The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
Westford Massachusetts | 978-935-9500 |

Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/4/2018

If your family includes one or more dogs, your house-hunting checklist will probably include some very pet-specific features.

While these wish-list items are not absolutely essential to everyone, they will help make pet ownership more pleasurable and hassle-free for both you and your dog.

Large, fenced-in backyard: Since dogs love to run, play, and exercise, a spacious backyard is a desirable aspect of a new home. Kids love them, too! Fenced-in yards are ideal for families with dogs, since it helps prevent your pet from wandering away, bothering your neighbors, or straying into traffic. A solid, well-maintained fence can also help protect pets from wildlife, such as coyotes, raccoons, and foxes. Although gaps at the bottom of the fence need to be blocked to prevent small animals and pets from going in or out, a well-maintained fence can provide a lot of protection, security, and privacy. If your dog happens to be a loud or frequent barker, it would also be beneficial to find a house that is sufficiently spaced from other homes in the immediate area. (For many suburban house hunters, that's already a strong preference!)

Walkable neighborhood: One of the many advantages of dog ownership is that it helps motivate you and your family to get some regular exercise. Since dogs love to go for daily walks with their owners, an ideal neighborhood would offer one or more of the following features: residential streets with light traffic, sidewalks, or easy access to a public park. If a neighborhood you're considering has a designated dog park nearby, that's another desirable amenity to keep in mind. While not all dogs (or owners) feel comfortable in dog parks, others thrive in that environment.

Dog-friendly flooring: Dogs bring a lot of positive qualities into our lives, but neatness is rarely one of them! Even the most well-trained dogs have a messy accident every once in a while, so certain kinds of flooring are less desirable than others. Carpeting and pets are almost never a good combination -- especially if the carpeting isn't stain resistant and darkly colored. All types of flooring have their pros and cons, but some materials are easier to clean, more scratch resistant, and less prone to water damage. Those include vinyl, stone tiles, and laminate flooring, If hardwood is your flooring material of choice, then a coating of urethane will make it more resistant to stains, spills, and scratches.

From a convenience standpoint, it's also desirable to buy a house that's relatively close to essential services, such as a veterinary clinic, boarding facility, and grooming services. When moving to a new community, it's always a good idea to check on any local regulations, licensing requirements, and restrictions that might apply to your four-legged companion(s). Much of that information can usually be gleaned from town, municipal, or HOA websites.

Posted by St. Martin Team on 11/17/2016

It has been said that owning a dog is like having a two year old that stays two for his entire life. There is some truth in this statement. Dogs--like children--have many needs, and each dog has a unique personality. But, as any dog owner will tell you, there is no greater joy than coming home to your tail-wagging, slobbering best friend. There are several factors you should consider before getting a dog. You'll want to think about how much time you have to spend with the dog, your family's ability to contribute to caring for him or her, and how suitable your home and yard are.

Your dog's new home

If you've always wanted a large, playful dog, you should think about the size of your home and yard. Big dogs and dogs with high energy need a lot of room to run around in. If you live on a busy road would you consider putting up a fence to keep your dog safe from traffic? If not you might have to tether your dog to a run in the backyard, which is significantly less fun and exercise for the both of you. Inside the home poses another challenge. If you are considering a puppy, know that there is much training involved to keep your dog safe and your house in one piece. One of the many benefits of adopting an older dog is that they tend to already be housebroken, avoiding a lot of clean-ups and chewed furniture.

Raising a dog is a team effort

If you are thinking about getting a puppy or a high energy dog (in other words, a "permanent puppy") it's important to recognize that your whole family will have to be on the same page when it comes to training. Your dog takes cues from your family's behavior. So if one person in your family allows the dog to jump up on them when another doesn't it will give the dog mixed signals. This is also true for rewarding good behavior. Your dog should obey each member of your family because they trust them, not fear them or feel dominant over them. Play-time and treats are a great way to build that trust with every member of your household.

Please consider adopting

We all have the image in our heads of our children playing with a new puppy. But the same joy and bonding can come from adopting an older dog. When you adopt, you can teach your kids the value of rescuing and caring for animals that have been neglected. What's more, adopting is also a way to show support for shelters rather than puppy mills who often breed puppies in poor conditions.

Guidelines for dogs and your home

  • If you have a small home and yard, get a small dog or an older, low-energy dog
  • Likewise, take the dog on lots of walk to make up for missed exercise in the yard
  • If you have a wooded yard be extra vigilant about ticks and fleas
  • Training never ends for you or your dog. Make sure you are constantly working with your dog