Adopting a dog is a huge commitment that comes with plenty of rewards. But, before adopting your pup, there are few things to do before, during, and after taking them home.
Here are some helpful tips for preparing your home for a newly adopted dog.
Make sure you are fully prepared to welcome a dog into your home.
Bringing home a new animal is not a decision one should make lightly.
Adopting a pet is making a commitment to care for an animal for the rest of his life, and according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), that could mean 10 to 15 years for dogs.
Think about major life changes that could likely happen in your future, whether it’s moving across the country or having children. With those in mind, consider if you’d still be able to care for a pet.
Ask about the dog’s past behaviours.
There are certain qualities about the dog that will typically be written down and provided to you if you ask, including notes on their friendliness, eating behaviours, and activity levels.
Some shelters may also be able to provide information about the dog’s experience with its previous owners. This could bring up any potential problems like if they have previously shown aggression toward other dogs, have general behavioural issues resulting from past abuse or have allergies.
Research information about your dog’s breed.
In addition to inquiring about the dog’s backstory, make sure to research information about the breed of your dog, or multiple breeds if your dog is mixed-breed.
According to the Humane Society of Texas, you can predict the size, temperament, and appearance of many mixed-breed dogs. All you need is knowledge about their ancestry.
Doing your research can help you to predict potential health issues and lifestyle-requirements for the pup.
Buy supplies in advance.
On their official website,The Humane Society offers helpful guidelines for welcoming a new dog to your home. The first step starts with simply preparing your house with the right necessities.
“You’ll need a collar and leash, food and water bowls, food, and, of course, some toys,” the organisation wrote. “And don’t forget to order an identification tag right away.”
Dog-proof your home, especially if you’re bringing home a young dog.
Like new parents baby-proofing a new house, new dog owners should do the same when bringing home any dog, especially a younger one.
This entails keeping your trash can out of reach, covering electrical cords, removing any poisonous house plants, and moving any medications and dangerous household items to higher cabinets.
Even if your dog is older, it’s a good idea to take a look around and see if there’s anything that they could easily break or chew.
If you already have a dog, consider bringing it to the shelter to meet its new family member.
If you are an experienced pet owner, you may want to bring your dog, or dogs, to the shelter to meet the one you plan to adopt.
“Most places require you to bring your dog,” Madeline Bernstein, the president of SPCA Los Angeles, told NBC. “They get an idea whether they’re coping with each other. Occasionally the situation shows it’s a bad idea, [but] most of the time it works out and helps with an introduction.”
Try not to overwhelm your new pet when picking it up.
“Dog Whisperer” behaviorist Cesar Millan advised new pet owners to stay calm throughout the entire shelter to home process.
“When you pick the dog up, everyone must remain calm,” Millan recommended in his blog. “It can be tempting to greet the new family member with excitement, but this is not the time to do it. You’re about to remove the dog from a place that’s become familiar and take her to somewhere entirely new.”
Take your dog on a long walk.
Millan also suggests taking your dog on a long walk to help them adjust to their surroundings.
“This serves two purposes,” said Millan. “It will help drain her excess energy and bring her to a calm state, and it will get her used to the new smells, sights, and sounds.”
Give the dog some space.
Because they’re entering a new environment, your new dog may be shy when they first enter your home.
“Shelters recommend leaving shy animals alone to get used to their new home on their own terms, which means not following the pet around as they explore,” wrote Lauren Coffey of Clear the Shelters.
Coffey also warned that even housebroken dogs can urinate inside the house when nervous, so keep an eye out for any anxious behaviours, and consider buying a pee pad or two.
Find a veterinarian you trust.
Before you bring your dog home, you may want to do some research to find a local veterinarian who you can trust.
And, especially for young dogs, booking an appointment shortly after bringing your dog home can be useful. You can make sure your pup is up to date on all of their vaccinations and also get them acquainted with going to the vet.
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