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5 Tips for Settling a New Dog into Your Home

5 Tips for Settling a New Dog into Your Home

Congratulations on your new dog! As a serious dog owner, you have probably prepared in advance and purchased food, some toys, a sleeping place, and looked into a good veterinarian.

But while a dog may become your best friend, you cannot forget that a dog is a dog, and not a human. This means that your dog does not think like a human, and you cannot expect the things from a dog moving in that you would for a human. The adjustment period when the dog comes home is a challenge, as any owner who has watched their dog run amok the minute they got inside for can attest. Here are a few smart tips can make the adjustment period much easier.

1. Take Charge

At the end of the day, you are that dog’s master. This means that when you take it home for the first time, you have to make it clear that this is your home and not the dog’s.

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So while it is tempting to just hug your new pet and give it treats and play with it, you have to be firm at the start. When you take it home, enter the house first. Have the dog accompany you while you enter every room first. Do not let it wander around and do not hesitate to be stern (not angry) if it starts trying to sniff or move away from you.

With pets and children, it is better to be stern first and ease up later than the other way around. Show your dog that you are in charge, and that will go a long ways towards ensuring good behavior in the long run.

2. Give it Space

One mantra you will hear from dog experts is “three days, three weeks, and three months.” This mantra refers to the amount of time it takes a dog to get acclimated to its new home. It takes three days for a dog to get over the shock of moving, three weeks to get settled into a routine, and three months to feel “home.”

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This mantra matters because you cannot expect a dog to feel right at home when it moves in. Your dog may spend the next three days just sleeping, and he will make mistakes as he will not be sure of his boundaries. Correct him the instant he makes a mistake, but understand that your dog views his new spot as a foreign spot and that he will mess up. Patience is necessary.

3. Be careful with dog food

If you picked up your dog from a shelter, check to see what kind of food they have been feeding it. If your dog is eating one kind of food at the shelter and then immediately switches to another kind at your home, the result can be digestive problems and diarrhea.

This does not mean you are stuck feeding your dog the shelter food. As pet nutrition company Hill’s observes, you should switch over a period lasting from five to seven days. Mix the old and new food together. Each day, decrease the portion of the old food and increase the portion of the new food.

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And do not try to save money by skimping on dog food costs. The additional expense of higher quality food in the short will be made up by your dog’s superior nutritional health. This means fewer visits to the vet.

4. Don’t forget to dog proof

Before the dog enters your home, you need to proof the home and prevent him from getting into and destroying your valuables. The American Humane Society has a fantastic list of actions you should take in advance. Note that proofing is a constant process that does not end when the dog is brought in the home for the first time. When you make changes to your home, consider how it can impact your dog’s safety.

But while you may have tried to proof your home, the odds are that you have missed something that your dog could get into or destroy, including its own bed. You can easily find indestructible dog beds, but even then, you need to monitor your dog for the first few days or weeks to make it clear where he is allowed and what he can do. As noted above, be stern at the start.

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5. Be careful with dogs and children

If you have children, their excitement towards having a new dog will far exceed your own. But young children often lack the self-awareness and discipline needed to treat a dog properly, which can end tragically if you do not supervise both of them.

One of the biggest tips when watching children and dogs interact is to ask yourself how you would feel if that dog was a human. You would not let your child poke through someone else’s food or stare in their face, so do not let them do that to your dog.

You should also construct a safe space where a dog can go away and be alone. Make sure your children understand that when a dog goes to that spot, it is not to be disturbed.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Aiko via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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