Adopting a dog is a beautiful gesture for you, your family, and a dog that needs a home. They are an excellent addition to any home, make fantastic companions, and can help people be happier and less lonely.
If you are new to having a pet, there are a few things to consider before you adopt a dog. You want to make the transition as easy and as smooth as possible for everyone, including your new dog.
Here are 5 tips that will help you prepare for adopting a new dog.
Dog Adoption Tips
While there will be things you need to do that will be unique to your own situation, here are five helpful tips for adopting a new dog.
Find a Dog in Need
The best place to find a dog is a local shelter or rescue. Even if you are set on finding a particular breed, you should avoid puppy mills and other breeders who are only in it for profit.
It’s better to find a dog in need and pay a nominal fee for the adoption rather than paying something much more expensive from a breeder who may not take care of the animals.
Check your local shelter regularly, as new dogs are arriving all the time. If you don’t have a certain breed or size in mind, find one that needs a home more. Some animals have been living in these shelters for many months or longer.
You can also check newspapers, social media adoption sites, and other sources for a dog who may have lost their caregiver or need to be surrendered for some reason.
Adopting an adult or older dog is very rewarding and can even be saving their life. An older dog going to a shelter from a comfortable home can be devastating for them.
Get Background Information
It’s a good idea to find out as much as you can about the new dog. Ask about their age, their previous home and situation, their age, and if they have any special requirements.
Ask if they have any dietary needs, any record of medical or behavioral concerns, and their disposition. Keep in mind, a dog that may have had behavior problems can usually be retrained out of them. There are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners.
Find out if the dog has seen a vet or has a history with one. Perhaps he has been seen several times by the vet at the shelter where he is being adopted from. He will be more familiar with this vet.
Dog-Proof Your Home
Before the dog arrives, you need to work out some spatial issues and other things the dog will need.
If you can, find out what type of food he eats now and if he has any special needs with diet, like if he is overweight, is he an older dog with teeth or chewing problems and are there things he particularly likes or dislikes.
Have plenty of choices on hand, if you can’t find out about their diet. You can always give the ones he doesn’t like to someone else or donate them back to the shelter.
Have a bed for them. Whether you are using a crate or giving them a dog bed, have it there ready before they arrive. It’s best that it be a new one or at least, cleaned of any scent from any other pets that may have used it.
He needs to have something that is entirely his. The bed, a space, the crate, even a room, if you can. It helps the dog feel secure and gives them a place to retreat to if they become overwhelmed. This is important if there are other animals in the home.
Set up a place where the dog can expect to find his food and water regularly. Feedings, like the rest of his day, will largely depend on routines. This is important, especially in the beginning. Dogs like routine, and it helps with their behavior.
Look at your home at the dog’s level. Are there things that will get broken, chewed, or damaged. A new puppy will chew everything, so make sure all cords, shoes, remotes, and other items are moved out of the way.
A larger dog coming into the home may be clumsy at first and unsure where to go. Curiosity and excitement can mean a big wagging tail that can knock over vases, glasses, knock things off the table or break lamps.
Keep a clear path, at least until he knows his way around and is more comfortable. He may be curious or frightened, so he doesn’t need the sudden fright of a figurine smashing as he walks past.
Take Time to Bond
Make a point of adopting a dog when you have an adequate amount of time to spend with him. This doesn’t need to be an intense time where you fill every minute with activities.
Just be there with the dog while they adapt to their new surroundings. Obviously, a new puppy will be very demanding and require much attention and supervision.
An adult dog may want just to sniff around and become familiar with their new home. This is an excellent time to start establishing a routine. Take them for a walk around the same time each day. That way, if you must return to work, they will have an idea of when to expect to go outside or be fed.
However, you do want to let the dog get to know you, so do spend time petting him, playing with him, and building a trusting relationship. Grooming him is also a good idea; daily brushing will help with bonding a lot. This is also a good time to start establishing rules.
If he is allowed on the furniture or not, is he allowed in your bedroom and any other areas you want to share with him. If not, encourage him to use his crate or his own bed.
Prepare to Be Patient
Whether you are getting a new puppy or an older, established dog, there will be mishaps. New dogs and old can be nervous and have accidents. Don’t scold the dog. They will be nervous, and they will push the envelope when it comes to boundaries.
Be patient and start early. An older dog may have some bad habits that could continue, so that will require some work. They won’t move past them overnight.
They will need time to adjust to their new surroundings. This will be important for a dog coming from a shelter or an unstable situation. They may have triggers that won’t show up right away, so it’s important to let them adapt on their own schedule, not yours.
Even a dog that was trained by someone else doesn’t mean that those same rules will apply in your home. You will have things he has never seen before, so don’t let them have complete control when you are not there in the beginning, at least.
You may not know what the dog has been through, so kindness and patients will win them over. They need to trust you for you to train them, so allow that to happen.
Other Dog Adoption Tips
If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Professional training can help your dog a lot, in particular, a dog that has had a less than pleasant past.
Give them plenty of exercise. Dogs need to run and bark and burn off energy, especially if they are alone during the day. A nice trip to the same park can help establish a routine and allow the dog to make other dog friends.
Make sure you know how they will behave around other dogs before going to the off-leash parks. They may have aggressive or fearful reactions to other dogs, either bigger or smaller.
Allow your new to settle into his new home before you overwhelm him with your friends and family. It’s very exciting for you to have the new dog but let him adjust first before introducing a lot more people into his life.
Remember routine is important, so if you need to be gone during the day, try to come home at lunch to let him out and then have a nice bit of time with him. If that isn’t possible, try to get someone he knows to come over. A friend or family member is good, or a hired dog walker.
A Dog is for Both Your Lives
We hope these dog adoption tips will help you find the perfect dog for you and your family. They are such great companions and deserve all the love and care they can get. Helping a dog find a great home improves both of your lives.