Thinking of adding a four-pawed friend to the family? You’re not alone. According to the Humane Society, there are around 78.2 million owned dogs in the United States and 39% of homes have at least one dog.

While it may be relatively easy to become a dog owner, being a successful dog owner is another thing entirely. In addition to treating the dog properly, obedience, good diet, exercise and all the other aspects of raising a healthy, happy dog, there is the issue of being a good dog owner as it pertains to the home.

Not all of your neighbors are dog people. And every town and municipality will have its own set of rules regarding dog ownership, i.e. leash laws, containment policies, etc.

To help in these matters, we’ve put together a short checklist for Dogs in the Home:

Dog proof your home. In some ways this is like baby-proofing, except that a dog is highly mobile (even as a pup) and can do a heck of a lot more damage with its teeth. With that in mind, move anything that can be broken or chewed to a higher elevation. Block off areas of the home to make off-limits sections and tuck or hide away electrical cords. Keep the lid down on the toilet and mind those shoes!!!

Contain the dog. Dogs should not be allowed to simply roam free in the yard. Invariably, they will wander, cross streets and possibly attack a passerby. Check with your municipality for specific rules regarding containment of your dog. If you don’t have an actual fence, you can install a dog run or invisible fencing.

Collar up. The collar serves many purposes. Obviously it is essential for attaching a leash, but it also demonstrates responsible dog ownership to the neighbors in your town. It was assist in your dogs return should it get loose and may prevent any harm coming to the dog because of being misidentified as feral or a stray.

Beware the bark. You wouldn’t know if your dog barks all day while your away, but your neighbors will. It’s a fast way to a frosty relationship. There are ways to train your dog not to bark unless seriously provoked. If that doesn’t work, you can always try a silencing collar.

Socialize. Introducing the dog to the neighborhood is a great way to get the neighbors’ support for your dog ownership decision. When first introducing Fido, ensure that he doesn’t jump up, and be mindful of a neighbor’s reaction to the sight of the dog. Not everyone is a dog person. Respect that. For those neighbors who are not, demonstrating your responsible nature will go a long way towards their tolerance of your pet.

Good luck with your new dog!