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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting A Dog

6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting A Dog

A dog is a bundle of joy and unconditional love, as well as a wet nose which is going to be always in your business. The decision to get a dog should be taken after some consideration and serious talk with your room mate(s). I know this because I got a dog when I unexpectedly fell in love with one, so I was completely unprepared for everything that followed.

As someone who never regrets the decision, I do wish I knew some things before I got the dog.

1. Dog-proof your home

You know that moment when your kid starts crawling or walking and your things are never safe again? Well, the same happens with a dog. The moment your new pet sets paw in your house, he is going to spot all the things he should never touch and destroy them. To prevent this from happening, pet-proof your house. Get on your knees and look around. All the fragile items must be lifted on upper shelves and all the potentially dangerous items, such as wires, have to be secured and hidden.

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Second, you need to set things straight with everyone living in the house regarding the limits of the new dog. Where is he allowed, where he isn’t and so on. If not everyone is on the same page with the dog, when it arrives, you might have problems in the future.

2. Be ready to spend money

Regardless if you adopt or buy a dog, be ready to pay more than a fee. A dog is another living creature, so he will need food, toys, neutering, micro chipping, training classes and many more. The vet is going to become a constant in your life, as dogs also get sick and require treatments. Vaccinations and fleas prevention are other monthly costs.

Leashes, collars and other dog equipment are other things which can become a little pricey, even if you will probably need just two of them, in different sizes. If you live in multiple season areas your dog might need coats. Add to these costs the cost of random treats and toys, because who can resist spoiling the little one?!

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3. Learn what a dog can and can’t eat

Dogs can eat some of the foods humans eat, but there are also foods that can easily harm them or even kill them. It’s very important to know the food requirements of your dog before you get him. Even if you won’t be giving him human foods, not all the dog foods are the same.

While most dogs will eat pretty much anything, there are good and bad dog foods on the market, just like we have good food and junk food. You have to learn the nutritional requirements of your dog to be able to choose the best foods for him and to be able to save your pocket: most dogs don’t actually need expensive grain free or gluten-free foods. By the way, the price is not an indication of the quality of the dog food, in many cases.

4. Puppies are little devils in disguise

Puppies are cute… because if they wouldn’t be, you would probably kill them! If you get a puppy you have to be ready for chewing, peeing, pooping and crying for several weeks. Indeed, puppies grow fast, but when you are sleep deprived, your couch is being pooped on, the floor is covered in pee and you are covered in stain remover, that puppy really needs to grow fast and be super-cute.

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5. Dogs are very social

Dogs are social creatures and they need you and other members of the family. Cesar Millan’s stories with the pack leader are totally true! Dogs fall in love with their family members and don’t bear solitude. If you like to travel a lot you need to know you will have to take the dog with you from now on.

When you have a dog you will never be alone again, not even in the bathroom. Or, especially in the bathroom. However, despite the social nature of dogs, you need to train them and socialize them, if you want to have a friendly, well-behaved dog.

6. Your life will never be the same again

Dogs can turn your life upside down and will cause lots of trouble to you. But after you get a dog your life will never be the same again. You won’t be able to give up on the furry creature and it will become a real family member. You will be ready to do anything for him and he will do anything for you. There is no bigger joy than arriving home and finding your hyper-active dog happy to see you again.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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