Are you ready to open your heart and home to a rescue dog? Embarking on this journey is a magical life-long experience. Not only are you saving a life, but you’ll be rewarded with unconditional love, boundless joy and all the puppy kisses your heart desires. So, where do you go from here and how do you adopt the right dog for you?
The first step is to do some research before bringing home your new best friend. This guide is designed to aid you in making an informed decision by asking the right questions.
Questions to ask yourself
How do you adopt the right dog for you?
Some people get caught up in the excitement of adopting a dog. They see a pup online and their heart goes pitter patter, so they hastily fill out the application. But adopting a dog on impulse can be a calamity for you and the pooch. You may discover the pup has issues you aren’t willing to accommodate.
I implore you to take a look at your lifestyle. Are you looking for an energetic dog to go hiking with or do you prefer one who requires moderate to little exercise? Are you a novice or experienced dog owner? There are some breeds, like the Siberian Husky, who are not recommended for first time dog guardians.
Do you have small children or other pets in your home? Are you willing to perform daily grooming or are you looking for a low maintenance dog? Are you willing to adopt a dog with special needs?
These are important questions to consider and are the key elements to finding the right dog for you.
Questions to ask the shelter or rescue center
What do you know about the dog’s history?
Was the dog an owner surrender? A stray or taken out of a neglectful home? Ask the staff about any cruelty or neglect the dog may have suffered. If he was a stray, ask where he was found and the shape he was in. Shelters may not have much information on the pup’s past, but asking these questions is a good way to learn more about the pooch you’re interested in.
Has the dog’s behavior been evaluated?
Has the shelter or rescue center evaluated the dog’s behavior? Testing should be conducted to see if he has any resource guarding issues, shows signs of aggression, does he pull on the leash, how he reacts to being picked up or petted and how he gets along with people and other dogs.
If the dog is in a foster home, the foster parents diligently work with the pup to help him overcome any issues he may have.
An essential thing to remember is behavioral problems do not make him a bad dog. He is reacting to what he’s learned from his previous owner. Behavior problems can be fixed with patience and training. The question your need to ask yourself is what kind of behavioral issues you are willing to work with.
What is the dog’s personality like?
Is the pooch shy, outgoing, trusting, playful, nervous? Is he fearful of men or children? Does he like playing with toys? What is his energy level like? These are important questions to ask in determining if the dog is a right fit for you.
What is the dog’s health history?
Shelters and rescue centers usually won’t have his full health history, but they can give you an overview on the dog’s health. Make sure to ask for a copy of his healthy history.
Ask the staff about vaccinations, allergies, or medication he is on. Is the dog spayed or neutered? Has he been microchipped?
Many people who want to adopt a dog have unrealistic expectations. They expect their dog to be fully trained, housebroken, and instantly fit in with their new family.
There is no such thing as a “perfect dog”. Every dog has their own quirks, and issues. All dogs require love, patience, and training.
If you have evaluated your lifestyle and know what type of dog best suits you, you can find your perfect match. Be willing to work with your new best friend in a positive and loving way.
Time to Acclimate
Your pup needs time to adjust to his new family, home, and schedule. Depending on the dog it could take a while for him to relax and fully enjoy his new life. Please be loving, patient, understanding and don’t rush him.
I know you’re excited to show off your awesome rescue dog to the world. I encourage you to hold off on taking him places right away. This will give you time to understand him better and to know how he reacts to certain stimuli. He may be afraid of crowds, loud noises or other dogs. Forcing him into these situations will cause more harm and he may be less trusting. Each dog is different, they will be part of your pack in their own time.
What expectations did you have when adopting a dog? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
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