3 Things to Consider Before Bringing Your New Pet Home

Jessica Brody


Are you thinking about getting a new pet? While owning a pet comes with unconditional love and companionship, it’s important to understand the responsibilities. By doing so, you can properly prepare for what’s ahead and ensure that you and your pet have the best experience possible. Here are three tips to consider before getting your new pet.

Choose with Your Heart and Mind

We’ve all heard the stories of people going to a breeder or rescue shelter and falling in love with a pet (or two). While this kind of experience can be an indicator that you’ve found a pet you will love forever, it’s also good to pick a type and breed of pet that will fit your lifestyle. Otherwise, it can be difficult to provide the care they need on a day-to-day basis and could result in endless frustration. For instance, if you are away from home a lot, getting a dog may not be the best option, as dogs need a good bit of time and attention to really thrive and be happy. Cats, on the other hand, don’t usually need as much time and attention.

It’s also important to think about your home. Is it big enough to house a large breed (Great Dane, English Mastiff), or would a smaller breed (Pug, Pomeranian) make more sense? Do you have a backyard where a highly active pet can release their energy (Australian Shepherd, Weimaraner), or should you go with an animal that requires less exercise, such as a fish or lizard? Furthermore, does anyone in your household have allergies? Check out this article for advice on choosing and owning a pet when you have allergies.

Prepare Your Living Space

Before you bring your pet home, you’ll want to make some preparations. Start by pet-proofing to make sure your pet stays safe. This involves keeping anything that could harm them out of reach, such as human medications, cleaning chemicals, electric cords, toys with small pieces, poisonous plants, and so on. Also, get some new toys for your pet; dogs are less likely to chew up your belongings if they have chew toys, and cats love things like felt mice to play with. And make sure you purchase other necessary supplies (leashes, collars, litter box, cat litter, crate, etc.) before your new family member arrives.

It’s also important that you plan to do more cleaning once you have a pet. Even the cleanest of pets will leave a mess behind them. For starters, designate their living space somewhere with floors that are easy to clean, such as the kitchen or any room with hard floors. Also, buying a new vacuum can make cleaning easier. Some vacuums are better than others for removing pet fur and dander, so do some research to help you choose the right one.

Help Your Pet Adjust

The acclimation process takes time, so be patient. If you’re bringing home a puppy or kitten, expect some crying. For rescue animals, don’t be surprised if they seem on edge for a while. No matter what kind of pet you get, it will take time for them to get used to their new surroundings.

Establishing a daily routine with the family will help your pet settle in. One way to set a routine for your pet — and to help things go smoothly for you — is to distribute responsibilities to each family member (feedings, pottying, walks, playtime). Along with having a solid and reliable routine in place, training your pet, spending time with them, and getting to know their needs and desires can all help you form a priceless bond.

Owning a pet requires responsibility, but the unconditional love and affection will make it all worthwhile. Make sure to prepare by picking a pet that fits your lifestyle, getting your home ready, and helping your pet acclimate. Once preparations are made and you get in a good routine, you and your furry companion can fully enjoy your new adventures together!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Training Your Dog

Training your dog can be a great way to build a strong bond between you and your companion. Knowing how to find the right balance between what your dog needs and what you need will make the experience better for both you and your companion. These guidelines will give you a great foundation to begin training your dog.


Before you jump into teaching your dog what’s expected of him/her, make sure they’re getting plenty of exercise. A dog that gets plenty of exercise will always be happier and easier to train. Restless energy will make it harder for your dog to focus on what you’re trying to teach them, which is a perfect recipe for bad training sessions. A tired dog is a happy dog, and they will be much more relaxed and much less likely to show bad behavior.


Finding a schedule for you and your dog will help streamline the training process. When your dog knows what to expect from the day, he/she can be excited about the right things like walking or feeding time. Structure will keep your dog calmer, and it will teach them not to worry about when it’s time for dinner, because they’ll know it’s your job to worry about things like food, visitors, walks, and playtime. A schedule will also continuously prove that you are the Alpha of the household – a very important dynamic for any dog owner. When establishing yourself as Alpha, it’s vital that you do so with confidence. Your dog will always be able to tell when you’re hesitant or unsure, so confidence and strength are key.


