Adopting a Dog from a Rescue Shelter
So you want to adopt a dog? That is so amazing! Adopting a dog is very exciting, both for you and your new family member. Dog adoption is not only a great service to the dog you are bringing home, it is also helpful for the community at large. Rescue shelters in the U.S. are overcrowded and euthanization rates for healthy dogs are depressingly high. However, adopting a dog from an animal shelter or dog rescue has it’s own special challenges when compared with bringing home a puppy from a breeder. There are some very important things to make sure you do if you decide dog adoption is the right thing for you, and some things you will want to make sure don’t happen.
The Do’s and Don’ts in Dog Adoption
Dog Adoption Do’s:
- Do give your new puppy some time to relax. It’s always very tempting to follow our new family members around and hover over them while they explore their new home. Remember that an adopted dog may not be used to being around people so much, so give them some space and let them come to you.
- Do give your dog a safe space to nap. A crate works really well for this. Leave the door open to introduce your new dog to it and let them explore. The crate is their special space where they can get away from everything and rest.
- Do sign your dog up for classes right away. The faster you get into training and learn to communicate with each other, the better your life together will be. A Foundations class is always a good place to start.
- Do take frequent long leisurely walks with your dog. An adopted dog came from somewhere else, so they have spent some time getting used to those other surroundings. Help your dog settle into their new neighborhood by exploring with them on some nice slow walks.
- Do put your dog in their crate, or a safe room, before leaving them alone. Remember, your new dog may not know how to live in a house. You don’t want to rely on the adopted puppy knowing what they can and cannot do right off the bat. Building those expectations will take time.
- Do listen to the pet adoption shelter staff and rescue volunteers about your dog’s personality. Once you have made the decision to adopt a dog, who better to teach you about your new puppy than the people who have been caring for it? Typically they have been working with the dog for a long time, and they may have great insights into the kind of dog you will be living with.
Dog Adoption Don’ts:
- Don’t expect your new puppy to come home knowing anything in particular. Even if the animal rescue or adoption shelter swears that your dog is house trained, crate trained, and already knows how to socialize, the adopted dog’s behavior may change once they arrive in their new home. Things will go much faster and be less stressful if you start from scratch.
- Don’t expect your new dog to bond with you instantly. It takes time to build a relationship of trust between you and your adopted puppy, sometimes weeks, sometimes months. Dog training is a huge help with this as well, anything from basic obedience to silly tricks can help build a bond with your new family member.
- Don’t assume that just because you love your new dog, all the other animals in your house will. Introductions to your other four legged family members should happen in a neutral area. It is always a good idea to give them plenty of time separate from each other. Let them take their time to adjust to one another, and don’t push them into being friends. They need time to develop a bond, just like you and your puppy need bonding time.
- Don’t be surprised if your dog’s personality and behavior changes as time goes on. The first year with your dog will be a big adventure in getting to know each other. As your dog gets comfortable, you will see more and more of their true personality come out, and you may see new behavior problems pop up as well.
- Don’t get too hung up on what everyone else’s dog can do. Learn to celebrate victories that are important to your dog. For one dog, earning a title in Obedience may be a victory. For a fearful dog, like mine, simply making it through a group class and sitting a couple of times could be a huge achievement. Either way, it’s something worth celebrating!
- Most important of all, DON’T forget to enjoy every moment with your new family member! And don’t forget that the trainers and staff at DogBoy’s are here to help you with all your new adopted puppy’s needs.
“Where should I adopt a dog?”
There are several great animal rescues and adoptions shelters doing amazing work in the Texas area. There are rescue groups in Austin and most large Texas cities for almost every popular breed. Even rescues that are out of state will ship to the right person if the weather isn’t too warm. If you are in Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Georgetown, Bastrop, or other Central Texas locations and you would like to adopt a dog, we typically recommend our clients and friends talk to the following organizations first:
- Austin Humane Society
- Austin Dog Rescue
- Texas Humane Heroes
- Austin Animal Center
- Austin Pets Alive!
- Blue Dog Rescue
- Pflugerville Pfurry Pfriends
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