Did you know that around 78 million dogs are kept as pets in the United States? Getting a dog is exciting, but also overwhelming. Adjusting to owning a dog, as well as helping your dog adjust to your family, can be time-consuming and even a little frustrating.
It’s no wonder that a lot of people are taking advantage of the current quarantine and dedicating their extra time to adopting a dog. But at the same time, you need to really consider how to prepare your house for a dog. Usually, the process of bringing a dog into your family will either involve applying to adopt a rescue dog or putting down a deposit for a dog from a breeder.
This will give you some time to prepare, but not too much. You need to be sure, before starting preparations, that a dog is what you really want. You’ll be committing to a dog for the rest of its life, and therefore the preparations that you make are really permanent changes.
If you aren’t ready for those types of permanent changes, then you aren’t ready for a dog; and you certainly aren’t ready to consider how to prepare your house for a dog. But if you are ready, then there are steps you can take to ensure that you’re ready to welcome a dog into your home.
When looking into how to prepare your house for a dog, you should think first about the kind of home you have and the kind of dog you want. If you live in an apartment, for example, you probably shouldn’t adopt a sporting dog that requires a lot of exercise. And if you live on a farm, you might not want to adopt a tiny, fragile dog that could be easily injured if you get underfoot.
When seeking out how to prepare your house for a dog, you’ll probably recognize that many of the changes you could make are dependent on the type of dog you want. But overall, there are some alterations that are relevant no matter what type of dog you end up adopting. Let’s look into some of the different changes you’ll need to make before bringing a dog into your home, and some of those that you’ll want to make.
1. Preparing Your Outdoor Spaces
When looking into how to prepare your house for a dog, you may or may not have to deal with outdoor spaces. If you live in an apartment or townhouse or you’re moving to one, you won’t have the same types of outdoor spaces as someone in a family home, or a person who lives in a more rural area. If you have an especially small yard that is already fenced in, you may not have to worry about it still.
But for a lot of people, preparing their outdoor spaces for a dog is key to preparing their homes in general. Investing in fencing is an important part of readying your hard for a dog. This way, you’ll not only be able to walk your dog more easily, but also potentially let them loose in the yard once they’re comfortable. Still, it’s not enough to ensure that your dog doesn’t go running loose in the neighborhood. You’ll want to look into removing hazards from your yard, for one thing.
Of course, everyone should supervise young dogs when letting them out in the yard; but even older dogs can potentially become injured or sick if the area isn’t properly readied. Weathered trees should be carefully examining, as low hanging, dead branches may end up falling on your dog. That’s one reason why tree trimming should be prioritized. Now that you have a dog, however, you should consider the fact that your landscape will be changed by the presence of your dog, and you’ll have to take measures in response to that.
For example, if your yard sustains storm damage, you’ll want to make sure that this damage is cleared as carefully as possible. The last thing you’ll want is your dog slipping and sliding in the mud, or hurting themselves when stumbling upon unexpected debris.
Of course, your dog will probably have some kind of effect on your landscaping as well. Even the best dogs have some habits that might be considered, by human standards, destructive. This means you’ll have to enhance your lawn care habits once you welcome a dog into your home.
For one thing, you’ll probably have to clean up after your dog, as it will probably use your lawn as its personal toilet. For another, however, you’ll need to realize that dogs tend to dig, and with that comes some damage to your grass and surrounding plants. Of course, it’s not too difficult to replenish any particularly damaged portions of your lawn; some expertly applied hydro grass seeds should do the trick. But nonetheless, these are things that you should consider figuring into your future budget as a dog owner.
2. Dog-Proofing Your Home
Remember: no matter how old your dog gets, it will always be something like a human baby. Dogs don’t know how to read safety labels, and they tend to be a bit curious about things they shouldn’t be. Furthermore, dogs like to investigate things with their mouths, as they lack hands. This can be a recipe for disaster, as they may easily end up eating things they shouldn’t.
Even dogs that don’t end up hurting themselves could potentially damage important appliances and products around the house. With that being said, there are lots of different steps you can take to make your house safer for a dog. In fact, when you explore how to prepare your house for a dog in general, “dog-proofing it” is probably going to be one of the most important steps recommended.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways that you can do this. If you’re adopting a puppy or younger dog, you’ll want to be a little bit more aggressive in the beginning. This will probably involve blocking off certain parts of the house with baby gates, which can gradually be removed as your dog is trained or simply becomes more capable of safely exploring the house. But as always, different dogs will have different needs.
