Being a new dog owner

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2018

Just a few weeks ago I adopted my first dog. All my life I’ve had cats. Cats are great because they’re so independent and easy to take of, so when I adopted a dog, I wasn’t prepared for the work that was involved.

Once I decided to adopt, I started checking the SPCA’s website every day to see what kinds of dogs and puppies they had for adoption. Finally, I found the dog of my dreams – a gorgeous husky mix who is incredibly sweet. I adopted her the day she went up for adoption and brought her home as soon as they told me she was good to go.

For the first few days, she just laid around on the couch, recovering from her surgery.

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My first thought was, “this is great! This dog is so laid back and relaxed.” Then it happened. I woke up one morning and the stuffing from one of my pillows was strewn across the floor.

Then I found an unpleasant, smelly surprise on the carpet behind my living room couch. In spite of these recent occurrences, I wouldn’t give her up for the world, but I definitely could have been more prepared for the responsibilities of dog ownership.

The Humane Society’s website provides several suggestions  to introduce a new dog into the home with the least amount of stress on both the human and the pet.

First, the website suggests purchasing everything the dog will need in advance, including food, water, treats, toys, a collar and a leash. Next, decide house rules so everyone in the house understands the basics of where the dog can and cannot go, who will take it for walks and who will feed it.

Learn how to discipline the dog without getting angry, and most importantly, be patient.

Dogs need a lot of time to adjust to a new home, but after a while, they might become the best companion around.