Adopting a dog can bring great joy into your life, but it also brings great responsibility. Pet ownership is a serious matter that requires your undivided attention and a great deal of patience, especially for rescues. Keep these five essential points in mind when preparing to adopt a dog.
1. All Rescue Shelters Are Different
Adoption might seem like the more ethical and admirable choice, but that’s not always the case. Some rescue shelters have better reputations than others, which could affect your dog’s temperament. A shelter that takes good care of its animals is more likely to have even-tempered and happy dogs. On the other hand, a place with poor facilities could contain untrusting and aggressive animals.
Research the different shelters in your area to find the most reputable option. Your first adopted pet should come from a respected shelter with a history of fostering well-fed and well-behaved animals. Finding the right dog can save you precious time and effort that you otherwise would’ve spent trying to undo bad habits.
2. Rescues Come With Extra Challenges
Your rescue might have basic training skills, but it can still come with extra behavioral challenges from its previous owner(s). They can suffer from separation anxiety, resource guarding or spontaneous bathroom accidents that stem from past trauma. You can’t expect your rescue to accept its new environment right away. The adjustment will take time.
Rescues also tend to have more health issues compared to dogs from breeders. Past physical abuse could leave them with significant scars and deformities. They also might have developed diseases from poor living conditions. You must be prepared to handle these issues with respect and grace.
3. Your Dog Should Fit Your Household
You should adopt a dog that fits your household. Size is the most obvious factor, but each breed has its own unique characteristics and behavioral traits. Some are loud and confident, while others are timid and scared by outside noises. Your home and its surroundings should allow your dog to thrive.
Suppose you want to adopt a bigger breed, like a german shepherd or a rottweiler. Can your home accommodate such a large animal? Do you have the outdoor space to create a comfortable environment for them? Are you prepared to face the unique challenges of feeding, training, grooming and nurturing that specific breed? Your home has to meet your dog’s needs in every facet of its life.
You should also account for your family’s needs. Would you benefit from a strong and protective breed, or do you just want a small dog for the kids to play with? Would you like to train a dog from scratch or adopt one who already knows basic commands? Make sure you address the needs of both the pet and your household.
4. Dogs Are Expensive Commitments
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they’re expensive commitments. Pet expenses can overwhelm new owners if they get caught unprepared. You can expect to add these costs to your budget:
- Adoption fee
- Spay/Neuter procedure
- Annual vet visits and vaccinations
- Prescription medication
- Grooming supplies
- Extra house and vehicle cleaning products
- Collars, leashes, toys and other miscellaneous items
Your dog might also require special expenses, such as training classes or physical therapy. It could damage walls, furniture, clothing and other objects around the house. Dogs are unpredictable animals, so you must have a flexible budget!
5. Training & Exercise Are Non-Negotiables
Physical activity is paramount to a dog’s health and happiness. They need plenty of time outdoors and mental stimulation through human interaction. As the owner, you must give your dog sufficient training and exercise every day.
Start with two daily 30-minute walks and fit them into your schedule as needed. Dogs don’t care when or why they get to go outside; they love the outdoors no matter the time or occasion. Take it to local parks to play with other dogs. Bring your friend on extended outdoor trips to create lasting memories. You might have to give it a longer bath, but these outdoor activities will contribute to your dog’s mental and physical health in the long run.
Your family can either train the dog or send it to a six-week training school. In either case, training is a lifelong commitment. It doesn’t stop after the dog learns basic obedience and indoor behaviors. Build on those habits and teach your dog more complex commands as it gets older. There’s always something new to learn.
Adopting a Dog Will Change Your Life
You may not know it now, but you’re preparing to make a life-changing decision. Adopting a dog will challenge you in many ways. It will teach you responsibility, patience, organization and many other qualities. You will have to adjust your lifestyle and schedule to meet your dog’s needs. A dog is a serious commitment, but it will give you a best friend and make you a better person.
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