DOG ADOPTION TIPS I LEARNED FROM MY DOGS
There’s a hole in your life that only a dog can fill. You want
a special dog, perhaps just a full-grown adult. Maybe your code
of ethics calls for saving a dog’s life not buying an
I’m not a veterinarian or a dog trainer, but I’ve enjoyed two
successful adoptions. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along
(1) Clarify your requirements ahead of time.
Once you’re standing in front of a cage, it’s easy to say,
"Well, he’s a lot bigger than I expected, and I really wanted a
female, but oh he’s SO cute!" No amount of love or training will
help if your dog needs more exercise than you can provide.
(2) Know the difference between shelter and rescue groups.
Most cities have humane societies where you can view dogs and
make a choice. Rescue groups typically hold animals in foster
care which is good, because you can ask the foster mom all
sorts of questions. For example, they can say, "This dog lived
with two cats so you know you can trust her."
(3) Be prepared to pay.
Shelter animals are not free, but you do get value for money.
Expect to pay a fee that may include spay/neuter costs,
licensing, and/or veterinarian visits.
(4) Consider an older dog.
By the time a dog has turned three or four, she’s as big as
she’s going to get. No surprises! You’ll also have clues
regarding his temperament.
(5) Plan to confine the dog during a period of transition.
Your new dog doesn’t get it. She was in a loving home (or left
alone in a yard all day or even abused). Then she spent a few
weeks in a cage, feeling lonely and isolated. Maybe she’s been
passed around to multiple homes.
Bottom line, she’s stressed. She may chew, dig, bark, or even
lose her house training at first.
Crating the dog prevents destructive behavior. My dogs both
looked visibly relieved as they retreated to their crates every
day. "Time to relax," they seemed to say.
(6) Invest in training.
Most dogs are turned over to the shelter because of behavior
problems. If you’re new to the world of dog behavior, take a
class or hire a professional. Most behavior can be corrected,
even among older dogs. But if you’re not sure, ask a
professional. Some behaviors can’t be “fixed.”
(7) Incorporate large doses of exercise and walks into your
Walking together builds your bond and a tired dog is a good
dog. Begin the exercise program immediately so you can gain a
sense of how much exercise the dog needs an important factor
in the dog’s adjustment and start training for the basics on
the way home from the shelter.
About The Author: Cathy Goodwin, a certfified Dog Fanatic,
wrote Arf! Dog Health Comes Home: tips and resources to care
for your aging, sick or injured dog. Download from http://www.dog-health.org