3 essential points for first time pet owners.
Jessica Brody is a dog lover and creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She created the site to offer a place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.
Owning a pet is a life-changing adventure. From a cat that loves to cuddle and watch movies to a dog that gets you going on long walks, getting a four-legged family member brings an abundance of joy to your life. That being said, bringing a new pet into your home is not without its challenges, especially for first-time pet owners.
The best way to limit the challenges of owning a pet for the first time and sidestepping any serious hurdles is to prepare ahead of time. Do your research and think about what you can offer a pet before you bring one home. Since dogs don’t come with an owner’s manual, check out these four tips to help make your new pet adventure a success: choosing the right breed, preparing your home and bonding.
Choosing the right breed
Even if you are committed to adopting a dog from a rescue, shelter or pound, you should still understand the descriptions of different breeds. That last thing you want is to bring a breed into a tiny apartment that prefers big, open spaces. How do you know which breed is the right fit for your lifestyle?
- Small Spaces: If you live in an apartment or have limited yard space consider bringing home a breed that is comfortable in asmall space, such as a Boston Terrier, Bichon Frise, Brussels Griffon, King Charles Spaniel or Greyhound.
- Active Dogs: People looking for a dog torun, hike or play with should look no further than a Corgi, Shetland Sheepdog, Russell Terrier, Golden Retriever or Border Collie.
- Easy-Going Breeds: A laid-back lifestyle calls for alaidback pet to go with the flow, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Bull Mastiffs and Chow Chows.
Don’t forget about the ultimate easy-going animal for a small space–a cat. Dogs may be man’s best friend, but cats can be the chillest roommate.
Preparing your home
You’ll want to make a few changes to your home before bringing in a pet–if you want to keep your shoes in tact. Dogs and cats have specific needs and by pet-proofing your home you can avoid some of the common and not-so-common pitfalls of pet adoption.
- Supplies, such as a leash, collar, food and water bowls, toys, treats, dog bed, kennel (if crate-training).
- Baby gates to keep dogs out of rooms they aren’t allowed in unsupervised.
- Make a veterinarian appointment.
- Get everyone in the household on the same page as far as rules, roles and responsibilities.
- Remove any chewing or choking hazards.
- Hiring adog walker if you work long hours.
- Supplies, such as a litter box, toys, treats, cat tree, scratching post, and food and water bowls.
- Access to secure, dark space like under a bed or inside a closet.
- A spot in the sun to lie around in.
- Window and door screens that resist cat claws.
If you take measures to secure your home, your new pet will be set up for a successful transition into your family. Being a park of your family–your pack, as it were–is important, especially for dogs. You’ll want to take time out every day to strengthen that bond.
Bonding with your pet
Bonding with a dog or a cat takes times. They first need to know you are reliable, trustworthy and loving. Once they see that these traits are consistent, bonding will happen with greater speed and depth. Ways to bond with your pet include:
- Respond to them when they try to get your attention.
- Give them affection and human contact.
- Communicate consistently.
- Take a training class together.
- Play every day.
Enjoying life with a pet comes easy to some and takes a bit of time with others. It’s important to stay strong and committed to your decisions. If Fido isn’t allowed on the couch, everyone must abide the rule or else that rule–and likely many others–will never stick. Be patient with your new pet–and yourself–as you prepare for these changes and everyone will be happier and healthier.
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