Have you thought about getting a family dog? It’s a topic that many individuals and family groups consider. After all, getting a family dog can offer tons of benefits. And everyone knows that furry friends can have tremendous personalities.
If you’ve been weighing whether or not getting a family dog is right for you, just read on for some advice on why you should take the consideration seriously. If you do decide to get a pooch after checking out the following benefits, find a few breed quizzes to determine which type of dog would be ideal for your lifestyle and needs.
Reason One for Getting a Family Dog: Dogs Provide Instant Companionship
It’s not unusual for people who live alone to adopt a dog. After all, dogs offer the opportunity to care for another creature. They also make a home or apartment feel less lonely, especially after you’ve been widowed or through a messy divorce.
What kind of companionship can you expect from your new best buddy with the wagging tail? First of all, you’ll have to feed your pet at least twice a day. You’ll also need to keep your dog well-groomed. Additionally, you can expect to take your furry friend outside routinely.
In between all these caretaker assignments, your pooch may want snuggles, cuddles, and play time. Be sure that you’re ready and able to commit to focus part of every day on your dog. You wouldn’t be fair to a dog if all you did was come home from work, sit in front of the television, and binge-watch television shows for hours. A pet deserves your attention and love. In return, you’ll get your dog’s undivided attention and adoration.
Reason Two for Getting a Family Dog: You’ll Have Increased Opportunities for Socialization
Dog owners like getting together with other dog owners and their pets. As you start to take your dog on walks throughout the neighborhood, you can bet that you’ll begin to get to know other families and their dogs. In no time, you’ll find yourself sharing stories and feeling like part of a doggy community in your area.
To extend this socialization further, as well as expand your network of dog-loving friends, consider finding a nearby dog park. Many regular parks also have dog parks attached to them. The dog parks will be fenced-in places where dogs can run free under their owners’ watchful eyes. You may need to be careful: Some dog parks restrict very large dogs or those from breeds known to become aggressive. Alternatively, the dog park may be sectioned off so same-size dogs can romp and play with each other.
What will you do with all your new-found friends and companions? Why not have a picnic a couple of times of year, especially if your home has the space. Set up some fire pits, grill some great food, play music, chitchat, and relax. Oh, and be sure to have some nibbles and toys available for all the dogs who will be invited to your party with their owners.
Reason Three for Getting a Family Dog: Having a Dog Reduces Anxiety and Depression
You may not have realized it, but getting a family dog can help you and the other members of your household handle stressors more confidently. Dogs have a calming effect, which comes from the boost of dopamine and energizing serotonin that you’ll get from playing with your buddy.
To be sure, you may feel like you’re on top of your mental health. However, can you say the same thing about everyone else in the family? For example, how are your kids doing in private kindergarten, public middle school, or an online high school? Are they exhibiting signs of depression and anxiety, such as getting a lot of colds, asking to stay home from school, sleeping too much or too little, or crying frequently? Adopting a pooch could be exactly what they need to feel less isolated and blue.
This isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t get professional assistance for you or those you love if depression seems to be on the horizon. A dog can be part of a solution, though. After receiving a diagnosis from a mental health expert, go to an animal shelter and look around for a friend. You might be surprised at how even just looking at dogs makes you, your spouse, or your kids feel more upbeat and encouraged.
Reason Four for Getting a Family Dog: Adopting a Pet Is a Known Mood Booster
We’ve all seen the way dogs can get goofy. One minute they’re sitting very quietly and acting like they’re practically royalty. The next moment, they’re chasing their tails or barking at air. When you have a dog at home, you’ll be surprised at how many times you laugh throughout the day, or at least smile widely.
As you might guess, all this happiness will inevitably spill over into your mood. Let’s say you have an extremely rough day at work. Everyone seemed to be having a bad day. And you spent your commute coming home in a foul mood. But as soon as you walked in the door, you saw a slobbering pup dancing around and waiting to be petted.
How do you think you’d feel? Unless you’re Scrooge, you probably couldn’t help but feel a surge of positivity and compassion. You might even want to spend some time walking with your dog and then playing outside, just to get fresh air and leave the bad workday behind. By the end of your session together, you could be ready to see your experiences from a different, healthier perspective.
To help you stay in your mood, especially when you’re away from home, remember to take plenty of pictures of your dog on your phone. That way, you can look at them when you’re feeling a little down or upset. You may even want to wear dog socks to work, secretly. You can sneak peeks at the silly socks every once in a while, chuckling as they remind you of your favorite pooch.
Reason Five for Getting a Family Dog: Your Children Will Learn Responsibility
Many kids grow up without a care in the world. While that’s fine to a certain extent, even very young children can benefit from having a sense of responsibility. And getting a family dog can be a good source of first-time responsibility.
