10. Talk to all family members about what they like and dislike about dogs. If you have younger kids, give some thought to breeds that are known to be good with children and are big enough not to be overly fragile.
9. Decide how you will handle chores associated with the dog. Set realistic expectations, based on your kids’ age, ability level, and schedule, as to who will walk, feed, and clean up after your new dog.
8. Set up a schedule for each family member to participate in the dog’s training, exercise, grooming, and entertainment.
7. Research various breeds to find one that matches your family’s lifestyle. Active dogs need active families.
6. Consider any allergies your family members may have. Choose a hypo-allergenic dog or decide how you will handle the person’s allergies. (Hint: children under the age of 7 should not be expected to live in a tent to accommodate the dog!
5. Spend some time teaching your kids about caring for a dog and what will be required of them before you bring a new dog home.
4. If you will be getting a puppy or small breed, teach your children how to handle the dog gently to prevent injuries.
3. Consider how your pet will fit into your home. Will you need baby gates to isolate the animal to certain areas of the home? Will you need to add a doggie door?
2. Buy supplies before you get the dog. Make sure you have a leash and collar of the right size to bring the dog home. Make sure you have the proper food by consulting with your breeder or the shelter from which you are buying.
1. Prepare for the unexpected. Having a puppy in your home is almost the same as having a toddler. They require constant supervision to prevent injury and accidents.
Check out the Meet Your Match program from the ASPCA to help you find the perfect dog for your family.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!