Is a Dog Right for You and Your Family?
Despite the allure of a puppy or dog that literally begs you with its inviting eyes, it’s essential that you think about all aspects of dog ownership, for everyone involved.
Will You Be a Perfect Dog Owner?
There are many things to think about before taking the plunge to adopt. Are you equipped to have a total change in lifestyle? A dog needs you for everything, including food, shelter, potty breaks, exercise, and more. Your schedule will totally change to meet your dog’s schedule and needs. Think carefully about each of the following points.
- Are you in it for the long haul? Dogs can live up to 15 or more years and they deserve your commitment once you have adopted them.
- Do you like being “attention”? You are “it” for your dog, so are you ready to accept sloppy kisses and jumping all over you?
- Can you deal with messes of all kinds?
- Do you mind having your favorite shoe dragged all over the house?
- Are you ready for the influx of new, dog-related expenses?
- Would cuddling with your dog on the couch be your favorite time of day?
Do Your Homework
There are myriad things to consider in deciding what type of dog you want to adopt. Some of these things include:
- Shedding or non
Many people want to adopt younger dogs or puppies, and because of their age and relative cuteness, they are adopted quickly. Have you considered looking at an older dog? These pups typically spend more time in the stressful shelter environment waiting for their perfect home to come along. Somehow, these older dogs “know” you have saved them and become completely devoted to you forever.
One big caveat: don’t expect to get the “perfect” dog that meets all the factors on your wish list. Instead, be prepared that the dog you adopt will indeed end up to be the perfect dog for you.
Where to Adopt a Dog?
These days, many dogs are available for adoption, but your best bet for a successful outcome is to adopt from a reputable shelter or rescue organization. It’s horrible to imagine, but there have been cases where “healthy”, “well-trained” dogs have been adopted, only for the adoptive owner to discover the dog was ill or aggressive.
One thing is for sure, though, animal shelters and rescue groups check their credentials and legitimacy with local and state authorities before proceeding.
If it is a certain breed you are interested in adopting, there are multiple breed-specific rescues in every state, and a Google search or query to your vet or a local shelter can point you in the right direction. If you don’t care about a specific breed, your local shelter may be your best adoptive bet.
When looking at potential adoption rescues or shelters, do heed the following red flags:
- It does not allow pre-adoption day visits to see if the dog and you are compatible.
- It won’t take the dog back if the adoption doesn’t work out.
- It allows puppies less than 8 weeks to be adopted.
- It doesn’t provide a vaccination record, which probably means the dog has not been (fully) vaccinated.
- Dogs are not spayed or neutered before being adopted.
- It pushes you to make a quick decision.
- Doesn’t respond to your emails, texts, or phone calls in a timely manner.
- Something about the shelter or rescue just doesn’t “feel” right to you.
Foster Homes vs. Shelters
Ever since the pandemic, a growing trend has been for dogs to be placed in foster homes by shelters. A foster home offers less stress and more individualized care than a shelter. When visiting dogs in the shelter, do keep in mind that they are not at their best, which is an important reason for multiple visits before deciding.
On the other hand, 99% of rescue organizations house their available dogs in foster homes where the dogs are readied physically and mentally before they are made available for adoption.
Be prepared to pay an adoption fee for your new pet. Prices vary depending on breed, age, health, and so on. After you have paid the adoption fee, you’ll be facing future costs including vet fees, food, toys, grooming, training, boarding fees, and even sweaters for chilly days and nights. It’s a good idea to research the going rate for all dog-related services so you are not surprised later.
Regardless of your adopted dog’s previous circumstances, preparation both before and after you bring him home is key for a successful adjustment. Be aware that your new family member will be experiencing mega-stress when he first arrives, so plan carefully.
- Gate: You’ll want to confine your new dog or puppy to a small area in your home until he relaxes. Also, if you have another pet, this allows them to get to know each other safely.
- Crate: Purchase and set up a crate in a semi-quiet area of your home. This will eventually be your pet’s “safe place.”
- Dog bed: Buy your adoptee a good quality bed that has a strong surrounding rim. This will serve as a warm, comfy place for him.
- Toys: If your new pet is your only pet, you won’t need to worry about resource guarding, but if you do have another dog, be aware that some resource guarding could become an issue later.
- Food: Check with the rescue/shelter to see what food the dog has been on and only change food gradually if you decide to later on.
It’s Homecoming Day
Fact #1 – you are excited and want to show off your new baby. Fact # 2 – your dog is excited, but not for the same reasons. Fact # 3, consider the following advice.
- Immediate family only: This is one big stressful day for your dog, so keep it simple.
- Potty place: take him out right away, and frequently after, until he gets the idea that this is the potty place.
- Leash: Keep him on a leash for several days so if you need to get ahold of him, you can easily do so.
- Start the routine: Be sure to start his new routine right away including feeding, potty, and sleep times.
- Name change: If you have decided to change his name, say it to him often and give him a prize when he looks at you after you’ve said it.
Here at Performance K9 Training and Boarding, we have a special dog or two that are ready now to be welcomed into your home. Call us for more information and details.