Chose a Pet that Fits Your Lifestyle
You want to find a pet that fits as seamlessly as possible into your life. This will help both you and your new furry friend adjust to each other. Take a look at your family. Do you have small children? Does anyone have allergies? Are you looking for a jogging partner, or can you only handle a few walks a day?
These answers affect the size, age and breed of the pet you bring home. Do your research. For example, a golden retriever makes a great jogging partner, but a poor apartment dog. If you want something low maintenance, Angie’s List suggests small critters, like “fish, lizards, turtles, cats and small rodents, such as guinea pigs, hamsters and mice.”
Do Not Forget Their Needs
Every pet and breed comes with its own set of needs that you need to be ready to handle. If you are planning on getting a dog, will you be able to walk it the appropriate amount of times? You may need to consider hiring a dog walker if you work long hours. A puppy may look cute, but are you prepared for the extra work of training them? Older dogs still require training, but are often less work and require fewer shots and vet visits. Do not forget to take grooming into account too. A long-haired cat or dog will need to be brushed frequently.
As you can imagine, the needier the pet, the more they will cost. Forbes estimates that Americans spend a collective total of $62.75 billion on their pets each year. Considering that the first year alone can cost anywhere between $511 and $6,600 between training classes, toys, food and trips to the vet, it is no surprise the costs can add up fast. Make sure you choose a pet that fits your budget.
Readying the Home
You’ve done your research and you’ve found the perfect pet for you -- hurray! But not so fast. You need to pet-proof your home first. Petfinder recommends taping up all loose electrical cords to the baseboard, storing chemicals away, securing rugs and breakables and installing baby gates to restrict their movement around the house until they are trained and acclimated.
Be Patient With Them
New environments can be stressful for animals. It may take a couple of weeks for them to get comfortable and let their true personality out. Let them explore the space on their own at first with you trailing behind them to supervise. Since you cannot watch them all the time, set up a safe area for them to be in when you are not around.
Pets greatly benefit from having a schedule. Stick to a strict walking and feeding routine, especially during the first few days. This will teach them what they can expect from you. Remember that training starts the minute you get them. Keep your rules consistent and encourage behaviors you like with plenty of treats.
Play Time & Cuddles
Have fun while bonding with your pet, and do not take it personally if they need their own space to decompress. Some animals will be ready to play right away while others will need to be coaxed. Start with simple games like fetch or chase. If they’re skittish, try getting down on the floor and rubbing their belly, or invite them to cuddle with you on the couch. Letting them know they can be relaxed around you will help them warm up. They’ll be a member of the family in no time.
Few things are as exciting as allowing a pet into your life, but there is a lot that goes into taking care of one. Before you bring anyone home, make sure you can handle the responsibility. Doing your homework ahead of time will guarantee that you and your new friend will be a perfect match.
Guest Author: Aurora James
Aurora believes there are no bad dogs. She created DogEtiquette.info to share her dog training tips and advice to dog owners everywhere.