Consistency, with all members of the household, is another huge factor when it comes to training. Whether it’s commands or boundaries that are set for your dog, everyone needs to enforce the same rules and in the same way. If the people in the house are not consistent with training, your dog will be confused and act out or misbehave without even realizing it.

Positive reinforcement:

Always focus on positive reinforcement, rather than corrective training. If you can find the source of a dog’s misbehavior, it will be easier for you and your dog to change or prevent the cause than to explain a mistake through discipline. Keep in mind that your dog is a dog. They will make mistakes and forget their training in moments of excitement. Have patience, and don’t let your frustrations influence the training. The thing to remember with positive reinforcement is to not go too far. Many dogs are treated more like babies than actual dogs. Your companion will not understand their role in the house if they’re being babied. Teaching them how to be independent, even when you’re home together, will also teach your dog how to be confident in themselves instead of having to rely on you for reassurance.

Start right away:

Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, it is never too late to train. Starting training from day one will set the tone for your relationship with your dog. It will reinforce consistency and a schedule right away, and give your dog reassurance as they’ll know what to expect.

At the end of the day, your relationship with your companion will be entirely your own, and showing your dog their role will make for an easy companionship for as long as you’re together.

Teaching Your New Dog to be at Home Alone

Now that you’ve added a dog to your home, it will take some time for both of you to get used to being apart. Having alone time is very important for both owner and dog, especially if you’re training a puppy. It may seem counter-intuitive, but teaching a puppy how to behave by themselves is fundamental in their training and will make both of you much happier.

Typically, we want to make a production out of leaving the house. Giving our dogs kisses and telling them that we’ll be back soon all feels like great reassurance, but can actually do the opposite. By being so excited right before we leave the house, it makes your dog think something exciting is going on, so when we leave them right after so much excitement, they feel left out or abandoned, which can lead to separation anxiety. To prevent your dog from learning that behavior, all you need to do is make sure you leave the house calmly. Don’t make a big fuss about leaving, and make sure you’re leaving the right kind of toys to keep your dog entertained while you’re gone. You can even get them ready to have some alone time by wearing them out before you leave. This takes a little planning ahead, but if your dog is already tired before you go anywhere, they’re less likely to act up while you’re not watching.

Always leaving interactive toys or long-lasting chew treats is a great way to make sure your dog has something to occupy themselves with when you’re not home to play. Interactive toys can vary in style, difficulty, and purpose. Getting a treat puzzle will keep a food motivated or working dog interested in the “game”, and taps into dogs’ instincts to hunt for their food. More laid-back dogs might prefer a nice bone to chew on for a while. Dogs with lots of energy to spare tend to do well with interactive balls or toys that have a place to hide treats. This encourages them to play, and is another great toolRigley for satisfying their hunting and searching instincts. If you want to give your dog a specific place, like a crate, to hang out while they’re alone, using calming scents can really help. Lavender, vanilla, and chamomile are all great smells you can use near your dog’s space to calm them down even more. Air fresheners or oil diffusers can work wonders when used correctly.

The last thing you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re training your dog to stay calm, is staying calm when you come home. For the same reasons that you want to leave your house calmly, greeting your dog only while you’re both calm will encourage good behavior, without any negative reinforcement. To do this, for some dogs, it may work better if you already have treats to get their attention. Take their attention away from their excitement, and get them to sit and stay sitting. Once they’re displaying a calm and submissive behavior, give your dog the treat, and then greet them. The trick is to only give your dog a treat or attention once he or she is calm.

It can be hard to not get swept up in the excitement of getting to see your dog when you come home, but once they understand what is expected of them, coming and going will be a peaceful, easy experience for you and your dog.


Bringing Home A New Dog

HersheyThere are plenty of things to consider before you decide to add to your family: breed, training and exercise, grooming, and over-all cost are just a few. It’s a big decision, which means big changes for you and your new friend, but they don’t have to be scary or difficult if you keep a few things in mind.

