What you need to know when you adopt a dog?
Many people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have decided to look into pet adoption. In fact, adoption inquiries on Petfinder.com skyrocketed in the wake of the pandemic.
This may be because more people are spending more time at home during lockdowns and want to have a furry friend by their side.
However, there’s a lot to consider when looking to adopt a dog. It’s more than just signing a few papers and bringing your new pup home. You’re essentially relocating the dog from a shelter or rescue organization to an entirely new place, which can cause dogs stress and anxiety.
Let’s explore more about the dog adoption process, what to consider before adopting a dog, and what to expect once you bring your four-legged friend home.
Before you adopt a dog
There are certain actions you should take before adopting a dog.
For instance, you should research some local shelters or nonprofit organizations to help you find the right dog to fit your lifestyle and living situation. You want to ensure that you’re adopting from a trustworthy organization that treats its animals with care and compassion.
Websites like Petfinder.com or Adoptapet.com are great for finding local organizations to go to for pet adoption. You can easily plug in your zip code to find reliable information about shelters in your area. Now, let’s cover the dog adoption process and what to expect when visiting your local shelter or rescue.
The process of adopting a dog
Many shelters or rescues follow a standard adoption process for their clients. Countless pups are waiting to find a forever home. Still, it’s possible that your circumstances may not make you a suitable adoption candidate. The ultimate goal for shelters is to find the perfect match between owners and dogs.
Shelters need to do their due diligence and vet potential dog owners before taking a pup home. This is how the adoption process typically goes:
- Submit an application through the shelter’s website or in person.
- Go through an interview process with a shelter staff member and get introduced to some rescues.
- If you pass the interview and find the right dog for you and your family, you may have to pay a reasonable adoption fee before bringing your new dog home.
Shelters want to ensure that new dog owners are fully capable of providing proper care for the dog, and they’re not just adopting impulsively or on a whim.
Remember that the adoption interview process may ask some personal questions so the shelter can get a better idea if you’re suited to care for a dog. They may ask lifestyle questions like if you live in an apartment, a house, if you smoke, or if you have other pets and children.
They may also ask questions about your work life, so they know you’re home enough to provide the right kind of care. It may be helpful to have the answers to these questions ready before entering the interview. It may help you become qualified and approved to adopt.
Bringing your furry friend home for the first time
Suppose you’ve gone through the adoption process, you’ve met your pet match, and you’re ready to bring Fido home. You’ve got all the essential items, like a leash, collar, harness, dog bowls, and toys. Now what?
Puppy-proofing your home
Think about the areas of your home you want to be puppy-proof. Below are some puppy-proofing tips and tricks you can use to ensure your home is safe for your new dog to explore safely.
- Move electrical cords out of reach to prevent mouth burns or electrical shock
- Keep cleaning supplies out of low places
- Keep toilets and garbage cans closed at all times
- Put away small or sharp objects that can pose choking hazards
- Keep human food, especially foods dogs are allergic to, out of reach
You should expect your dog to explore every area of your home when you first bring them there. This is a new place for them, and they’ll be curious when settling in.
It may help to buy a dog crate that can be their home “headquarters” or safe place. Make sure that if you look into purchasing a dog crate, the dog should be able to turn completely around, sit, lay down and feel comfortable when in the crate.
Also, now may be a good time to start training your dog with voice commands and other positive reinforcement techniques. Shelters will inform you about how the dog responds to commands and if they have prior training.
Meeting children or other pets
Not all dogs will get along with other dogs, but those are the types of questions that should be addressed before adoption. Some dogs are great with children and exhibit good behavior, but others require more training.
Like humans, dogs need to establish trust in you over time. It is important to slowly introduce your dogs to any other dogs at home. The goal would be for your dog to get along well with other dogs and be as kid-friendly as possible.
Encourage children to be gentle with their new dog and avoid squeezing, poking, or pulling at the dog’s fur. This can cause the dog to feel stressed, and they may not trust the kids as easily. Patience is key — it may take some dogs more time to trust you as their new owner and their kids compared to other dogs.
Understanding the adjustment period
When introducing any kind of pet to your home, it will take some time for them to actually feel “at home.” This is an adjustment period for your newly adopted dog, and you must be patient with them. They could have indoor accidents, bark when you’re not home due to separation anxiety, and may misbehave. This is all normal behavior to be expected.
In some cases, you may not need to do much training at all. Be sure you ask any questions you may have before bringing your dog home, as it could help you feel less overwhelmed.
Hopefully, after reading this, you feel more informed about what to expect when following through with adopting a dog.
Givin your dog a forever home
Adopting a dog is not for the faint-hearted. It requires patience, compassion, and time to get your dog to settle into its forever home. It’s proven to be quite a rewarding experience for many dog owners. Still, it’s all based on your level of commitment and preparedness.