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Dogs truly are man’s best friend. They cheer us up when we’re down, make for the perfect companions for long walks, and provide lovable best friends for our children. Any dog parent knows that your family isn’t complete without your furry friend. However, if if this is your first time owning a dog since having children or if you’ve never independently owned a dog as an adult, there are some things to be aware of before picking out your furry companion. While it might be tempting to run down to the shelter and select the lovable puppy with the big eyes, there are some important things you should consider before becoming a dog parent.
1. Choose a Kid-Friendly Breed
Though all dogs are beautiful in their own way, not all are ideal for children. According to the American Kennel Club, the best dog breeds for small children include the Australian Terrier, Beagle, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, and Spanish Mastiff, amongst others. Feel free to take your children to the shelter to see how they react to certain dogs, and make sure to inquire about the history of any dogs before you adopt them.
Remember that even though it’s hard to say no when someone asks to pet your dog, both you and your canine can get in a lot of trouble if your furry friend bites someone. Don’t be afraid to say no to having your dog pet, and make sure to keep your dog out of populated public places until you are sure that your canine companion has been fully trained.
2. Select the Right Breed for Your Lifestyle
While it’s crucial to select a dog that will get along with your children, it’s also essential to choose a breed that will be comfortable with your lifestyle. Some breeds will be perfectly content in an apartment, while others will require a large yard with lots of space to run around in. Likewise, if you have a busy schedule and aren’t able to make it home for long periods of time throughout the day, be sure to select a breed that doesn’t need constant attention. By choosing the right canine, both you and your dog will have happier lives.
When it comes to selecting the right breed for a smaller living space, the size of the dog isn’t always the biggest factor. Many large dog breeds actually have lower activity levels than small breeds. Ideal dog breeds for apartments include the American Eskimo Dog, Australian Terrier, Basset Hound, Bichon Frise, Bulldog, Greyhound, Maltese, Pug, Shih Tzu, and Yorkshire Terrier. Additionally, dog breeds that don’t require as much attention include French Bulldogs, Greyhounds, Basset Hounds, Pugs, Golden Retrievers, and Boston Terriers.
3. Prepare Yourself for Chaos
Owning a dog can be one of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences, but like any new parent knows, it’s not without its unique set of challenges. Dogs can get into all sorts of trouble, from digging up your prize garden, to stealing your carefully prepared dinner, to pooping on your carpet. There are some handy tips that all dog owners should know, such as the best carpet cleaner for pet urine.
There are a number of products that all new dog owners will be grateful to have. These essential dog parent items include a reliable car seat, a sturdy carrier, a mobile bowl for walks and hikes, water-resistant boots and outerwear for cold-climate pups, dog shampoo, disposable wipes, a dog toothbrush, and electric nail clippers. And of course you’ll be needing plenty of treats!
4. Understand Dog Mentalities
While it’s understandable that we all want to smother our dogs in hugs and kisses, dogs respect and need natural leaders. If your dog is frightened or anxious, they will turn to you for guidance. Rather than coddle your dog and allow them to get their way and hide behind you, assert your dominance so that your dog can understand that you are their leader. This will ease canine anxiety and ultimately establish yourself as a trusted leader, which will provide much more relief than the temporary comfort of being pet and hugged.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t be affectionate with our dogs; it simply means that we cannot allow them to walk all over us. Establishing household rules that your dog must follow not only will make your life less of a headache, but it will calm your dog and give them a sense of security. Set a good example for your dog, be fair in your judgement, protect your friend, and don’t forget to remain calm and in control no matter how chaotic it gets.
5. Be Ready to Open Your Heart
Yes, owning a dog can be challenging. There are the early morning walks and occasional accidents. But nothing compares to the overwhelming joy of bonding with your canine. Be ready to open your heart and accept a boatload of slobbery kisses. Soon your family time will be filled with you children fighting over who gets to hold the leash.
If you don’t immediately bond with your new furry friend, fear not. Some dogs take some time to adjust to their fur-ever homes, especially if they are rescue dogs who have had difficult lives prior to joining your family. Remember that even though your dog will only make up part of your life, to your dog, you will be their entire life. Cherish the connection!