Adopting a Dog: Tips for Success

Lauren Corona
by Lauren Corona
Start things off on the right paw with your rescue dog with these tips for success

If you decide to adopt a dog, you obviously want everything to go as smoothly as possible and end up a resounding success. Before you can even get a dog home, you’ll have to be successful in your application to adopt. This shouldn’t be too hard, but it’s once you’ve got your new pooch home that the real fun starts. Some dogs will happily settle into their new home without so much as a howl, but other dogs need lots of love and support during this transition period.

Jumping Through Hoops

If you want your application to adopt to be successful, you have to be prepared to jump through a few hoops. Metaphorically, that is, there’s generally no fitness test! Remember that rescue dogs have often been through a lot, so the staff at the shelter just want to make sure that they’re going to a loving, forever home, with an owner who is a good match for their needs. Make sure you answer any and all questions they ask you thoroughly. You should also expect to have a home visit, this is so they can make sure you are who you say you are and aren’t just hoping to make off with a rescue dog, never to be seen again, and is also to make sure that your home and garden are suitable for the dog you want to adopt.

Give Her Some Space

Moving is stressful enough for people, but your new dog has the added bonus of not knowing where she is or why she’s moved to a new place. Therefore, when she first arrives, she’ll need some time and space to settle in. That’s not to say you should completely ignore her, but you should let her take things at her own pace. Designate a quiet corner (but in an area of the house you spend a lot of time in) and put her bed there, so she can retreat to it if she feels overwhelmed. If she comes up to you looking to play or for some fuss, by all means oblige her, but don’t keep petting her if she wants some space. Of course you want to show off your new furkid, but for the first few days, you should strictly limit the amount of visitors who come into the house.

Stick to a Schedule

You can imagine how confusing things can be for a rescue dog. Your new pooch may well have been passed from pillar to post before ending up at the shelter. Now you’re offering her a permanent home, but she doesn’t know that yet. To help her settle in, you should stick to a schedule, with regular walks and feeding times, so she knows what to expect. With a regular schedule, she’ll more quickly get used to the swing of things in her new home.

Bonding With Your Dog

A lot of rescue pups have trust issues, so it’s important to try to bond with your new four-legged friend. There are all kinds of ways you can improve the bond between you and your pooch, so it’s best if you can give a few different methods a go, or combine a bit of everything. One of the easiest ways to do this is simply to spend a lot of time with your new dog, touching, stroking and just hanging out with her. Gentle grooming sessions are also a great idea, as many dogs find being brushed extremely enjoyable. Training your pup to obey some simple commands or going to an obedience training class can also be an ideal way of bonding. Just be sure to use positive reinforcement training methods, where good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior is ignored. Playing interactive games, such as fetch and tug-of-war, go a long way toward showing your new dog that you’re a fun and awesome person to be with.

Lauren Corona
Lauren Corona

Lauren Corona is a freelance writer from merry old England. She specializes in writing about dogs and other critters. Lauren lives near Oxford, with her gorgeous Doberman, Nola. When she's not tapping away at the keyboard, you'll find her walking in the woods with Nola-dog, raising money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, cooking vegan food, making zines and writing about herself in the third person.

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