Animal lovers can celebrate because there are many reasons to choose to adopt a pet. If you grew up with a furry friend, you probably want the same type of interaction and unconditional love you experienced for your children. Or you may live alone and feel the companionship would be right for you. No matter what your reason for finding a new four-legged friend, the first few months can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. Here are some things you must do when you get a new dog.

1. Visit the Vet

The shop, clinic, or shelter you find your dog at may claim the animal is healthy, up to date on shots, and has no health problems – and that may be true. However, it is always good to take your new furry friend to meet the vet of your choice. While there, ask about good food brands, how much exercise your new dog needs, and when new vaccinations are due. You should also ask about emergency care, after-hours questions, and boarding practices while visiting the vet as well.

2. Begin Social Training

It may come as a surprise, but dogs are known as pack animals and follow the laws of their leader. As soon as you get your puppy or older dog home, you must demonstrate that you are the boss. If you have questions on how to create a chain of command in your home, talk to a pet store about what classes they offer. Do not forget to purchase BarxBuddy to use as part of the training process. You and your dog will be happier knowing you are in charge.

3. Prepare Your Home

Puppies love to chew on everything available, from table legs to tennis shoes to golf balls. As their teeth fall about and new ones grow in, the act of chewing is soothing on the gums. While you are away, your puppy, and some older dogs, will find something to chew on because it is their natural inclination. Protect your home with pet security gates that limit the roving area of your furry friend and give yourself peace of mind.

4. Purchase Adequate Supplies

You will need bowls, a bed, gates, and a secure leash for your pet. Do not purchase a 50-pound bag of food before making sure your furry friend can tolerate the formula. Most dogs do well with grain-free and meat-heavy dog food, but corn, wheat, and chemical should be avoided. Ask your favorite pet store which training treats they recommend and do not forget a couple of toys you and your four-legged friend can use to play together.

5. Secure Your Yard

Your pet will love to romp in the yard, so make sure the area is secure. If you have a fence, and your dog is a digger, you may need to use a fence support to keep your furry friend from tunneling under. If your pet is a jumper, make sure the fence is high enough to prevent escape, and do not forget to look for small holes that your new friend can wiggle through to run away.

6. Provide a Safe Space

Many dogs love small spaces. From being covered by blankets to snuggling tight against your legs when you sit, there is a comfort from being enclosed for some pets. Check out a dog crate if your new friend enjoys the security and calming effects of a safe space like a kennel.

Dogs are friends that offer unconditional love to their owners. Whether you want a pet for your children or for yourself, adopting a furry pooch can create a friendship that lasts many years.