There are a variety of ways to adopt a dog. Someone may pay a breeder for a pure bloodline, get a dog at a pet store, rescue a dog from a kill or non-kill dog pound or shelter, or rescue a stray dog from the city streets.
Here is a list of 6 tips for people who have just adopted a dog and are trying to make the adjustment as easy as possible for their new canine family member.
Before adopting a dog, know which training method to use such as clicker training or other positive-reinforcement techniques. Research dog care and nutrition in advance and decide which food to feed the dog. Most dogs eat once or twice a day.
While it’s good to be prepared, remember that the new dog is a living being with a mind of its own, and it will express preferences that run counter to the owner’s. If the sound of the clicker scares it, a different training method will need to be selected.
Maintain a sense of humor and try not to get frustrated. This transition period for everyone won’t last forever. Take it slow by getting into a routine that works, then start introducing new people, pets, and places after having a chance to bond over the first week or two.
Set some ground rules and see that the family agrees to follow them. For example, if it’s decided not to let the dog on the sofa, all the training in the world won’t help if a child lets it sit there when no one else is home.
Over the first few days or weeks, the new dog will be going through a period of adjustment. There may be some symptoms of anxiety, including a lack of appetite and loss of control over bowel habits. The dog may even hide under or behind furniture or stay in one particular room for a few days. Don’t be worried about it; this is not abnormal behavior.
Spend some quiet time with the dog every day, petting it gently and speaking in a soothing tone of voice. Touch can be an incredibly powerful method of communication, one that is almost impossible to misunderstand. Show the dog it’s cared for and safe.
Schedule a first visit to the dog’s new veterinarian during the first week, or immediately upon adoption if there are other pets in home and the new dog is ill. Bring any all medical and vaccine records given by the shelter or rescue from where the dog was adopted.
Dog companionship can be a very rewarding experience for everyone in the household, including the dog. When placing a new pet in the home, it will take time and patience for everyone to adjust but when they do, loving and rewarding relationships with the new dog will develop.