By Haley Jensen, owner Puppy Steps Training

Haley Jensen, Owner Puppy Steps TrainingResearch supports the idea that owning a dog can improve health, self-esteem, physical activity and contentment. Want to help your family enjoy these benefits? Here are three tips to help your family transition into dog ownership:

Make sure your family is ready for a dog.
Even with the benefits of ownership, dogs are not for everyone, nor for every season of life. Important factors to consider include potential allergies or health risks for family members, the amount of time adult family members have to dedicate to care and training, physical ability to provide for the dog’s exercise needs, finances and long-term commitment.

Make sure your home is ready for a dog.
Your home and neighborhood will play a major role in the decision to get a dog. Different types of dogs can live successfully in different sized homes and yards. Research breed recommendations and consider your personal situation. Long-term home stability is important. If the likelihood of major life changes or moves in the next five years is high, now may not be the right time for a dog. Also, dogs need to be well contained, so if you plan to trust your dog alone in a fenced yard, sturdy fencing must be adequate for the size and breed.

Make sure you choose the right dog.
Choosing the right breed and personality for you and your family is critical. Be sure to study breed history and characteristics carefully, and never choose a dog based solely on looks. Seek advice from experienced breeders or owners, and acquire as much history as possible. Consider whether you want to rescue an adult dog or start with a puppy; both options have important pros and cons to consider.

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