October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! Tips for Bringing Home a Shelter Dog

September 29, 2022 2 min read

BEFORE You Bring Home Your Shelter Dog:

Deciding to adopt a pet is a significant commitment. It can be an exciting time filled with worries, anxieties, and questions! Consider a few of these tips before you bring home your new pup:

  • It’s essential to puppy or dog-proof your house and yard. Whether your new dog is an only child or has siblings, it’s a good practice to walk through these areas regularly to ensure there are no hazards. Exposed electrical wires, gaps in fencing, or other objects may be hard for your new puppy to resist chewing or investigating.
  • You’ll want all the necessities purchased and ready for your pet's first day home, including food, water, food dishes, leashes and collars, ID tags,  and an appropriate-sized crate.
  • Consistency with any pet is essential. Make sure everyone in the family is on the same page. Establish ground rules everyone agrees to follow. Who will be the primary caretaker? Who will be responsible for feeding, walking, bathing, and training?
  • Designate a quiet, “safe” space (or two) for your dog to retreat to when they are feeling overwhelmed. Try to avoid high-traffic areas, if possible. A tucked away, quiet place with a crate is ideal. If possible, place the crate in an area where it can be monitored.
  • Toys and bones are great, but avoid them for the first few months. This is especially important if you have other pets or children. Allow your dog time to acclimate to their new life. Resource guarding could inadvertently cause an upsetting situation for your new dog.

Gotcha Day!

You’ve found the perfect addition to your family and the day you’ve waited for! Your dog's first day in their new forever home! It seems you’ve been prepping for so long.

On day one, take your dog for a tour of his new home and yard, and introduce them to their “safe space.” Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for an initial meet and greet and health check as soon as possible. 

In all of the excitement, it may be tempting to introduce them to everyone, but as hard as it may be, hold off. 

It has been said, “Shelter pets need to be protected, not tested.” 

Give your new pet time to acclimate to his new life, family,  surroundings, and other pets in the home before any big outings or introducing them to large crowds. This is the best time for you to get to know each other and establish a solid and loving bond. You can help them further by providing consistency. Be consistent with feeding times, walks, potty breaks, training, and bedtime. This will help your pet feel safe, secure, and loved.

Remember, this loving creature has been living in a shelter, possibly bounced around from home to home, and is likely feeling a little stressed, overwhelmed, and uncertain. Set everyone up for success and have realistic expectations. Love alone is not enough, but with time, consistency, positive reinforcement, patience, and understanding, you’re on your way to changing lives and sharing an unbreakable bond with this unique animal.  

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