5 Tips for Successfully Adopting a Rescue Dog
Are you ready to adopt?
This is the first and most important determinant in successfully adopting a rescue dog. The decision to adopt a dog should never be on impulse. Weeks or months of thought and discussion are vital to ensuring your entire family is prepared for the responsibility. For example, consider:
- Do you have the time and patience to properly integrate a rescue dog into your family and care for it for the rest of its life?
- Are you financially able to handle all associated costs, such as vet bills and vaccinations, grooming, and food?
- Do you have plans in place for if you travel? Will you be able to bring your dog with you if you suddenly need to move?
Once you have decided you are ready to adopt a dog, it is time to consider which dog would be the best fit for your family. Although it may be tempting to take home the cutest looking puppy in the shelter, it is very important to find a dog with a personality compatible to your lifestyle. Do you work full time and then spend your free time watching Netflix? Consider a mellow, adult dog instead of a high-energy puppy. The shelter staff will be familiar with many of the dogs personalities, so consider asking them which dogs would suit your lifestyle best.
Properly introduce your family members
This is especially important for families with young children. An addition of a new dog to the family will be exciting for your kids, and they will be tempted to play and cuddle the moment the dog is released from the crate. However, it is vital that all family members give the dog plenty of space and time to adjust to their new home. A scared dog is likely to find hugs or an invasion of personal space threatening and may become aggressive while trying to protect themselves. Allow the dog to cuddle or play on their terms, and make sure all initial interactions between your children and the dog are supervised.
Properly introduce your other pets
It is important to make sure that your rescue dog will fit in well with any other animals you have at home. The rescue staff and volunteers should have an idea if the dog gets along with other dogs or cats. If it doesn’t, it may not be the dog for you. However, even if the dog is very friendly towards other animals, it is important to properly introduce them:
- Set up a room with food, water, toys, and bed or kennel for your new dog. When you bring him/her home, take them directly into the room and close the door.
- When your new dog is comfortable in their room, bring in some of your other pet’s toys for him/her to smell. Also, take one of your new dogs toys out of the room for your other animals to smell.
- After a day or so, lock your other animals in another room, and allow the rescue dog to explore the house. When they appear comfortable, introduce them to one on your current animals at a time. Ensure that all interactions are supervised until all of the animals are comfortable and watch for signs of stress.
There are many reasons a dog could be in a shelter. They may have been rescued from an abusive home, been found as a stray, or forfeited by a family who has no time for them. Regardless of the situation, the dog is likely to be scared and stressed. He/ she might take a while to warm up to you, and even older dogs might not have received proper training – which can often be frustrating. Just remember that with positive reinforcement, patience, and time, your new rescue dog will grow to be a great companion.
- Alan Tan