Not everyone identifies as a "dog person." Some people may go through most of their life without owning a dog. When a family makes the decision to include a new pet into the routine, it can be quite the adjustment for someone who has never owned a dog growing up. Some people perceive dogs as animals that can be "high maintenance," "exhausting," or "overwhelming." In all honesty, dogs are relatively low maintenance creatures, and with proper care and exercise, dogs can provide your family life with endless enrichment and happiness. That being said, there are a number of ways to keep an active dog happy, and in good health.
Having an environment where your dog can roam freely is extremely important. Dogs have a tendency to act out when their energy is stifled, so facilitating the proper space for a dog on the outside of the home is just as important as the setup of the inside. The yard is where most canines get the kind of physical activity they need to be sustained, so here are some things to keep in mind when you are preparing your outdoor area for a dog.
The size of your dog will affect the amount of space they would need in your yard. Larger dogs will naturally require more exercise, and ample space to roam when outside. A smaller dog may need less space, but it is imperative that you scan the area of your yard for any potential dangers to smaller dogs, as they may be more prone to choking or injury on smaller objects. Before you introduce a dog to your yard space, be careful to thoroughly examine the area for any broken glass, rocks, wood, or foreign objects. Keep the grass at a very low to a moderate height, so that any unwelcome visitors (i.e., snakes, ticks, fleas, etc.) are easy to spot and remove before the dog is brought in. If you have children in your home, scan your yard for any toys or play sets that may be damaged if the dog becomes too rough with them. Make sure that you are researching what types of plants can be toxic to your dogs as well, and scan your yard for plants such as azaleas, lilies, and mums. It’s also critical in this stage to think about how your new dog will be entertained in your yard. Coming out and playing games with them is critically important, but you can’t be out there forever. They’ll need things to keep them entertained and happy while you’re inside the house or out of the house.
Working a dog into your family plan may be difficult when you don't have the proper resources. If you find that your yard is not of an adequate size, fencing can be an enormous lifesaver. While wooden fencing can serve as a very basic barrier, chain link fencing is a popular choice for large and small dogs alike. This type of fencing is usually more secure, but remember to check all areas of your fence for vulnerable spots. Laying chicken wire under a fence can prevent a dog from digging under it. Be sure that you also have a sheltered area for your dog, whether this is a tarp of some kind or a dog house. Dogs, like humans, can suffer from sunburn and heatstroke.
Another problem that many new dog owners may encounter is dead patches of grass from urine spots. Remember that even if a dog is going outside, their urine can cause damage to your lawn over time. You can try using a vitamin supplement to adjust your dog's urine, but remembering to hose or water down the areas where your dog chooses to relieve themselves can be just as effective. There are other simple solutions to this problem that involve managing your dog's urine, such as buying a specific pet food or increasing their water intake.
Bringing a dog into your home can definitely feel like an overwhelming experience, but being conscious of your dog's needs is essential to getting them involved as a part of your family. Adding a new member to your family can be an adjustment, but setting up the proper environment is important in fostering success for your new baby!