Savvy Pet Tips

Tips For Getting Your First Family Dog

Getting a dog for the family is one of the most exciting things you can do. It’s a chance to introduce a new member to your household and shake up your family dynamic. Dog ownership is a real blessing and you will soon have a new best friend to spend time with, take on walks and make a host of memories with. While owning a dog is a great thing, if you haven’t had one before, it can feel daunting and you might not know where to start. Whether you decide to get a new puppy or a rescue dog that’s a bit older, we’ve put together some top tips for getting your first family dog.

Decide whether you want to get a dog privately or through a rescue centre

When it comes to getting a dog, one of the first things you need to decide is whether you want to pay for a puppy privately, or go through a rescue centre. There are many benefits to both and it’s down to you to decide which suits your lifestyle better. Purchasing a dog privately can be more expensive, but means you have a higher chance of getting a puppy that you can train – plus you have the cute factor! A rescue dog can be cheaper and you get the chance to give a dog a new and much better life. The caveat with this is that the dog might already have some learned behaviours that can be challenging and they might be harder to train. You’ll also have less of a choice of the breed you wish to go for.

Think about the breed of dog you want

The breed of dog you opt for has a big part in how they will fit into your life. If you are a very active family who goes on lots of walks, it’s a good idea to find a bigger dog who suits this lifestyle. If you have children or don’t have the time to get out so much, it can be an idea to find a breed that is smaller, requires less exercise and can be less of a handful. Some dogs are also better suited for families such as labradors or spaniels, but you need to do your own research into the different breeds and the qualities they possess. Some require a lot more training, some are more docile and some are higher maintenance. Think about what you can cope with and what time you have to dedicate to them.

Consider how much time you have to train a puppy

If you get a puppy, they are great, but also hard work. You will need to train them in everything from going to the toilet outside (or in a designated area), how to walk on a leash and any other tricks you want them to know. You can train them yourself, but some people find it helps to hire a dedicated dog trainer who can help with ensuring they are trained properly. Dog trainers can be expensive, but worth it and you can do either private or group sessions. You could also look into virtual dog training online.

Have a budget in mind

Unfortunately, dogs are expensive. Not only does the particular breed you choose have an impact on this, but also the items you need to buy for once they have arrived. You will need everything from a dog bed and toys, to food and a leash. You will also need money for things such as their vets bills, insurance and grooming. By having a budget in mind when you do your research you will know whether or not the dog you’re looking at is right for you and whether you will be able to afford their upkeep in the long run.

Choose the right food for them

When getting your dog, you need to focus on their health and a big part of that is their food. There are many brands on the market and you want to find a good one packed with nutrients such as salmon dog food or those with meat in it that will help your dog to be as healthy as possible. Dog food will give them nutrients to grow and thrive as well as help their teeth, bones, and heart be as healthy as possible.

Get your house ready for their arrival 

Your home needs to be ready for a dog and it can require some careful planning. Make sure any outside areas are secure so they can’t get out and escape, as well as places in your home – particularly if you have a puppy that could worm itself into some tight spaces. You will also need to decide if you are going to let them in all the rooms in the house, or only certain ones, and if you want to block their access to other rooms such as the upstairs of your home.

Ensure your children know how to behave around them 

Before you bring your dog home, speak with your children and ensure they know how to behave around a dog. Teach them to be calm and not to annoy the dog or pull on its ears and tail for example. It could be a good idea to get a book or watch a video online that can teach them the best way to be around dogs.

These are just a few top tips for getting your first family dog. It’s good to remember that a dog is a big purchase and life change so you need to be ready. The more prepared you are ahead of their arrival, the easier the transition can be and you will find yourselves adapting that little bit better. It’s also important to keep in mind that no matter how prepared you are, there might be setbacks with things like their training and the way you adapt, so don’t worry too much about this as it’s normal. Prior to getting your dog you also need to consider the financial implications and how well they will fit into your home and your lifestyle. Have you recently got a dog? If so, what are some top tips you have for introducing one to your family? Let us know in the comments below.

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