When you’re ready to bring home a dog, there is often a lot more excitement than planning! The first thing to consider is whether you’re buying or adopting. If you’ve opted for adopting, then you might be all ready to jump in and start visiting some shelters to find your new pet. However, before you start looking around or get your heart set on one particular pooch that you’ve spotted, there are things you should think about and know.
The adoption process can be a long one. If you’re unprepared for this, it can become a bit of a headache. You want to be able to look around and find a kind dog in need of a second chance, and just bring them straight home. Things aren’t always this simple, but with a bit of forward planning, you can help make the process as easy as possible.
Visiting shelters and meeting the dogs that need a new home can be enough to get you signing up to bring home a whole pack, so doing your research first is really important. You need to think about what you’re looking for in a dog and what you can offer them, as well as getting your home prepared to bring home a pet that might have some issues of their own.
What Dog Is the Right Fit for You?
Dogs come in such a great variety of shapes and sizes. You need to decide which is going to be best for you. Different breeds have different needs and suit different lifestyles. You need to have a good think about what requirements you have for a pet.
When adopting a dog, this is even more important. Many rescue dogs are going to come from backgrounds that have caused complications with the way they live their everyday lives. This can mean that they have a lot of extra needs compared with a bought puppy. They can require more attention or specific care. If you’re looking into adopting a dog this has to be considered too.
You need to consider how many walks you can take your pet for a day. Different breeds need different amounts of exercise; you shouldn’t overload yourself with responsibilities. Some dog breeds don’t require a particularly long walk every day and others need a lot of exercise. A Yorkshire Terrier can be fine with only a short walk each day, whereas a Border Collie requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. You need to be realistic about the amount of time you have free for this.
You also need to consider how your pet will fit into your existing family. If you have children or other pets then your dog will have to be okay with them. Some breeds are much better with children than others. King Charles Cavaliers tend to be quite good with children, although some like chihuahuas aren’t recommended. However, each individual rescue dog is also going to have separate characteristics. The shelter should be able to help you find a pet that is good with children.
If you have other pets like a cat, you will need a dog with a low prey drive. A Greyhound has a relatively high-prey drive, but dogs like Sheepdogs don’t. Dogs with high prey drives are hard to teach to co-operate with other pets. Equally, a rescue center should be able to help you find a pet that is experienced with others.
An Adopted Dog’s Extra Needs
Rescue dogs can come from really bad backgrounds. This can leave them requiring a lot more care than other dogs. If a shelter has a dog that is perfect for you, but prior neglect means they need more company than you can give, then you have to rule this pet out. While it is nice to try and help dogs in need, you have to be realistic about what extra care you can actually provide.
If You Have Other Dogs
If you have other dogs in the house, things are a bit more complicated. You need to make sure your dog is going to get along with the new pet, and that the new dog isn’t scared off by the resident dog. A shelter will likely accommodate a meeting to check that the two dogs can get along. They should also be aware of how much of a team player the dog is! Some pets show how much they prefer the company of others and the shelter should know if this is the right pet for you.
This is important to keep in mind. When you’re going around shelters with this list of requirements, you can begin to feel like you’re being unfair. Since these dogs all need homes it seems mean to leave them because they’re not exactly what you’re looking for. You should try and keep in mind that adopting a dog that isn’t the right for you isn’t going to be the best choice for the dog. Adoption into a home that is the right fit for that dog is going to be better for them than being adopted by someone with other animals that they find it difficult to live with, or without the time to give them the exercise they need. You need to adopt a dog that is going to fit in with your life to give it the best chance in life.
It might take a while to find a dog that meets your needs. Shelter dogs can come with a lot of baggage. If you’re out of the house a lot or have children or other pets or dogs, it may take a while to find one that is right. Patience is going to pay off if you avoid an impulse adoption.
The Adoption Process
Once you’ve considered what you need from a new dog and found a little pet who is just right for you, you can actually start the adoption process. This can vary between different shelters so the best thing to do is to visit the shelter’s website and check what their specific adoption requirements are.
Usually, an adoption will require payment towards the shelter. This is to give it funding to continue helping animals in need. They will sometimes require more though, like a home visit and some time spent with the pet. This can become a bit stressful if the process drags out. However, it is worth it in the long run. Shelters have these processes to cut down on people adopting dogs that they aren’t capable of looking after, and having them bounced back into their shelter. This saves them resources and it saves the pets the heartbreak of getting given up by another home.
What Do You Need for a Smooth Transition?
When the time finally comes to bring your new pet home, you need to have everything ready for them. There are some things that you should get before bringing your pet back:
- A Bed
- Water and Food Bowl
- Any Grooming Supplies
- Flea and Worm Treatments
With all of these things set up, you should be ready for any eventuality over your dog’s initial period at home.
How to Prepare Your House for Adopting a Dog
You may need to make some preparations for bringing your new pet home. These will depend on the specific needs of your pet, but there are some guidelines for bringing home any newly adopted dog.
The first is to establish a space for them. With the stress of moving to a new environment, even a friendly dog needs a space that they can move to retreat from stress. You should position their bed somewhere where they can go if they become overwhelmed. If you have other pets, this should be separated from them until they become acclimatised to their new surroundings.
If you have other pets at home, you should ensure they have had plenty of exercise before bringing a new pet in. This will help to keep them relaxed and let the two meet in positive circumstances. It may also be a good idea to introduce the two dogs in ‘neutral territory’. This allows the dogs to meet without the resident dog becoming defensive of the new pet in their space.
Your Adopted Dog’s Grooming and Health
All dogs need attention paid to their grooming and health. However, this is sometimes more pressing with an adopted dog. They may come from backgrounds that have led to bad health. Before you bring a dog home, you should research what vet is going to be used for your pet. It is a good idea to take your new pet for a check-up petty quickly after adoption. This lets them get checked over and introduce them to your vet. You should also neuter or spay then after a settling in period if the shelter your dog is from doesn’t perform this themselves.
Grooming may also be a priority! Shelter dogs typically need a good bath and a brush. Doing this can freshen the dog up and make them look every bit the part of beloved family pet.
Settling In With an Adopted Dog
While the first few weeks of having your dog around might make you want to spend every waking moment with them, although you should know when enough is enough! An adopted dog is going to need a little time to process their new home, you should give them this space. However, when they do want to play you can give them all the attention that you want.
Adopting a dog can become a long process. However, it is a rewarding experience to give a dog another chance at a happy life. With a little bit of research and planning, adopting a new dog can be a stress-free and fun experience for you and your new dog.