Bigger dogs, for example, will likely be able to get into cabinets and perhaps even open doors in the future. That might seem a little hard to believe if you’ve never owned a dog before. However, many dog breeds are actually bred to help human beings, and therefore are more than capable of pulling doors open. These types of dogs will likely need stronger barriers, and a different approach to dog-proofing the house.
You should also consider looking different, subtler ways of dog-proofing your home. When seeking out how to prepare your house for a dog in a more discreet way, you could look into alternate methods. A lot of companies have experimented in more recent years with sprays that produce scents undetectable to humans, which essentially act as barriers for dogs.
By spraying down your furniture with these “messages”, you’ll communicate to your dog that they shouldn’t go there. Of course, how much you believe in the efficacy of these tools really depends on who you listen to; but many dog trainers swear by them. Remember that dogs “read” a lot of things through their noses. One way of exploring how to prepare your house for a dog is to think of a way that you can make it easier for your dog to understand the rules of the house.
3. Creating Entertainment For Your Dog
A bored dog is a destructive dog. Even the most well-behaved canines are more likely to act out if they aren’t properly entertained, and no matter how much time you spend with your pup, you probably won’t be able to keep it as entertained as you would like to on your own. After all, you probably have a job; and even if you have more time to spend with your dog during the pandemic, you’ll eventually have to return to that job.
Therefore, it’s important to take steps to ensure that your dog is entertained when you’re away from home. Fortunately, there are many dog playsets on the market, some of which are made for the outdoors, and some of which are meant to be kept inside the house. These playsets could be used to ensure that your dog is kept mentally and physically occupied, and can often be incorporated into training techniques.
Now, if you want to continue that kind of entertainment and conditioning when you’re home, you might want to incorporate agility sets into your outdoor spaces. Some dog owners go as far as to figure this into their hardscaping plans. You never know; your pet could very well end up joining you while you practice training for sports.
Of course, there are other measures that you can take to keep your dog properly entertained, whether you’re in or away from home. A lot of dog owners install doors that can be locked down when you’re away from home but will allow them the freedom to go in and out of the house while you’re at home. You can train your dog to use this door so that they don’t feel like they need to take some of their more destructive habits out on your floors or your furniture.
Another measure you can look into when seeking out information on how to prepare your house for a dog is perhaps investing in some of the more high-tech features that will allow you to “be” with your dog while you’re at work. Some gadgets not only allow you to watch your dog through a nanny cam, but talk to them and even feed them treats. You don’t have to feel like a bad dog owner if you go to work full time. Plenty of people do it! You’ll just want to make sure that your dog is occupied, just like a human child.
4. Prepare Everyone Else!
When you explore how to prepare your house for a dog, a lot of the advice you’ll see isn’t just about preparing your house, but preparing those that live within it. A lot of children aren’t quite ready to live with a dog, and this should affect not only the type of dog you choose to adopt, but when you adopt your dog in the first place.
You should only adopt your dog when your kids are ready to interact with that dog in a safe and gentle manner. This might involve some reprimands in the beginning. But the key to most safe interactions between a child and a dog is taking it slow and steady. The majority of dogs, if raised around children from a young age, will ultimately be great companions for your kids. However, you need to make sure to proceed with caution.
Even if you don’t have kids, any living things in your home could potentially be a little jarred by a new dog. This maybe goes double for cats, which of course are not naturally overly fond of dogs. Nonetheless, as long as you make sure that your other pets have their own spaces that they can retreat to safety, they’ll probably be able to coexist with your dog in a happy and healthy way.
There are a lot of measures that people can take to prepare for a dog. However, when asking yourself about how to prepare your house for a dog, you should be most concerned about how to prepare yourself for a dog. A dog may not seem like it’s going to bring a lot of big changes in theory.
But you’re adding a new member to your family, and you need to take it seriously. Therefore, when you try to figure out the most important thing about how to prepare your house for a dog, you should ultimately come to the conclusion that the key factor is creating a forever home. Your dog deserves to feel just as comfortable there as you do.