It’s an exciting day when you bring your new dog in to your home for the first time! It’s one of the best decisions you will make. If you have children they will benefit from the experience of growing up with and taking responsibility for a pet and even if you don’t have youngsters in the house everyone will gain from the happy presence of your new dog. Research has highlighted the positive effects that dogs can have on your health from having to take them out for daily walks to reducing stress. How can your spirits not be lifted when you get greeted with an excited wagging tail? Getting a dog is a huge responsibility, however, one that many people underestimate so make sure you have considered the basics before you make the decision.

The Right Breeding!

It is essential to make the right choice, if you don’t then both you, your family and the dog will be unhappy. Don’t just choose the breed you have always loved from childhood. There is no point in letting your heart rule your head as so many dogs end up in rehoming centres because of a poor decision made by their owners. The dog handed over by the family may have wrecked the house on several occasions but they were only displaying behaviour that could have been linked to boredom and stress. So do your research carefully and thoughtfully to avoid this sad situation. Look at your lifestyle, how long the dog will be left on its own, how much time you can devote to walking them. There is no point in getting an energetic gun dog who is bred to go on shoots for 4-6 hours a day if you will not be able to fulfil their need for exercise and stimulation. The job is made so much easier if you decide to adopt a dog from a rehoming centre as the staff will take your details, vet your home and assess your lifestyle to ensure the perfect match is made.

Preparing Your Home

If you are getting a puppy then my advice is puppy proof your home! If you leave anything of value within reach of your tiny canine friend then you run the risk of it getting chewed! So removed everything at puppy level and invest in some baby gates if you want to keep them out of certain areas. You may also find a dog crate helpful. It can be a valuable training tool as well as offering your new puppy a safe and secure haven where they can sleep or play. You will need to consider the location of the crate and the size you will need and don’t forget to think about a comfy bed and blankets to make things comfortable. Lots of toys will keep your pup stimulated and one of the best buys you will make will be a food dispensing toy such as the almost indestructible Kongs. Offering enrichment as well as an excellent distraction to quell separation anxiety.

Off Lead Joy!

I think there is nothing more beautiful than the sight of a happy dog running freely on their walk. The best part of their day, the off lead experience is an essential part of keeping your pooch fit, happy, stimulated and relaxed. For any new dog owner letting your dog off lead for the first time will be a worry but with the right training and socialisation you will soon build a bond of trust and build your confidence to test their power of recall. No matter how well you train your dog there may be the odd occasion when they get distracted by another animal and decide run off. To alleviate your worry you could consider buying a pet GPS tracker. They attach to the collar and allow you to view their location in real time via an app on your mobile phone. With dog theft a real concern these days, time is of the essence so by using a tracking device, knowing you can swiftly track your dog’s location before they get into danger is priceless.