Few things bring more joy than the arrival of a new family member — human or otherwise. Thankfully, millions of Americans happily adopt pets every year, providing new homes to animals who’ve been abused in other settings or face the possibility of euthanasia at traditional animal shelters.
Adopting a new dog, whether it’s an Aussie Shepherd or any other noble breed, is a particularly meritorious commitment. Of course, puppy adoption does bring a host of responsibilities. If you’re planning to adopt a canine companion in the near future, follow these five simple dog-rearing tips:
- Identify and Dog Proof Your Pup’s Home Base
Before your pup even sets foot in your new home, identify the room(s) where he or she will be spending most of his or her time — and then dog proof the heck out of the area. Petfinder recommends taping down loose electrical cords and outlets, taking out rugs (unless you don’t mind pee-stained carpeting), removing breakables, installing baby-blocker doors and setting up the pup’s crate with everything he or she will need. These precautions won’t completely preclude messes, but at least they’ll leave your new pooch with less to mess up.
- Make Sure Your Existing Pets Are Healthy
According to the Humane Society, one of the most important things you can do in the run-up to your new pet’s homecoming — particularly if he or she is young — is make sure all of your existing pets are healthy. If they haven’t recently been to the vet, bring them in. Make sure all their shots are up to date and properly recorded. Manually check them for parasites and consider giving them prophylactic treatment, just in case. A healthy home means fewer risks for the newest member of your family.
- Read Up on Training Best Practices
Never trained a dog before? No problem; millions of people have, with varying degrees of success. Pick up a couple of dog-training books before bringing your pooch home, and give yourself regular homework assignments to ensure you’re absorbing key concepts. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from more experienced friends, nor to admit when you’ve made a tactical training error.
- Keep Your Kids in the Loop
You’d never totally forget your kids, but all the commotion around your new dog can be a bit of a distraction for parents and kids alike — and that can have unintended consequences. Involve your kids in every aspect of the puppy selection process, within age-appropriate constraints of course, and ensure that they know what to expect when their new friend comes home for the first time. You don’t want a rambunctious or spiteful kid to compound the headache of a rambunctious puppy!
- Be Patient!
When it comes to raising a housebroken pup, patience is a virtue. Your new best friend isn’t going to pick up everything overnight. It’s important to trust your own instincts, your pup’s willingness to learn the rules of the road (or home, as it were) and not to deviate from your training plan. Together, you and your new dog can live in relative harmony.
Are you planning to adopt a new puppy anytime soon?