Preparing Your Home and Family for a Dog
In a few weeks, our family is getting a dog! Now that we’ve determined that our family is ready for a pet using this checklist, we are so excited to welcome our newest family member. But we have a lot to do to prepare our home and family for a dog. Here are some of the items on my “to do” list.
How to Prepare for a Dog
• Select and notify vet. Most dog adoption organizations and breeders require veterinarian information be provided prior to accepting your application for a new pet. Although we have a vet we used for our former dogs, they are a little further away from home than we prefer. So, we’ve gone to friends and neighbors to get recommendations for a new local vet.
• Secure dog walker. Both my husband and I work full-time so a dog walker or dog daycare is a must. When looking for the right care, we have to consider flexibility. Although I work from home a couple days per week, I sometimes need to be in the office on those days. So, I’ll need a dog walker that can be flexible with my schedule.
• Research dog training classes. My husband and I decided that our 9-year-old daughter and I will attend dog training classes together. There are quite a few in our areas so, again, we’ll solicit the recommendations of friends and neighbors. Also, we’ll need one that fits with our schedule.
• Buy food and supplies. Food, bedding, dog bowls, leashes, chew toys, play toys – all essential pet supplies that we’ll need on hand for our new dog. For the first few weeks, we’ll continue to give the new puppy the same food he started on. After that, we’ll slowly transition him over to the food we’ve selected.
• Set-up crate and sleep area. Like setting up a nursery for a new baby, it’s important to create a cozy area for our new puppy. Also, we’ll have to set some rules for our children to respect this area as a “dogs only” space so the puppy has a safe place to go when feeling overwhelmed or to rest.
• Dog proof the house. In the past, we’ve found that baby gates were a great way to establish boundaries for little puppies. Like toddlers, puppies like to explore and get into mischief when given free range.
• Decide upon and communicate dog rules. There are certain rules that my husband and I established with our former dogs – no sleeping on couches, no sitting in kitchen during dinner, no table scraps or feeding dog from table, etc. By the time the children were born, these rules were well-established. With the new dog, we’ll need to get everyone back on board with these rules to help with training.
• Set-up care schedule and dog chore chart. Like children, dogs thrive on a consistent schedule. Setting up a care schedule is not only important for the dog’s well-being but also to help the family know what chores need to be done and when. Likewise, it’s important to me that every family member participates in the care of our dog and a chore chart is a great way to identify weekly chores for each person.
• Register dog in town. Our town requires that all dogs are registered with the town and include proof of rabies vaccination.
• Register dog at work. Fridays are “bring your dog to work” days in my office. All dogs need to be registered for employee safety so I’ll definitely be taking advantage of that employee perk.
• Get some sleep! Like newborns, I’m expecting our new puppy to still need to get up in the night for a potty break. So, I’m planning on getting as much rest in now as I can.
Wish us luck – I’ll post photos when we bring him home!