How Dog Owners Can Find the Perfect House

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By Special Corresondent Cindy Aldridge for DoggerBlogger and DoggerJogger.com

Searching for a new home can be one of the most fun and frustrating times. Sometimes, it seems like every house has what you want — except that one thing you can’t live without.  When you have a pooch or two in your family, finding a home can be even more of a challenge.

When you start the process, make sure your real estate agent knows you have a dog. Your realtor should keep that in mind when helping you find the perfect home for you and your pup.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by everything, but don’t fret. You’ll find the right place. Start by making a list of all the things you want in a house for your own happiness. When you’re finished, start considering your dog. Does the new place have a fenced yard? If not, can you afford to add a fence? Does it have a doggy door or a place you could add one? Keeping your dog’s needs in mind can help you find the best home for you both.

Give your dog space

If you have a large dog, you should consider space a top priority. Squeezing a giant dog along with adults into a small condo can be a real challenge. You want your dog to have room to stretch out, and you want that same ability for yourself. Small dogs, on other other hand, can fit in almost everywhere. If you have elderly dogs or dogs with disabilities, you might not want a home with a lot of stairs. Or if you do, make sure you can carry your pooch up and down the stairs if necessary.

Get floored

Carpets are nice and make a home extra-cozy. But if you have dogs who enjoy running in and out of the house a lot (and through the mud), carpets are bound to get funky. If your dog is a puppy, elderly, or has a condition that causes bladder leakage, carpets can get ruined pretty quickly. And they absorb odor, which can make for a smelly home. Look for a home with tile floors, hardwood, or painted concrete. These types of floors make for easier cleanup and they don’t trap odors. Luckily, flooring is replaceable. So whatever your flooring options, there’s always the opportunity for a change.

Location, location

Is your new neighborhood dog-friendly? A quick walk or drive around the neighborhood after work hours can give you the answer. In a dog-friendly neighborhood, you’ll see lots of dogs out for their evening strolls. If the neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks, regular strolls might be more difficult.

Check for parks and dog parks nearby. Parks are excellent for walking or running with your four-legged friend, and dog parks are a great place for him to stretch his legs and play with other pooches. If your home is near a beach, check if it’s dog-friendly so you and your pal can enjoy playing in the sand and sun.

Adapting to a new home

Once you find the perfect place and it’s time to move in, make sure you’ve brought all your pup’s familiar things, such as beds, blankets, and toys. It might seem like a good idea for a fresh start, but don’t wash any of his bedding before you move; the old smells will give him comfort. When unpacking boxes, allow your dog to sniff as much as he wants. Dogs are scent-oriented, and checking out the items that came from your old house will provide some comfort.

Dogs are generally adaptable animals, as long as there is familiarity and routine. Give your dog lots of comfort with pets and cuddles as much as possible, and help your pet adapt to the new routine by staying consistent. While unpacking in your new home, take frequent breaks to play with your dog. He needs reassurance — just like a child — that you’re going to be together forever, despite major life changes. Keep your own anxiety to a minimum because dogs can see your stress. If you feel stressed, your dog will, too.

Finding the right home for you and your dog can be a simple process if you plan ahead and keep both your needs in mind during your house hunt. Once you find the perfect place, it won’t take long before your pooch is settled. Soon, it will be like he lived there all along.

Questions and comments should be addressed to:  cindy@ourdogfriends.org