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Learning to Live With a Dog When YouDon't Want To



dog on couchInevitably, you will find yourself in a place in your life when you’re able to either move in with a significant other or have them move in with you, or perhaps it’s something just as simple as getting a new roommate or having kids or something similar. Chances are, you’ll have the discussion with those living with you about whether to get a pet or not and unless the decision is unanimous, you might end up settling for something you don’t want, for instance a dog. If you happen to be a cat person or just don’t particularly like dogs, there are still ways to make life manageable. Here are a few things you can do to learn to live with a dog, even if you don’t want to.

For me, it was a discussion that came up between my wife and I. I’ve never particularly been into dogs as I was raised in a house with nothing but cats, so I knew that they were typically louder, messier, and required a lot more from me in terms of care, and part of me was scared just thinking about the change. However, a few years later and my wife’s dog has grown on me, plus I’ve learned how to deal with him a lot better. Thankfully, my wife and I were able to come to a consensus as to what breed of dog to look for, and she was able to find one that fit both our needs.

Before the dog has appeared, it’s important to lay out what you’re actually looking for in a dog of course. If you much prefer a breed that’s laid back and relaxed, like a basset hound or a beagle, then definitely put preference there. If you’re eager for something that already has a clear personality, go with something older from a shelter or something similar. Basically, you want to try and find a dog that satisfies everyone’s requirements, and yes, there is always at least one dog nearby you at any given moment that does indeed fit every need.

So upon bringing it home, you’ll find that your life needs to change around the new dog. You’ll need to plan out when to take it for walks, when to feed it, where it sleeps, etc. But during this you also want to lay down clear boundaries and rules. Will it be okay to feed the pooch random treats between meals? Make sure there’s a clear understanding here between you and everyone in the house. The biggest boundary to set is sleeping arrangements. If your dog will be sleeping in a dog house outside, keep consistent and be sure that the house and conditions outside are still comfortable enough for your dog. Setting up a crate inside or a bed of some sort is important, but certainly expect some time to acclimate yourself to the change.

Essentially, you’ll have to deal with a month or so of just getting used to everything new, both for you and the new dog. Your dog will want to fight against certain new aspects of its life, especially if it’s a stubborn breed, but you’ll have to be consistent in your approach. Every dog can be taught through positive reinforcement and consistency. Don’t be strict about someone one day and then just let it go another. If you want the dog to stay off the couch, be firm each and every time without wavering and make sure they get the picture that the couch is off limits.

Dogs, unlike humans, thrive when someone is clearly in charge, so while you can still be sweet to the new pup, making a clear distinction that you’re the boss is vital to a good relationship. Small things like making sure they let you walk through a door before they do or seeing that you’re a disciplinarian are very important. Plus, teaching them some simple, all-important commands such as “sit,” “lay down,” and “crate” will end up going quite a way toward helping to keep order.

Despite what you think as a non-dog owner, bringing a dog into your life won’t ruin everything, specifically if there’s someone else in the house to share the responsibility with. I get on with my dog just fine now because my wife has taken the lead in training him, but he of course still walks all over us and our rules when we give him the chance. Stay smart and learn how to train your new dog, but also remember to offer love. Follow through with consistency and everything should work out great!


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