Don’t think that you can just hand over all your doggy duties to an eight-year-old or even a teenager, however. You’ll want to parcel out responsibilities carefully and thoughtfully. In fact, before you ever adopt your dog, be sure to talk about who will take on which tasks, including arranging for vet services, not to mention keeping the dog’s water dish clean and filled.
In addition to creating a “chore list” related to doggy details and jobs, make certain that your kids understand how to perform a role. For instance, you could tell your preteen daughter that she’s going to be in charge of the dog’s dental care. Yet if she isn’t sure what to do, she’ll probably let the responsibility lapse. The dog won’t get the dental care it deserves, and your daughter won’t learn responsibility. Consequently, be sure that everyone knows how to perform a task related to doggy care.
As part of this focus on being a responsible pet-centric family, consider signing your dog up for obedience classes. Bring your kids along and make them take charge of the dog in some of the sessions. The more they learn about how to work with their dog, the better they’ll feel about taking care of pets correctly. Plus, their self-esteem will soar as they become excellent at keeping a dog safe and secure.
Reason Six for Getting a Family Dog: It Establishes a Routine in the Home
If there’s one thing dogs and kids have in common, it’s the need for routines. Having a dog will definitely get everyone in your home on board with getting up at the same time in the morning and just being more consistent overall. A dog can’t quite handle living in a house where the humans don’t feed their pets at the same time. In fact, a disordered house can cause a pet to become anxious and fretful, which can then lead to bad habits.
Of course, having a dog that’s committed to a routine has a downside that you do have to keep in mind. What is it? Well, when your routine is mixed up, the dog can get confused and stressed out. Even something as little as having a technician or contractor come to your house to check out a chimney leak can lead to unpredictable behaviors in the family dog.
With this in mind, be cautious when you know your routine will be switched up. Case in point: If you’re going to have visitors to the house, buy your pet some extra treats. Make things as normal otherwise as possible. And if your dog doesn’t like loud noises, set the dog up in a comfortable, climate-controlled area of your house that will be away from laughing, talking, and debating guests.
This may sound like a lot of work, or like it’s complicated. It’s not. Besides, you’ll probably find that you begin to rely on your newly established routine, too. Your body will get so accustomed to going outside for walks at a designated time each morning that when you have to wait an hour or so, your inner clock will sound the alarm that it’s time to start moving!
Reason Seven for Getting a Family Dog: You’ll Get Far More Exercise
Fitness may be the farthest thing on your mind when you first start considering getting a family dog. Nevertheless, you’ll soon discover that adopting a pet and becoming a pet family can rev up your overall physical health.
As mentioned previously, dogs need to be walked, no matter what size they are. Sure, you can hire a fence installation specialist to create a secure area in your side or backyard. But you shouldn’t just let your dog run around in circles. Rather, you’ll want to take your pooch on plenty of jaunts down the street or around the block.
At the same time, you’ll be getting out in the open, too. Your muscles will move, your heart will beat a little faster, and you’ll get some beneficial sunlight. (Just wear your sunscreen to avoid any skin damage and lower your risk for being diagnosed later with early-stage skin cancer.) Many pet owners end up losing a few pounds or feeling like their bodies are in better shape after a few months of adopting a four-legged friend.
Getting Ready for Your New Pup
Are you excited and eager to bring a pooch into your world? Before you look online for adoptable pets at animal shelters and foster rescues, you’ll want to make sure your home is pet-ready.
First, be certain that any floor damage is repaired. You don’t want a dog or puppy to hurt its paw on a sharp, broken bathroom tile, for example. Call in a residential flooring professional to help you figure out if you need to replace all damaged floors, or to determine if you can just make repairs.
Next, dog-proof your living spaces. This will mean putting away anything breakable that a wagging tail could knock off a table or even kitchen countertop, depending upon how tall the dog is. You can always put your treasures and keepsakes back later, after your dog has a sense of the house and its space in it. But it’s best to store everything up high or in a closet so your dog doesn’t end up making too many messes.
Speaking of messes, invest in a thorough carpet cleaning before your dog comes. See if the carpet cleaner can add stain and odor protection to the carpeting. Buy a bottle of organic pet stain remover, too. Hopefully you won’t need it, but new dogs can sometimes get a little scared and end up going to the bathroom inside a home during their first weeks of adjustment.
Finally, if you’re going to have your dog run around the fenced-in backyard, be sure it’s safe. Dead trees that might be a hazard deserve attention from local tree removal services. And your beloved garden? You’ll want to add fencing around it unless you’re content with your dog “aerating” it on your behalf.
Getting a family dog is a long-term commitment. Make sure you’re ready so you look back on the experience as one of the best decisions you and your loved ones made.