Dogs have a certain way of cheering up a family. Not only do they help us feel a little safer at night, but they are also great companions. Deciding if a dog is right for you (or your family) is the first thing to consider before committing to bringing a dog home. This article provides some tips for not only determining what type of dog is best for your family, but also ways you can help your family and new addition to get used to one another.
You have to remember that by adopting a dog you are taking on the responsibility of caring for a real creature – one that thinks, feels and loves. Make sure you or other family members are willing to take the time to train your dog (if he isn’t already) and to offer him attention/companion and discipline. Once you have the details in this regard, the next question to ask yourself is: what qualities do you want my dog to have? Dogs vary in how they are raised and the quality of life they provide, but there are certain traits that appear in certain dog breeds. Do you want an intelligent dog (ie: easy to train)?
Do you want a dog that is good with children? Are you looking for a low-energy lap dog or a powerful, high-energy dog that can keep up with your active lifestyle? These are all questions to ask yourself to make your search for the best dog breed easier.
Your lifestyle will have a big impact on what type of dog is best for you, so you really should give it a lot of thought. If you have children, research the breeds that are best known for being good family pets. German shepherds, almost all spaniel breeds, golden and labrador retrievers, and beagles are some breeds that are famous for being good with children.
I have always had the best results when researching based on a breed’s temperament. Some of the best dogs I’ve ever had were from breeds I researched thoroughly before bringing them home. This is a great way to prepare for anything that might crop up, including stubbornness (harder to train!), susceptibility to certain medical issues, and exercise requirements. So remember, do plenty of research on different dog breeds before making your decision.
After you’ve decided on the dog you want, set up a meeting with the dog’s owner or breeder so everyone in your family can get to know the new addition. Have the dog sniff each one thoroughly so he can remember their scent later. When you finally bring your dog home, he should be able to easily remember each family member’s scent, which will help reduce his stress and help him calm down. One thing I personally did to help my pup settle in was buy a baby blanket (just the plain cloth type) and give it to the breeder a few weeks before we were supposed to bring our pup home.
We asked the breeder to put the blanket in our dog’s bed (which the litter and mother shared) so the blanket would collect familiar smells onto it. When we picked up our puppy, we also brought the blanket and put it in our dog bed. If your prospective dog isn’t a puppy, see if he has toys or his own blanket to take with him. Familiar scents and objects are always a good idea.
A great way to get your dog to calm down a little faster is to keep him entertained with activities. Playing with him and having him join you around the house while you do chores are excellent ways to involve him in family life. You might also consider getting a pet staircase and teaching him to use it. It doesn’t take long to teach a dog to use the steps, but the time you spend training him will foster a bond of trust and camaraderie between the two of you, and this is crucial to getting your new dog into to turn into a good pet.
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