Often times we underestimate just how much our lives will change when we bring in a pet, so if you expect your entire life to change before making your decision, the transition will be much smoother for both of you. If you’re bringing home a puppy, it really is like having a human baby. Your sleep will be interrupted by potty breaks every night, you’ll have to clean up messes, make sure they’re not putting things in their mouths that they shouldn’t, and so on. Even older dogs will need time and guidelines set in place, by you, to understand their roles in their new home.

Whether you’re introducing a puppy or an older dog into your life, starting training right away will ensure your status as alpha of the family dynamic, and will help your dog understand their role in the household. Training doesn’t have to be overly strict or set in stone. Little things like enforcing calm submission, using positive reinforcement, and treat training are all things anyone can do.

If you set guidelines up and set rules from day one, then your new pup will know what behavior is expected of him/her right away. We tend to want to coddle or shelter our new friends when we first introduce them into our lives, and that can be counterproductive. Teaching your dog, whether they’re young or old, to be independent from the start is very important. Frequently taking them to new places and using positive reinforcement to teach them that new experiences are a good thing instead of something scary, is an easy way to build confidence and independence. Something not everyone considers, especially with new puppies, is taking them to doggie daycare.

Doggie daycare can be a great way to teach your pup how to behave while they’re on their own, how to meet new people and dogs, and it’s a fantastic socialization tool. When choosing a boarding facility, keep in mind your dog’s breed and personality; not every pup will want to be in a facility where they will have group play time. Group plays can be overwhelming and overstimulating to some dogs, making for a bad daycare experience. Some dogs thrive with group plays, and they can be another excellent tool for teaching your pup how to interact with other dogs and build relationships with other dogs. Not every pup will react the same, so researching different facilities and getting a report at the end of the day will ensure your friend is always having a good time.

The little things you do to make life with your new dog easy and laid back will stay with you both forever, so starting as early as possible will make sure you both have the best life journey together as possible.


Before you bring home a new pet, here are a few things to think about.

Enzo and Stella love to come to Oak Ridge and their owner makes sure they have everything needed for a great stay!
Enzo and Stella love to come to Oak Ridge and their owner makes sure they have everything needed for a great stay!

Working in pet boarding has opened my eyes to a lot of people who purchase pets on a “whim” or for someones birthday only to re-home them  a short time later for remorse.  Below are a few things to think about before you make that decision.

Breed:  This is one of the most important things that you need to research.  All breeds require different care.  Whether it be training, grooming, or medical each breed has specific needs.  If you look beyond the “cute” or “cool” factor and look into all aspects of a breed you will bring a pet home who is a good fit for you.

Training:  Training is the key to a happy pet and happy family.  How much training is needed?  Do I have the time to invest in properly training.  Can I afford for someone to train my pet if I can not?

Costs:  All breeds cost money to own and care for.  Some require a lot more time and money.  Does the pet you like require grooming?  Depending on the breed that can run $60-$200 every six to eight weeks.  What medical needs will your pet have?  Certain breeds are susceptible to various ailments which can be quite expensive on your part.

Time:  Do you have the time to invest in taking care of, training and being with your pet.  Pets need love, training and attention every day.  If you are a busy traveler or take lots of vacations you may want to decide if a pet is the best thing for you or make sure you have a good boarding facility that knows you and your pet so that they will be well taken care of when you are away.

If you take some time and really research the breed you are interested in, you will bring home the perfect companion and will have years of love, loyalty and fun!

Oak Ridge Pet Boarding, Minnetrista, MN

Oak Ridge Kennels is located in the beautiful country setting of Minnetrista and is operated by a caring, trained, and professional staff. Family owned and managed for over 45 years by the Swanson family. Awarded the Laker Pioneer Reader´s Choice Awards for 2011 and 2012.


Specializing in Pet Boarding, Daycare, Pet Grooming for Dogs and Cats, Individual attention, Pet walking, running, Deluxe Raised Soft Resting Bed, Extra services available such as baths, mini baths, nail clipping, teeth brushing.


Visit us online at www.oakridgepetboarding.com

Country setting for your pet. Peace of mind for you.