When you rescue a dog from the shelter, you give him a second chance at life. Here are 10 ways you can get off on the right paw.
1– Talk with the shelter staff. Have them introduce you to their favorite dogs. Tell them what you’re looking for in a pet. Let them know what pets you already have and whether you have children. They’ll guide you to one that’s a good fit.
Find a dog who matches your temperament. If you enjoy lengthy hikes or other athletic endeavors, a high energy dog like a lab mix may be good for you. On the other hand, if you have small children or are looking for a dog who loves to snuggle, an older, more mellow dog may be a better option. The shelter staff can help you narrow your choices.
2- Once you’ve narrowed your choices to 2 or 3 dogs, see if you can take them each for a walk. Getting them away from the kennel environment will help many dogs relax and show you more of their personality.
3- Introduce your other family members to your candidates. This will help eliminate unpleasant surprises once you get home together.
4- If you already have a dog at home, see if you can bring your current dog in for a “meet and greet” or trade towels/blankets with each dog. The idea is each dog smells the other and begins to get accustomed to the other’s smell so they aren’t completely new to one another.
5- Once you’ve made your choice, determine where your new best friend will spend the first few days at your home. Even if your new friend is house-broken, the stress of moving and a new environment may cause him to “forget.” If you confine him to a kitchen, you’ll have easier clean up, yet, he’ll be able to adjust to family life.
6- If you plan to crate train, get the crate ready and decide where it will go in your home. When your new pet comes home, leave the crate sitting in its area with the door open and let him explore the crate on his own. You may find he enjoys being in it when he’s relaxing.
7- Aim for a calm schedule the first few weeks with your new pet. Take a few days off work if you can, and avoid planning travel right after adoption. Stick to scheduled meal times and walking times. The first few weeks are a critical adjustment time for everyone. Give yourself time.
8- Take your new friend to your veterinarian for a full checkup shortly after you bring him home. This gives you a baseline on health and temperament independent of the shelter.
9- Your new pet may benefit from doggie training classes or other forms of socializing such as dog parks. However, it’s important to discuss this with your vet and watch your pet’s temperament. Not every dog does well in these environments.
10- Make sure everyone in your family is onboard with the training plan. When everyone adheres to the schedule and uses the same commands, it’s easier for your dog to learn.
By giving a shelter dog a “forever home,” you’ll be deeply rewarded. You may find yourself the recipient of deep gratitude from your pet.
What tips do you have for a successful adoption?