Your kids have begged and pleaded with you, and finally, you've decided to give in. You’re getting a new dog.
If it’s your family’s first dog or only current dog, it can be a big undertaking particularly if you’re a mom with kids. You have to ensure that you’re prepared for the dog, your home is ready, and also that your kids are up for the challenge.
It’s one thing for kids to beg for a puppy and it’s quite another for them actually to have one. Depending on the age of your kids, you may be most concerned about ensuring they learn to treat the dog gently, or if your kids are older your priority may be making sure your kids are taking on some of the responsibilities of caring for the dog.
The following are some things moms can keep in mind as they’re getting themselves and everyone else ready for the arrival of a new family member.
Will Your Dog Be Left Alone During the Day?
An important and often overlooked element of bringing a new dog to the family relates to what will happen during the day when you may be out of the house or working, and your kids are likely to be at school.
Dogs including new puppies as well as dogs that have been adopted can respond differently to being home alone. Some dogs may seem to enjoy it, while others may experience issues like separation anxiety.
One option that can work well is hiring an on-demand dog walker. According to Wag! Walking, which is a dog-walking service, the benefits of hiring someone to do this include the fact that it’s convenient and you can also get an activity report after every walk.
If you hire a dog walker, it provides stimulation that’s so important for your new dog, and there are also opportunities for socialization if your walker visits a dog park or other places where dogs are present.
If you’re not going to go with a dog walking service, you might think about a doggie daycare. It’s important for dogs to feel like they are around other animals or people during the day. Otherwise, you may come home and find some not-so-great surprises waiting for you.
Is There a Specific Place Your Dog Can Initially Spend Time?
When you first bring a new dog into your home, you’re going to be going through the housetraining process, and there are going to inevitably be some accidents along the way. It’s a good idea to have a designated part of your home where your new pet can spend time that it’s not going to be a huge nightmare to clean if there is an accident.
Good places can include the kitchen or the laundry room. You can use baby gates to keep your new pup contained while you work on housetraining. Just like you at one point baby-proofed your home, you’ll need to do something similar before you bring a dog home. Think about electrical cords, chemicals and household items, and breakables. Of course, if you still have young kids, these things might be taken care of.
The goal when you bring a new dog home during the initial weeks should be keeping them in your sight as much as possible. Over time this won’t be the case, but at first, it’s best.
If you’re going to be crate training, you should have everything set up and ready to go before you bring your dog home.
Help Your Kids Prepare
You want to make sure your kids are prepared for the new arrival, and a lot of this is about teaching them how to treat a dog. You also want your kids to understand that a dog is going to be uncomfortable coming into a new environment, so it’s important to teach them to be quiet and calm around the dog, at least initially.
If you’re adopting a dog from a shelter, prepare your kids the best you can for the fact that the dog may be timid or may react strangely to certain things depending on their history.
Finally, make sure you set all rules for the dog up front, possibly before you even bring it home. You want to let your kids know where the dog can and can’t go, and you want to stick with a plan. Of course, things don’t always go according to plan which you likely well know if you’re a mom, but dogs tend to do better in consistent environments, much like your little ones.