6 Mistakes to Avoid When Adopting a Dog
When you adopt a new dog, you could very well be saving a life – literally. No matter where he comes from, bringing home a new dog can be incredibly exciting but there are also some challenges you are likely to encounter. To make sure that you and your adopted friend adjust to your new lives together, avoid these top six mistakes.
- Rushing into it. When you visit a dog shelter it is easy to be overwhelmed by all of those sad, puppy dog eyes staring at you through the bars. At that moment, it is hard to believe that bringing home one of those needy dogs could be anything less than amazing, but it is a big decision that you should consider carefully before making. Think about whether you are really ready to get a dog and if you have the space, the time, and the money to devote to caring for him for the rest of his life.
- Going only for puppies. There is nothing more adorable than a puppy, that is for sure. But bringing home a new puppy is a major commitment of time and effort – you’ll need to housebreak him, socialize him, and train him, plus you’ll have to deal with puppy problems like chewing and having accidents in the house. Think about bringing home an adult or senior dog who may already be housebroken and trained and who is just as deserving of a home.
- Not getting to know the dog. The shelter environment can be very scary and stressful for dogs, so the way a dog acts at the shelter may not be the way he acts at home. Do not assume that just because a dog is calm and quiet at the shelter that he will stay that way once he settles in at home. Considering fostering the dog for a week to get to know his personality before you commit, just to make sure that it is the right situation for all involved.
- Assuming mixed breeds are the only option. Animal shelters around the country are overrun with mixed breed dogs, especially of the Pitbull type. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a purebred at a shelter. Dogs are abandoned for all kinds of reasons and if you have a particular breed in mind, give the shelter your name and contact information so they can get ahold of you if one comes in.
- Thinking it’s going to be easy. Bringing home a new dog is always going to be a challenge. Whether you are adopting a puppy or an older dog, it will take time for your new friend to adjust to his new home life and the two of you may go through some growing pains when it comes to your relationship. Be sure to give your new friend plenty of love but respect his need for space and quiet time if he is having a hard time making the adjustment.
- Not going to the vet. In many cases, dogs are turned over to the shelter with minimal background information – when you adopt a dog you won’t always know his history. Even though the shelter will give the dog an exam before adopting him out, you should still have him seen by your own veterinarian shortly after bringing him home and then you need to keep up with regular vet visits.
There is nothing more noble than giving an abandoned dog a new home, but adopting a dog is not always easy. There are certain challenges involved and you are going to make mistakes. But learning about the most common mistakes adopters make can help you to avoid them.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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