If you are a dog owner, and you are making the transition from an apartment or condo into a home, complete with a backyard, then your life is about to get a lot easier.  You’ll no longer have to take your dog on long walks for bathroom breaks, and your dog will be a lot happier being able to freely roam an outdoor area without a leash.  Win-win for everyone, right?  Not so fast.  There’s a few things you’ll need to do in order to avoid some potentially stressful headaches in the very near future.  I’ll attempt to highlight some of the more important ones here.

1.  Fencing – If you are moving to a new home that doesn’t have a fenced backyard, then consider fencing at your convenience.  Ideally, the home you’re moving to would already have this beneficial add-on, but many don’t.  Having some form of fencing installed will ensure that you can let your dog run freely without having to keep a watchful eye on them at all times.

2.  Designate a bathroom spot – Giving your dog complete control of your backyard can create a bit of a problem when it comes to bathroom time.  I really don’t need to go into specifics here….Suffice it to say that your dog can and should be trained to use a particular corner of the back yard for his activities.  Your shoes and yard will thank you.

3.  Keep your garden pet-friendly – If you are planning to make a garden in your new back yard, then be sure that you don’t pick any plants that are toxic to pets.  Many are.  Also, try to incorporate some kind of additional fencing so that your dog doesn’t treat your garden like a playground.

4.  Consider a doggy door – If you want to completely eliminate the need for you to take time out of your day to walk your dog, then a dog door can help you with that.  If you’re moving to a place with long winter seasons, then you’ll need to pick a dog door option that can be sealed easily if inclement weather arises.

5.  Shading – If you’re moving to an area that has hot summers, consider planting some fast-growing trees that will offer shade for your dog to cool off.  Without proper shading, some dogs, especially older ones, can experience distress if left in direct sun for too long.

For additional ideas, visit http://www.ehow.com/how_4779806_landscape-backyard-dogs.html

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As they say real estate is about 3 things: location, location, location.  Finding the perfect city, town, or village to live can be difficult especially if you have a family to take care after. If you are still midst-career and not looking to retire you probably want to live close to work (maybe not too close) , family, and to what is important for you to live in town.

The first tip is simple, you can use sites such as city-data.com to find out more about the area.  City websites with a .gov domain can provide a lot of insight, but don’t forget to do a simple google search or look at the Wikipedia page of that place when they are available.  You can find out just about anything these days:  population, school systems, cost of the average house, and even average city income of the residents.  Most of this information is available thanks to the census of course, so this is a great time to do research as the information was last collected in 2010 as part of a 10 year cycle.

Google maps has a great feature called my places.  Other maps offer similar features if you prefer another, but essentially what you do is create your own map.  There is a link to take an interactive tour underneath the big red create map button if you need help.  It is a very well made tour.  After all of your important locations are marked and labeled you can zoom out a bit and see all of the locations clearly.  There are certain exceptions such as highway access, but somewhere in the middle is generally a good place to start looking.  Combine this with the town information you can find and suddenly you are well on your way to being an expert on the area.  You can even generate driving directions and estimates to and from each location. This is great news of course, because the more you know, the better your decision will be.

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