Saturday, January 23, 2021

How To Choose The Right Dog For Your Family


Champ

There will probably come a time in every family’s life when the subject of a dog will come up. Whether it’s the kids who have realized that they want a new pet or the adults who feel that a dog or puppy might be exactly what everyone needs, a discussion will have to take place. This is a big decision, and determining whether or not a dog is right for your family is something that needs to be thought carefully about and only acted on when you know for sure that a dog in your home, your yard, and your life, is going to work out. 

Once you have made this initial decision, it’s easy to think the hard work is over and you’ll just head to the shelter or look online for puppies for sale and pick up your new family member without any more discussion. However, the truth is that there is one other question to talk about; you need to make sure you’re picking the right dog for your family. Since dogs come in so many different shapes and sizes, there is sure to be at least one breed that will work best for you, but which one is it? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you narrow down your options. 

 

Photo by Jos├ęphine Menge on Unsplash

 

Size 

The size of the dog you bring into your home is an extremely important thing to consider. A large dog is going to need plenty of space, and if you have small children you’ll need to think of their safety too; a big, playful dog could easily knock a toddler over and hurt them without meaning too. A smaller dog might be a better choice if you don’t have a lot of room or your family is a young one. 

 

Equally, a small dog might not be quite as enjoyable for an active family who loves going out for walks and adventures; they will tire more easily than a big dog would, and need less exercise. So in this case, assuming you have the space, a larger dog would be better, giving the family the enjoyment they want from it and letting it be a big part of the family. 

 

Do your research before just picking any kind of dog that looks cute – if you want it to fit in with your lifestyle and become a valued member of your family for many years to come, choosing well at the start is essential, and size is a crucial component of that choice. 

 

Breed 

Once you know what size of dog you’re interested in having in your home and in your life, you’ll be able to look more closely at the different breeds available that will fit with the choice you’ve made in this regard. 

 

Whether you decide to buy a purebred lab puppy or a rescue dog from a local shelter, the breed is crucial. If you have children, you’ll need to find a breed that is calm and gentle, for example. Each breed has a different personality, which is why research has to be done on this topic; no matter how much you might like the look of a specific breed, if the personality isn’t going to work with your family, you’ll have to look elsewhere. 

 

Another consideration when it comes to the breed is the type of fur it might have. There are long-haired dogs and short-haired dogs; which will be best for you? There is a lot of work involved in taking care of a long-haired dog, and they can cause allergies too (or exacerbate already existing ones), but they look beautiful, and they are lovely to pet. A short-haired dog is easier to take care of, but will it be what you’re looking for? 

 

Budget 

Owning a dog is not something you can do for free, and from the purchase to the upkeep, there are many different costs involved. Can you afford to be a dog owner? When you’ve narrowed down your options you will need to look more closely at the cost of the dog. Firstly, there’s the cost of the animal itself; this is the first thing to think about, as this will differ from breed to breed. 

 

After that, you’ll need to think about the ongoing costs such as food and vet bills and, for long-haired dogs, grooming. It’s crucial to know how much this will cost each month, and over the course of a year. Since most dogs will live for between 12 and 15 years, you’ll be able to work out roughly what the cost will be over its lifetime. Can you commit to that? 

 

If the cost is coming out higher than you might be comfortable with, you’ll need to go back to the beginning and start your search again. Although this might mean that your search for the right dog takes longer, considering how long it will be with you and how important it is to get the decision right, it’s worth doing right. 

 

Where To Buy Your Puppy 

If you have decided that a purebred puppy is the right option for you, you should make sure you research the right place to buy it from as well. Unlike going to a shelter, there are some important considerations to think about when it comes to dog breeders. One of these is whether or not the breeder is reputable. To find out about this, check online and with the American Kennel Club. 

 

When you speak to the breeder (which you should always do), ask the right questions including whether or not they socialize their puppies, if there are any health problems (and whether the litter has been tested for the most common breed issues), where the parents are and if you can see them, and whether there are any guarantees. 

 

The answers to these questions will help you to know that you’re dealing with a proper dog breeder and not just someone whose own dog happened to have puppies; they are very different things. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

How to Help Your Teenager Deal With Grief

We’ve been fortunate enough to visit places all over the world that memorialize those who have been lost, including famous monuments, and even Arlington National Cemetary.  But, seeing loss from the perspective of a tourist is different than dealing with it in your own life, no matter your age. 


Unfortunately, far too many parents focus on making sure their young children are okay during a loss (which is important), and they don’t pay as much attention to their older kids/teenagers. 

The truth is, teens can be just as susceptible to struggling with loss. Now, more than ever, we are starting to see the mental health effects of loss on teenagers, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety. The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely hard on teenagers who have missed out on the normalcy of school, sports, friendships, and so much more. 

You have to remember that grief isn’t always due to death. It can be caused by the loss of anything. So, if your teenager is struggling, how can you help them? Let’s go over a few helpful and effective tips. 

Unsplash

Acknowledge Them

Teens want to be seen and heard. They want to be understood. That can be difficult to do under normal circumstances, but especially when they’re dealing with grief. 

One of the best things you can do is simply to make sure you’re listening. They may not always want to talk about what they’re feeling, and you shouldn’t push them. But, it’s important to open doors for conversations as often as possible. Let them know that you see them, you hear what they’re saying, and you understand how they’re feeling when they decide to express themselves. 

You don’t need to be able to give perfect advice to make a difference in your teen’s life. You know how good it feels to have someone listen to you and truly understand what you’re saying. Think about how great it will feel for your teenager to be able to confide in you and know they are really being heard. 

Be Patient and Available

As stated above, your teen may not always come to you with open arms and a willingness to talk. Forcing a conversation is one of the worst things you can do. Obviously, if you see any dangerous warning signs, confronting your teen about their feelings is important. But, if they just don’t seem like themselves or you’re not sure how they’re doing, don’t try to squeeze information out of them. 

Instead, show patience. Make sure your teenager knows that you’re available for them any time they’d like to talk. It’s easy to get caught up in your own life, especially when you’re dealing with problems. But, if your teen feels like you’re too busy or distracted, they probably won’t approach you to talk. Making yourself available is a good way to get them to open up. 

Let Them Know Their Feelings Are Normal

Although many people talk about the “stages of grief,” the truth is that the grief process is different for everyone. One of the reasons your teenager might be struggling is because they feel like what they’re experiencing isn’t “normal”. 

Make sure to validate their feelings as much as possible. Make sure they know that there isn’t one “right” way to grieve. As long as they aren’t taking part in any unhealthy behaviors or harming themselves or others, their feelings are normal. 

Work Through the Grief

If your teenager is grieving over the loss of a loved one, anything from talking about that person to creating a keepsake like memorial jewelry from Memorials.com can help them to find the strength to move on. If they’re mourning the loss of their normal lifestyle and the things they’ve missed out on, talk to them about what they would have liked to do, and how missing so many things makes them feel. 

Grief is perfectly normal in situations of loss. But, it is something that you have to work through. Rarely will feelings of grief go away on their own. Thankfully, you can be the guide for your teenager, helping them to get through those stages of grief at their own pace. When you commit to being there every step of the way, you’ll get to experience your teenager coming to life again, opening up, and finding happiness as they leave their grief behind. 

No matter what type of loss your teenager is facing, it’s important not to ignore their feelings. While you should still make sure your young children are going through the process in a healthy way, your teenager needs your help just as much. Use some of the ideas here to help them through that process and make sure they have what they need to grieve in a healthy way. 

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