Getting a dog is a life changing experience and one I’m so happy I made when I adopted my goofy pup Rocko. Opening my heart and home to him was the best decision I’ve ever made. He brings new life to the saying “Man’s Best Friend” and I truly cannot imagine my life without him. I’ve learned a few things thru adopting Rocko that will hopefully help you in the journey of finding the new furry member of your family.
1. Shelter Dogs Are Not “Second-Hand” Dogs
Some people are hesitant of adopting from a shelter but there’s really no reason to be. Many dogs end up in shelters, not for bad behavior but often due to changes in their family’s life that leave them unable to properly care for a dog anymore. Adopting a dog from a shelter is a fantastic way to give a great dog a second chance. It’s also incredibly affordable since shelter dogs are often significantly less expensive than purchasing from a breeder.
2. Recognizing Your Dog Wants & Needs
Before you even start looking for you new BFF, you should look at your lifestyle and see what kind of dog would fit into it the best. Ask yourself things like…
Are you a family looking for a dog that loves children?
What size of dog would best fit in your home and/or yard?
Do you have other animals at home?
Do you want a dog with an easy care coat or one that needs grooming?
Are their restrictions in your homeowner insurance or lease agreement on certain breeds or dog size?
How old of a dog do you want? Puppies are gosh darn cute but require much more work and training then most adult dogs. How much time do you have to dedicate to these kinds of things?
Answering questions like these will help you to make the right decision on the type of dog you want and can correctly care for.
3. Meet and Greet
When you first go to your local dog shelter, keep an open mind. Shelters are loud overwhelming places for people and pooches so don’t judge a dog by first impression. Some dogs may seem extra hyper or more timid then they really are normally. I walked right past my dog a few times because he was literally jumping off the walls of his kennel and I didn’t think I could handle that much excitement. Luckily my friend convinced me to take him for a walk and after getting him outside he instantly calmed down and I could see what a weird little sweetheart he was. Your best to find a dog or two you like and take them outside to get to know them. Most dogs will act more natural once outside and you’ll be able to see their true personalities.
4. Get to Know Your Furry Friend
Once you find a pup that you like, spend lots of time to make sure you’re compatible. If you have another dog(s) at home already, bring them in to meet the new dog before adopting. It’s not safe for the dogs, you or your family to keep two dogs that don’t get along in the same home. Many shelters have a 24 hour hold period on dogs and if they do, take advantage. Come back a second time and bring a close friend or family member to meet the dog. It’s always a good idea to see how the dog interacts with others. If you’re ever in question, just follow your instincts. I knew with in the first 20 minutes with Rocko that he was meant to be mine. When you know, you know!
5. Transition Period
After bringing your new furry friend home, allow time for everyone to get adjusted. A new environment is a big change for most dogs and it will take them some time to get used to it. Get your house ready for the new pup by picking up cords and other things you don’t want chewed on and be prepared for accidents even from house trained dogs. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t go well right away. It may take a few weeks or months but with time, everyone will settle in to the routine of your home and you’ll have a new pal to make lots of new memories with for years to come!