, with his lineage and medical information, as well as what kind of nutrition he’s been under. A shelter friend may be more difficult, but learning as much as you can about your dog will help you foresee some obstacles and keep you in the loop on how to best train or help him adjust to his new home.

4. Puppy-proofing! Just like child-proofing, this is definitely a thing. Old or young, dogs may need to relearn how to ask to go outside, not to chew furniture, or have other unexpected behaviors. Baby or puppy gates are helpful, as are treats and lots of patience to learn what your dog goes after. You can look at videos on YouTube for help covering the entire basis. Many trainers will post tips and tricks for helping you pet-proof your home.

Bringing home your new pet is a very exciting experience, only made better by proper preparation. You’ve done the hardest part of deciding which furry friend is coming home, but now it’s time to put in some work to help your dog adjust as well as he can, so you can both enjoy the transition together!

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