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

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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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