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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 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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