Looking into How to Adopt a Dog? 10 Things You Should Know

Congratulations! You are ready to adopt a dog! After making the decision to give a furry friend a home, you may wonder the exact steps of how to adopt a dog. Although you cannot really go wrong when it comes to giving a previously abandoned life a place to belong, there are some guidelines you can follow in order to make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible. By taking the time to education yourself now, you will reduce the likelihood of later heartache and stress.

1. Decide where you want to adopt from

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While you can venture to your local pet store to purchase a furry friend, you could change the course of an abandoned dog's life by first checking out the options at your local rescue shelters. Look in your local Humane League, SPCA, or similar places. Also, you can look online. The ASPCA compiled a nationwide database which allows you to find adorable dogs near you that desperately need a home. You can access this database at aspca.org. Reputable companies will guide you through the process of adoption and ensure you fill out the necessary paperwork, resolving any questions about how to adopt a dog.

2. Avoid rush hour

When making the big choice of which dog to adopt, you do not want to be in a stressful environment. Even if crowded spaces do not make you tense, other individuals may prevent you from looking at all the dogs or rush you. You may feel pressed to make a decision before you are ready because you want to claim a particular dog before someone else does. Also, the dogs will tend to be more excited with a large influx of people, making it difficult for you to get a realistic idea of their temperament. The busiest times at shelters are often weekends and afternoons. Therefore, if possible, you should visit shelters during the middle of the week in the morning.

3. Find a breed which compliments your lifestyle

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Before you take a trip to a local pet store or begin to search online, first determine which breed of dog would best compliment your lifestyle. Each breed has typical characteristics of which you should make yourself aware and compare to your own characteristics and schedule. Be honest about what you and your family can handle, for instance, how much time and attention you can realistically give your dog, depending on your work schedule and how often you are home. You want to ensure that you are giving this canine the best possible home, a place full of love, belonging, and acceptance. Many shelters often contain mutts, dogs of mixed breeds. You should still give serious considerations to these dogs. While their temperament will be more difficult to predict accurately, you can still gain an idea of their characteristics and needs by researching the multiple breeds from which they derived. Purebreds are often the most popular options but you can save money and give a needy dog a home by choosing the unlikely mutt.

4. Don’t force it

The above being said, don’t adopt a dog that is less than optimal for your lifestyle simply because there are not any better options. Be willing to look around at several shelters. Adopting a dog is a big deal and you do not want to settle. Both you and the dog will suffer if the dog’s needs do not compliment your lifestyle. Give every member of your household a chance to interact with the canine before committing to adoption. While they can warm up to people over time, you should be cautious if a dog exhibits a particular distaste for a certain family member or friend. It is possible the dog will never lose certain undesirable characteristics, especially if you adopt an older dog. You do not want unrealistically positive hopes to risk your furry friend's ability to meet your expectations.

5. Buy the basics

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If you already own another dog, the list of basics you need will be substantially shorter than that of a first-time dog owner. But even if you have some pet supplies, you may need to purchase others specifically for this new furry friend. Each dog should have its own collar, leash, bed, crate, toys, and identification. If you do not own another pet, you will have to purchase food and water bowls, food, treats, poop baggies, grooming supplies, and baby gates. Aside from the basics, you can buy luxuries such as clothes in order to make the newest member of your family feel as welcome as possible. It is essential for you to buy at least the basic items before you bring your dog home. You should not pick up supplies on the drive home from the shelter or realize you are missing some necessary supply at an inconvenient time. When thinking about how to adopt a dog you may not initially think about the necessary supplies, but preparing properly for dog adoption puts both you and your dog at ease during the transition.

6. Set rules and guidelines beforehand

Before you bring your furry friend home, you should decide what you will expect of your dog and how you will train him or her. It is important to set these rules and guidelines ahead of time so you can implement them from the very start. Consistency is the key to training your dog and by setting high standards for your dog from the minute it arrives home, your adoption will have a greater likelihood for success. Also, wielding a strong hand from the start of the adoption process prevents laziness from giving you an excuse to not enforce those rules.

You can begin with simple, foundational rules and work up to more elaborate tricks. For instance, every dog owner should train their companion how to properly relieve themselves. Each situation is unique, but you should decide where you want your dog to go to the bathroom and how you want him or her to alert you. You should determine whether you will join your dog during such escapades, through the use of a leash, or if you will allow the dog to take care of its business on its own. You will also want to think about outdoor boundaries, how far you will allow your furry friend to venture from your house or from yourself. Other areas worth consideration include what pieces of furniture are pet-accessible, how pets are allowed to greet guests, and what food pets are allowed to consume, among others. While the guidelines of how to adopt a dog are fairly straightforward, the specific rules you intend to train your dog with are more flexible.

7. Help your dog adjust

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Imagine being transported from an environment you've grown used to, to another one with completely new people, sights, and smells. Even if the change is positive and beneficial, such abrupt changes can easily lead to insecurity and hesitance. One of the keys to remember when wondering how to adopt a dog returns to the idea of putting yourself in its shoes. Once you realize how difficult adoption can be for the dog, you can do your best to make the transition as painless as possible. Let your dog hide under the furniture and bark during the night. Allow him to go through the process of adjustment and reassure her that you love her. Do not push your dog or force it to do things it is not yet comfortable with. Simply shower your new furry friend with love, patience, and understanding.

8. Make introductions gradually

Introducing your dog to a new habitat is shocking enough. Introducing him or her to other people only adds to potential stress and confusion. While you may be incredibly excited to show your family and friends the newest addition to your family, exercise moderation. A welcome party is probably the worst way to acquaint your furry friend to your human ones. A large number of people could easily overwhelm your dog, no matter how nice the party-goers. Even if your friends visit individually over the first couple of days, so many strange faces could stress out your dog. Do not rush to introduce your new canine to everyone you know. Spread out introductions over weeks and months, with only a few new faces at a time.

9. Allow time for bonding

Set aside extra time from your schedule to bond with your new furry friend. As with any relationship, bonding takes time and effort. You cannot expect to immediately connect with your dog. The first several days and weeks critically influence the future of your relationship. Dogs can be man's best friend, but you as the “man” need to put forth the effort to show the dog that you want to be friends. This bonding is not difficult. Simply pet and play with your dog, hold him while you watch TV, take her on a walk, and in general, just show the dog you care. Instill a tone of safety and love from the very beginning of your relationship with your adopted dog.

10. Schedule a trip to the veterinarian

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While most reputable shelters and stores thoroughly evaluate the health of dogs before putting them up for adoption, you should schedule a trip to the veterinarian soon after you purchase it. Such a trip initiates a relationship with your veterinarian, an individual you will interact with often throughout your time as a dog owner. Veterinarians can make sense of medical history records as well as answer any questions you may have about your dog's needs, characteristics, and susceptibilities. You can also update any vaccines as necessary. Strive to schedule such an appointment within the first week of bringing your dog home.

Adopting a dog is an exciting time. By following these 10 tips about how to adopt a dog, you can eliminate stress and prevent struggles as you introduce a new furry friend into your life. Congratulations on your choice to adopt a dog and enjoy your new companion!

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