Sometimes, instead of you choosing a dog, the dog chooses you, and there may not be time to plan ahead for the new arrival. If you do know in advance that you are getting a dog, a little advance planning will help get your life with your new pet off to a smooth start.
Stainless steel water and food bowls are expensive but long lasting and easy to keep clean. Plastic bowls quickly become pitted and scored, and need frequent replacement. Choose bowls that are the right size for your adult dog. A rubberized place mat under the bowls will protect the floor and help keep bowls from sliding around.
Make sure you have a supply of your new dog’s food before you bring him home. The previous owner may help you to make a choice, or you may be on your own. San Jose veterinarians, or the staff at a good quality pet supply store, can help. Get the best quality food you can afford. Any money you save on low quality food will probably be spent in the vet’s office treating skin problems and digestive upsets.
Collar and Leash
Buy a good quality flat buckle collar and a six foot leather or fabric leash. Avoid special training collars to start, unless recommended by a dog training professional. Avoid chain leashes, which are very painful to your hands, and easily broken by powerful dogs. Also avoid collars with a plastic side-release buckle as it is very easy to accidentally release your dog when you grab the collar in an emergency. Collars should fit snugly, with space for you to insert two or three fingers under the collar. Check the collar frequently to make sure it still fits correctly, especially in puppies.
A Comfortable Bed
Choose a place for your dog to sleep and put his bed there. A safe place to confine him when needed, such as a crate with a soft pad or blanket, is a good idea, at least in the beginning. Even a housebroken dog may have accidents in a new environment. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of crate training, there are many resources available on the Web and elsewhere on this topic.
Dogs, like babies, have special needs. The more time you spend planning ahead to meet those needs, the better your chances will be of a happy start to a long and joyful life together.