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7 Ways To Tell if You’re Ready for a Dog

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7 Ways To Tell if You’re Ready for a Dog

They’re cute, cuddly, loyal and smart. Recent studies even show that our canine companions are good for our health. But before you bring a dog into your family, it’s time to do a bit of soul searching to make sure you’re making the right decision—for you and the dog. Too many people impulsively get a pet when they’re not truly ready for a one. And that leads to heartbreak and too many abandoned animals in shelters.

Even if you’re responsible in all aspects of your life, you may not realize just how much time and resources are required to properly care for a dog. Do you have enough time to give them the daily exercise they require? Would you be taking care of the dog alone, or do you have family members to share the responsibility? Before you decide to bring a pooch home, consider these points so you can enjoy your new family member and don’t end up regretting your decision.

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1. Is Your Yard Pet-Ready?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a yard, is it ready for a dog? Is it fenced—and is that fence secure and high enough to thwart escape artists? Dogs are family members so shouldn’t be left outside for long periods of time. But when they are outside, they should have access to a secure environment, fresh water and shelter from the elements. If you’re an apartment dweller, have you made sure that pets are allowed by the landlord? Make sure there is a park or other area nearby where you can take your dog for a walk and socialization.

2. Does a Dog Fit With Your Current Situation?

Many parents get a dog to “teach their kids about responsibility.” That’s not reason alone to get a dog. While older kids can and should help care for pets, the responsibility ultimately lies with adults. Before you get a dog, talk to your family members about what they can manage to do. Who will get up early to take Fido for a walk? Who will make sure pup is fed and always has access to water? Create a family calendar to ensure your new member is given a lot of attention, adequate exercise and the proper amount of food. Failing to create and follow a schedule could cause your pet to be overfed and not get enough exercise.

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3. Where Will Your Dog Sanctuary Be?

Dogs, like humans, need their space. Consider getting a kennel that the dog can use as his “den” and retreat. It’s important to educate your children on why the dog goes to his kennel for naps and why they should never bother him there. Don’t, however, lock your dog in the crate for long periods of time. If you’re home, let the dog out of the crate immediately or they may begin to dislike their safe haven.

4. Who Will Your Dog Hang Out With?

In order to raise a dog that will have a “good head on it’s shoulders” so to speak, it should be socialized with other dogs. Otherwise, it may forget it’s manners around other dogs that pass by. A dog park is an ideal way to get your dog socializing with all types of other dogs. They are social animals by nature and most enjoy playing with other dogs. If you have other neighbors with dogs, suggest that you go walking the dogs together or set up “playdates.” An unsocialized dog isn’t a happy dog and may even become aggressive.

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5. Can You Keep Your Pet Safe?

Even if you have plenty of love to give a dog, you need resources, too. Do you have the money to afford regular checkups, vaccinations and routine procedures (like spaying and neutering)? What if your dog needs major surgery to save it’s life? Veterinary bills can skyrocket quickly Before you get a dog, put some savings away in case of emergency or consider getting pet insurance of some kind. Do your homework first by doing things like checking out pet insurance reviews to find out what company offers the coverage that works best for you.

6. How Much Do You Know About Dogs?

To be ready for a dog, you need to know what dogs need. If you aren’t really sure, you have some research to do, about dogs in general and different breeds. You need to learn the basics, such as how to identify signs of illness, temperament problems, etc. Some breeds have different needs. For example, Border Collies and Labs are high-energy dogs who need lots of room and exercise. If you live in an apartment and work most of the day, these aren’t the dogs for you.

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7. Do You Know What to Buy?

If you walked in a pet shop and were told to buy all the items a new puppy needs, would you know what to get? If you’re ready to get a dog, make sure you have the items you need before bringing him home. That list can be long and include dog crate, bed, collar, leash, food bowls, quality dog food, etc. It’s also a good idea to have dog treats on hand to help with puppy training. Also invest in some chew toys to deter your new friend from chewing up your favorite possessions. And borrow some baby gates so you can keep certain rooms and areas of the house off limits.

None of this is meant to discourage you from getting a dog. Dogs can improve your quality of life, and you can improve theirs. It’s just important to make sure that you know what you’re getting into before bringing a new pet into your life so that you can create a smooth transition, avoid unpleasant surprises, create a strong bond, and enjoy many happy years together. Good luck!

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Loraine Couturier

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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