Preparing Your Home For a New Dog
Bringing a new dog home is an exciting and joyful experience as you can’t wait to have the first of many thrilling times with your four-legged furry friend. However, just as you are likely to prepare your home to welcome any new member into your family, a new dog also requires serious planning. This is crucial as dogs may not know what acceptable and off-limits in their new habitat is.
Dogs are curious by nature, and a new dog in a new environment is bound to walk around and investigate new sights; this may seem adorable at first, but it can also pose some risks such as chewing on electrical cords. It is essential to adequately prepare your home to make the new arrangements as enjoyable as possible. Here, we will address the basic requirements needed when preparing your home for a new dog.
Offer Support and Stability
So that your new furry family member does not have to stay alone during the acclimatization period, it’s best to take at least a week off work. Your dog must first get used to its new home and relatives slowly. It is essential to avoid dragging your new pet around the entire city in the first few days. Even too many new faces can have its nerves running wild; so, be sure to ask friends and relatives who are already curious about the new family member to have some patience.
Purchase Some Dog Supplies
This is the most vital step in the preparation of your home for a new dog. It can also be an excuse to indulge in shopping for some new furniture and household goods that your dog may need for its new environment. However, necessities for your dog have varying degrees of importance, and it is crucial not to purchase items which have limited functionality. The following are basic supplies to consider:
- Waste Disposal Supplies
As cute as dogs are, like most humans, they are known for their stinky poops; hence the need to purchase waste cleaning and disposal supplies such as plastic bags (which are equipped for picking and disposing of dog’s waste). Paper towels and stain removers can also be purchased to get rid of unwanted waste blots.
- Beddings and Sheet
These are necessary to ensure your dog sleeps and plays in comfort. It is, however, advisable to purchase bedding materials that are of your dog’s size for a cozier environment.
- Food and Water Bowls
It is prudent to purchase suitable feeding bowls according to the size of your dog to determine their feeding pattern. Using an oversized or undersized bowl might lead to wastage. Also, try to keep their feeding bowls in accessible areas where they can be free to eat with less stress.
- Dog Food
Having some knowledge about the nutritional requirements of your dog is essential; however, keep in mind that it varies in dogs. A visit to the vet is recommended for adequate information about your dog’s diet. It is also a smart idea to buy dog food in bulk to save costs.
- Dog Toys
Most dogs, especially puppies, love to play and chew. To prevent your new dog chewing on precious household items, supply some soft toys they can play with or chew on. These goodies should be available before your dog arrives, as the main objective is to keep your dog entertained on the days you are not around.
Dogs enjoy playing and the toys can come in various shapes or forms. Having a variety of colorful toys around the house will prevent your new pet from becoming easily bored and destructive. Special dog toys are usually better suited than discarded teddies. The toy must be small enough for the dog to be able to grasp it with its muzzle, but also big enough that it does not accidentally swallow it. There also should not be any small parts that can come loose or be bitten off – like Teddy’s button eyes.
- Sleeping area
The sleeping area must be big enough for the new dog to reach out. Position the sleeping place in a quiet corner where it can retire without feeling lonely. Also ensure that the sleeping area is free of drafts (through open windows or door slots). This is very important to keep them healthy in the long run.
- Dog Crates
A dog crate comes in handy as it can have a positive impact on the dog’s general well-being. Especially in puppy training, the crate can also perform well in normal everyday life. For adult dogs, a comfortably equipped crate offers a retreat and a resting place in which he or she feels safe; it becomes their ‘safe place’ to retire when in need of some quiet time. Crates also come in very useful when you have noisy visitors around which can cause your pet to become nervous and stressed.
It is, however, essential to choose a crate that is of the right size for your dog to prevent your new pet feeling uncomfortable or disoriented. Crates come in different shapes and sizes and it is important to pay attention to the type of crate you may want to purchase for your dog. Crates made of wood are expensive to construct, heavy and difficult to clean; plastic crates are light in weight, easy to clean but still on the pricey side, while wire crates are easy to clean. Whichever crate you decide on, it must be big enough for your dog to easily move around.
Although they may appear intimidating, many dogs get used to crates very easily, so do not be discouraged by its cage-like appearance; you will be surprised at how useful it becomes and how much your dog will enjoy it.
Establish House Rules
When you bring a new dog home, it often involves lifestyle changes and adjustments as your new adopted friend will demand some level of care and attention. It is, therefore, prudent to make sure that various roles and responsibilities towards the dog are worked out before it arrives. The following are basic house rules you might need to set up for your dog.
- Choose a care schedule: Before bringing your dog home, a regimen has to be created amongst family members on how to take care of your dog. Tasks have to be assigned to individuals on the daily activities your pet will undertake. For example, decisions have to be taken on who takes the dog for a daily walk, who feeds it at night, where and when the dog plays, etc. Although time-consuming, these rules are essential to prevent your pet feeling neglected and to ensure its own necessities do not become a hindrance to you or your family members.
- Set up boundaries: This is equally important as dogs are naturally curious and wander off to explore in places that are off limits. This can effectively be done by constructing little gates to restrict or keep your dog from certain places.
- Choose a comfortable living area: This next step is vital as it gives you an idea on the type of living situation you need to provide for your dog. If your dog is to live outside, be sure the immediate surrounding is clean and free from dangerous objects such as glass. Also, the surroundings must be large enough for your dog to walk about and play. On the other hand, if your dog is to live inside, then a well-sized crate is to be built where it can eat, rest and play.
