Author: Mike Powell
If you’re going to be adopting your first family dog, expect fun, adventure, and lots of love. But don’t be unprepared! Bringing a dog into the household can be tough if you aren’t ready.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the things you should consider before adopting your first family dog. Here’s what you need to know to make the process as easy as possible and get your new fur baby home safe and easy.
Choose the Right Breed
Every dog has the potential to be loving and calm, but not all breeds are equal. The breed you choose should fit in with your family’s personality. Here are some things to consider:
Is your child hyperactive? An energetic dog may help them run off their excess energy. Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, or Border Collies could be good choices.
If your child is quieter and not as active, then a calmer dog would be a better idea. Bulldogs, Pugs, or Pekingese are less active and enjoy quietly spending time with their family.
Dogs with a moderate activity level (that can adapt to the family) include Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and Terriers.
Training is not only a good way to make sure your dog is under your control, but it can also be a good way for your dog and child to bond. Dogs who are food or treat-motivated will be easier to train.
Some dogs can be extremely stubborn and aren’t easily trainable. Avoid Pekes, Huskies, Poodles, Basenjis, Basset Hounds, and Afghan Hounds.
If you live in a small apartment, a smaller dog is a better idea. If you have a large yard with plenty of space, you can choose a large or small dog.
Also, keep in mind what size dog would be suitable for your children. If you have very young children, a large and boisterous dog might be a danger. On the other hand, if your children are boisterous, a tiny, fragile dog might not be a good idea.
Prepare Your Home
You can’t just bring a new dog to your home as it is. You need to make sure your home is ready for a dog, and that your dog is prepared too.
Dog-proof your home by making sure chewable things are out of reach. Also, make sure there are no hazards to the dog, like electrical wires, sharp edges, or choking hazards.
Make sure you have everything your dog needs. That includes a dog bed, dog blanket, appropriate dog food, treats, toys, and any medicine that may be necessary. It might also be worth investing in calming treats to ease your new dog’s nerves.
Introduce the Dog to Your Family
It’s a good idea to take your child or children to meet the dog before bringing it home. Having a playdate can give you an idea of how the dog behaves around children. If there are problems, it’s best to find out before you officially adopt the dog rather than after you bring it home.
Teach your kids to treat the dog with love and respect. If you have young children, it’s best to not leave them alone with the dog until they’re a little older. If they’re old enough to understand how to treat a dog, supervise them for the first few visits to make sure they get along well with the pup.
Adopting your first family dog should be exciting for the whole family, as well as for the dog. Just a bit of research and preparation before you bring your new baby home can help you find the right dog and get off to the best start as a new, fuller family.
About the Author
Mike Powell has been caring for dogs since he was a child and has adopted several of his own. He shares dog-related information, advice, and care tips on Dog Embassy.