So many families would love to get a dog, but if neither parent has ever had one, this can be a daunting prospect. While the idea of having a dog seems jolly, fun and wholesome, the reality can be far from it if things go wrong. Many people don’t realize quite how big a responsibility having a dog can be, until they already have welcomed a dog into their home and are now struggling to cope.
In addition, some parents are nervous about bringing a dog into the home because they are concerned about how their kids will react to the dog, and vice versa. If you are one of those parents and you are currently researching dog ownership, you have come to the right place!
Here are 3 tips for bringing a dog into your family.
- Take Time Off To Settle Him In
Dogs are pack animals. For them to feel safe and happy, dogs need to feel as if they can trust their pack and understand where they stand with all the pack members. You, your kids and your partner, are the dog’s potential pack. For the dog’s first few weeks with you, no matter the dog’s age or background, they will take a little time to adjust to this new pack who already know each other.
As pack leaders, your job is to take this time to settle him in. This might mean taking some time off work in order to establish a trusting, bonded relationship with your dog. You can’t expect your new dog to settle in and be calm right away – you have to do the work.
- Keeping Your Dog Safe
Even happy, well-trained dogs can get lost or stolen. This is a frightening potential scenario, but one that unfortunately happens very often. Welcoming a dog into your family means doing all you can to keep him or her safe at all times.
How can you do this? Firstly, make sure you have metal labels made for your dog’s collar, in addition to signage outside your home that warns that a dog is present. These should contain your name, address and phone number so that anyone who finds your dog can contact you. You should also get your dog microchipped – this is a legal requirement in many countries!
- Set Ground Rules With Your Kids
As well as the dog being given clear boundaries and instructions, your children need this too. Especially if your kids aren’t used to being around dogs all the time, they need to understand how to correctly interact with the dog. As pack leaders, you are responsible for creating a safe and happy environment for your new dog that does not lead to him being overwhelmed.
Some helpful rules for kids are:
- Do not bother or touch the dog while he is sleeping or eating.
- The dog doesn’t need affection all the time.
- Looking after the dog doesn’t just mean cuddles; it means walks, training, and also cuddles!
In conclusion, creating a welcoming family dynamic for your new dog takes work – but boy, is it worth it!