How a Dog Can Breathe New Life Into Your Family Routine

How a Dog Can Breathe New Life Into Your Family Routine

From sleep to happiness and health, find out why a dog is more than just a furry friend!


By: Andrea Updyke

Making the decision to add a pet to your family is a big one — it needs to be fed, sheltered, trained, walked and loved. But for every bit of hard work you put forth, your new canine family member will repay you with love, adoration and loyalty.

You will need to make room in your schedule for time to spend outdoors allowing the dog to exercise and do its business. If you choose to adopt a puppy, training will be essential each day in his or her early years. Consistency is key here.

The upside to these responsibilities is a caring family companion who will hopefully be with your family for a decade or more. Your children will carry precious memories of their new best friend for the rest of their lives and will learn how to care for another living being in the process.

When you adopt a dog, it should be a family affair, avoiding unneeded stress on any one family member. If each person has a duty, like filling the food and water or taking a morning walk, your new dog will truly be a member of the whole family and not simply one person’s responsibility.

Likewise, rotate your duties among family members so no one person is stuck with clean-up duty all of the time. Making sure everyone has a chance to do the fun stuff will keep your dog happy and allow each family member to enjoy his or her individual bond.

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Take some time as a family to decide the house rules: Where the dog will sleep and what your method(s) of discipline will be. Consistency in discipline is not only important for the dog, but for the whole family. It is important to act in unison when it comes to integrating a new furry friend into the household to avoid confusing everyone — including the dog — in the house.

Finally, if possible, add a family walk into your daily or weekly routine. Not only is a walk necessary for a dog, but getting the whole family together for a quick stroll around the block or to the park will provide valuable conversation time that is free of technology and mobile devices. The possibilities for this one daily task are endless — from boosting your family’s heath to improving communication.

When it comes to selecting a dog, however, be sure to be aware of the individual exercise needs of certain breeds. Some dogs, like border collies, have virtually infinite energy and can run around for what seems like forever. If you can’t properly exercise certain breeds of dog, you may want to think of choosing another.

But if you do decide on a high-energy breed, long daily walks and playtime can help you, too, get exercise while having fun.

Adding a pet to your family should be a decision that is made with much thought, consideration and planning. When well planned, the benefits of adding a furry companion to your life can make all of the hard work worthwhile and breathe new life into your family routine.



Andrea is the founder of Lil Kid Things and also writes for the Babycenter Blog. She lives in Raleigh, N.C., where she spends her days caring for her two sons, Oscar and Calvin, and learning how to balance work, kids and marriage.

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