Getting a new dog at Christmas can be exciting, but without proper preparation, it can also be stressful. Knowing how to prepare your home and family for your new dog can make the experience less stressful and more enjoyable.
Clear Your Calendar
Your dog will likely be overwhelmed when you bring him or her home for the first time. If possible, clear your family calendar and avoid having get togethers for your dog’s first week in your home. To make this possible, you may want to get your “Christmas” dog at the tail end of Christmas and after family events are over, to ensure that your dog will have quiet time to adjust to the new family and household. After your dog has been in your home for a week, invite family and friends in small groups to come visit with your dog.
Buy Your Supplies
Buy your supplies before you get a dog. Your dog will need the following:
- A bowl for water and food
- Vet-approved dog food
- Leash and collar
- Dog-safe toys
- Poop scooper
- Anti-chew spray
- Toenail clippers
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
Prepare Your Dog’s Crate
Many dogs, particularly indoor dogs, have crates where they can retreat from the world. This crate is where your dog will sleep at night, and is a location where he or she can relax. Dogs are social animals, so put your dog’s crate in a location where he or she can be near the family. This may be in your living room or family room.
Be prepared to move the crate into your bedroom at night, especially if the dog you bring home is a puppy. Puppies like to sleep near their masters. If you don’t like the idea of moving the crate into your bedroom every night, buy two crates. Pad the crate with chew-proof blankets, in case your dog is prone to chewing.
You may have fantasies about surprising your children with a dog on Christmas, but it’s important to prepare your family members for the arrival of the new dog. Each family member needs to understand his or her role with the new pet. Who will take the dog for walks? Who will be responsible for waking up to take your dog out in the middle of the night? Who will feed the dog?
These questions need to be asked and answered. If you expect your children to play a central role in the care of your new pup, then getting buy-in before the puppy arrives is key. Otherwise, you may find yourself handling all roles and responsibilities for your new dog.
Do Some Research
Owning a dog can be complicated. Dogs need love, attention, behavior training, proper diet, exercise and adequate shelter. If you’ve never owned a dog before, do some research so you’re prepared for the experience. Knowing how to train your dog, care for your dog and provide for your dog’s needs will help you go into the experience with your eyes open, and will make dog ownership a more satisfying experience.
There are many books written on the subject of dog ownership. Look for books at your local pet shop, library or bookstore. In addition, research the resources available to you in your local community. Find a vet and behavior training class ahead of time. This will make it easier to make appointments and sign up your dog for classes when the time comes.
Join National Animal Supplement Council
The National Animal Supplement Council is dedicated to promoting health and wellness for dogs, cats and horses through use of natural supplements and a healthy diet. To join our group and promote good health in animals, contact us today.