- Engage in obedience classes: Just like little children, our cute pets do not behave and follow our rules all the time. Especially in a new environment, a dog might become a little confused for the first few weeks hence the need to set some ground rules in advance. An obedience class is a good way of training and bonding with your new dog to develop a working and loving relationship. Different family members are also encouraged to attend obedience classes to help create a bond with everyone in the house.
- Practice your routine: After setting up your house rules, it is imperative to stick to them to prevent your new pet sliding back to its old ways. Dogs are very smart, so do not give in – your new dog will eventually adjust its new lifestyle.
Dog Proof Your Home
This is another crucial step to take before bringing a new dog home. All dogs especially puppies are prone to incessant snooping and probing because of their curious nature and they most likely will not have an idea on what may be hazardous to them. Dog proofing is highly recommended as dogs often explore with their noses and mouths which may lead to choking or respiratory hazards. The following are various dog proof tips to consider before bringing your dog home.
- Perform an extensive search of your house: A thorough search of the house has to be carried out to get rid of any item or material that may cause harm to your dog. When searching, try to see things from a dog’s point of view to determine areas that may be dangerous to your dog. Household accessories such as hairbrushes, toothbrushes, and mirrors have to be kept out of reach to prevent your dog from chewing them, as well as chemical substances such as hair oils and pesticides.
- Build gates or barriers: Restricting your dog from a particular location requires setting up a barrier which may be in the form of baby gates that restrict access. The gates have to be sturdy and tall enough to prevent your dog from forcing its way through.
- Remove all electric cords: Dogs may be attracted to colorful wires and get the urge to play with or chew on them. Wires should either be placed out of reach or placed in protective covers.
- Remove fragile objects: There is a high probability for your dog to inadvertently knock over tables and chairs which might lead to breakage of brittle items. Such items should be kept in shelves or cupboards where your dog can’t reach.
Equipment Needed For Bringing a New Dog Home
Selecting the perfect pooch, choosing an adorable name and eventually bringing him or her home can be an exciting experience for both parties. You may have also prepared a well-work schedule which involves all your dog’s activities. To ensure your dog stays relaxed, happy, safe and well cared for, the following equipment will come in handy.
- Leash: Getting your dog a good leash helps to keep it safely under control when taking a stroll outside. However, before purchasing a leash, consider the size of your dog and aim to introduce the leash as early as possible for your beloved pet to get accustomed to. The size of a good leash should be around 4 to 6 feet long depending on how much you want to curl it and, it is advisable to purchase a leash that is both light and strong and possibly made of nylon or cotton for faster drying if you ever get caught in the rain. Any leash you eventually choose be easily attachable to your dog’s collar.
- Collar: A collar is another useful item for your new pet as that is where its identification tags and leash will be attached. A plain collar made of leather or nylon with a buckle attached is a better option. Also, try to check your dog’s collar regularly, especially as it is growing, so as to readjust or change to prevent tightness. A quick way to check if a collar is tighter than usual is by fitting two fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck.
- ID tags: After registering your new pet with the authorities, a numbered dog tag will be provided. This is a good means of identifying your dog in case of emergencies. Getting a personalized ID tag is inexpensive as they include your dog’s name, your address, and phone number. It is, however, vital to remember to attach your dog’s ID tags to its collar. An even better way of identifying your dog is by visiting a vet to insert a microchip under its skin. This is more effective in locating and identifying your dog if he or she gets lost or stolen.
- Grooming supplies: Grooming is not only a great way to bond with your dog, it is crucial to its health as you need to frequently bathe it, brush its coat, clip their nails and have their eyes and ears inspected. However, keep in mind that the best grooming routine for your dog depends on its breed. The grooming supplies needed include combs and brushes, dog shampoos, scissors, nail clippers, cotton balls, dog toothbrushes, and toothpaste. For a new dog, it is vital to get your dog used to bathing as early as possible. You do not want it to be an anguished experience, otherwise, your dog will never want to get in the tub again. Therefore, allow him or her to play with their favorite toys as a distraction whilst bathing.
- Exercise pen: At some point in time, your dog will be left alone to play by itself. During these times, you need to make sure that it has a safe and comfortable place to exercise. Exercise pens are also useful for times when you don’t want to confine him/her to its crate. An exercise pen can be easily created by fencing an enclosed space within the safety of your home.
- Enzyme cleaner: With the best training, your dog will still be prone to potty-training accidents and it is imperative to get it cleaned as soon as possible to avoid a repeat incidence. Using an enzymatic cleanser not only removes stains but eliminates odors that only your dog can smell. Avoid using cleaning agents that contain ammonia which is akin to urine for a dog’s nose and may urge it to urinate on the spot.
- Bedding: If you opted for a dog crate, it will require some bedding for added comfort when resting or sleeping. Dog beddings come in different styles which include thin pads, orthopedic foam, and loosely padded pillows. When purchasing bedding material, opt for those that are easy to clean and also large enough to accommodate your dog.
- First aid: Since dogs are naturally curious and playful and even more so in a new environment, they are bound to have some bruises and scrapes along the way. Having a first aid kit with cotton balls and methylated spirit can be used to treat injuries to avoid the risk of infection.
- Dog attire: Your dog’s overall attire may depend on the kind of weather prevalent in the area you live in. If the days are mostly chilly, consider purchasing a dog jacket or a sweater to keep it warm. On the other hand, if the days are mostly warm, opt for specialized clothing that retains moisture and cools the skin.
- Gates/fence: Constructing gates or little fences in your home helps to prevent your dog from having access to areas that are out of bounds. These can be screwed into place or mounted but they must be close enough so a dog does not get its head stuck between.