Tips for adopting a dog are what it’s all about today. “Adopt don’t shop” is a saying that’s near and dear to us here at Large Dog Small Apartment. There are so many wonderful shelter dogs out there in need of a good home. They come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, so you’ll almost certainly find a lovable buddy who fits into your family perfectly. Today, we’re talking about tips for adopting a dog so both your and your adopted pal can have the smoothest transition possible.
Tips for Adopting a Dog
While adoption is always a great choice for both you and the dog you save, you can’t just pick a dog out at the shelter and bring him right home. Dog adoption requires forethought and planning. You have to have your ducks in a row before you bring home a dog. These tips will help you pick the right dog and give you information about what to expect when you bring him home.
Choosing a Dog
When choosing a dog for adoption, you have to ensure that he has the right temperatment for your home. Some things to consider are whether or not you have children and/or other dogs or pets, how long you tend to be gone in a day, your activity level, your living space, and how much energy different breeds have.
Know What You Want
It’s important to know what kind of dog you want before going to the shetler or looking up adoptions online. You don’t want to fall in love with a dog who won’t fit into your lifestyle. For example, if you love going on long hikes, you probably don’t want a brachysyphallic dog like a Pug or an English Bulldog, as they don’t do well with long walks.
Think about what kind of dog would work with your activity level and lifestyle. If you work from home, chances are a lapdog would work well. So would giant breeds like Mastiffs and Great Danes, as their exercise requirements are low.
Keep your questions focused on lifestyle and don’t get hung up on certain criteria based on looks. Often, the last dog you thought you’d ever want is the one that captures your heart when you head to the shelter.
First things first, ask questions. When you find a dog at your local shelter, read the cage card. Most of the time the card will tell you if the dog is potty trained, is good with other animals and children, and other pertinenet information.
Find a person who works at the shelter and ask specific questions about the dog. Does he have any triggers? Is he fearful? Does he ever guard resources like food? How well has he been tested with other animals? These questions are key to determining if he will fit into your family.
The same idea goes for adopting from online rescues, as well. When you spot a dog that looks like a great possibility, send an email with questions to the person in charge of the rescue. It’s important to answer these crucial questions before you do anything else.
Have Get-to-Know-You Sessions
One of the most important, and often overlooked, tips for adopting a dog is having get-to-know-you sessions. After you’ve asked all the pertinent questions about the dog and decided that he could be the one, you need to have some one-on-one time with him.
Of course, this is only possible if you adopt from your local shelter, but if you do, it’s a crucial step. You need that time with him to guage how he responds to you, your movements, and your demeanor. Some people and dogs look like they’d be perfect for each other on paper, but they just don’t click in reality. It’s better to know that sooner rather than later.
If you and the dog get along, it’s time to introduce him to any other pets you have along with children if you have them. Just as you want to see how he reacted to you, it’s important to know how he’ll react to the other members of your family, be they two or four-legged.
Preparing to Bring Your Dog Home
You’ll need to be all set up when you bring your dog home. There are a variety of things you’ll need. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be assuming that you’re adopting a dog for the first time, so we can cover all the bases in our tips for adopting a dog.
Pick a nice, memory foam bed for your dog to sleep or relax on. These beds are not only comfy, but they help keep your new dog’s joints healthier in the long run. In addition, a nice, cozy bed helps make your dog feel comfortable in his new home.
Quality Dog Food
Of course, you know that dogs need to eat, but what first-time owners sometimes don’t know is how much it matters WHAT their dog eats. Opt for a high-quality, grain-free dog food. The bargain basement stuff is full of fillers and, frankly, is just plain garbage. Remember, we are what we eat, and so are our dogs.
Lots of Toys
Shelters do their best to give their dogs the best possible care, but living in a shelter is a depressing thing for any dog. When you bring your dog home, make sure he has lots of toys to play with. He’ll need extra exercise and stimulation to get back to his old self, and toys can help him do that.
A Calm Environment
When you bring your new dog home, make sure it’s a nice, calm environment. He’s just spent a good chunk of time in a loud, scary place, so he’ll appreciate some peace and quite. Of course, some dogs are high-energy, goofballs, and nothing can bring them down. If you adopt a dog like this, then you really don’t have to worry about keeping your home calm. He’ll probably be the reason it isn’t, and that’s a good thing.
However, for many freshly-adopted dogs, they need some peace and quite in order to acclimate to their new home and feel safe. Over time, your adopted buddy will come out of his shell, and you won’t have to worry so much about keeping things serene.
Introducing Your New Dog to the Family
We have some tips on adopting a dog here that are specific to those peopel who alraedy have other pets or children. Introducing your new dog should be done with care. No matter how great he was at the shelter – even during introductory sessions with your kids and/or other pets – it’s important to take things slow in the beginning.
Before bringing your new dog into the house, introduce him to your other pets and/or kids again in the front yard while both he and your other dog or dogs are on-leash. You’re bringing a new dog into your existing dog’s home turf, so he might not be quite as friendly as he was at the shelter.
Let everyone hang out in the yard and get used to each other for at least a half hour. If you have the time, go longer. It never hurts to be extra careful. During this time, watch for any signs of aggression like raised hackles, chest bumping, or attempting to knock the other dog over (play bumping doesn’t count).
Bring Your New Dog Inside
By now, the introductory sessions, your knowledge of your own dog, and your on-leash introductions on the lawn should have everyone prepared for your new dog to come inside the home. Once inside, take the dog off-leash, and let him explore. Always stay with your new dog, watching how he interacts with his new environment and your other pets and children.
You should be able to tell relatively quickly how things are going to play out. If everyone is getting along swimmingly, simply continue to hover just to be safe for another hour or two and then go about your life. However, if you see any signs of aggression, however small, keep a close eye on things for as long as it takes for everyone to get used to one another.
The Last Entry in Tips for Adopting a Dog
The last on entry on the list of tips for adopting a dog is simply to have fun. Once you’re fully prepared, you’ve picked the rigth pooch, and introductions have gone off without a hitch, it’s time to just enjoy life. Go on long walks – or not, depending on your lifestyle. Watch some TV. Play fetch in the backyard. Watch your other dog wrestle with his new buddy. Whatever’s happening, enjoy it. Your adopted dog certainly is!