Adopting a Dog and Making It Your Family
There’s no denying the joy and excitement induced by the idea of adopting a new furry friend. A pet will enrich your life in ways that no human can. The sense of fulfillment that you achieve from opening your home and heart to another creature is priceless.
In the flurry of enthusiasm around bringing a new pet home, we often forget that the pet is a living creature – not a toy or a houseplant.
You might have spent days or months convincing your family to adopt a dog, but did you really understand what an enormous commitment it is to be their guardian full-time?
Did you consider the amount of attention, energy, time, space, effort, and money you will need to invest in your new friend? Or, did you only think about the love that you would share with each other? If you thought this through – great! If not, you still have time.
Introducing a pet into your family and allowing both the family members and the pet to adjust to living with each other can be quite a challenging experience. The first few weeks are especially crucial, because this is the period when your dog might be scared and confused about its new surroundings.
If it’s a rescue dog, this period of adjustment is of paramount importance because the pet may well be hesitant about trusting its new guardians and the new environment. Your dog may be shy or lack confidence at first.
Bearing this in mind, you should set some ground-rules and structure, for both your family and your new dog so that the transition is smooth for all members of the household, including for the adopted pet.
Here are some basic things that you need to know before bringing a new dog into your life.
Responsible Ownership Starts Before Adoption
This is the single most important thing to do before you bring your furry friend home – think carefully about your current lifestyle. Take into account your schedule, future plans and commitments, and the values of your family and yourself.
Do you have the time or the scope to take care of another sentient being? A good understanding of all of these factors will allow you to choose the right kind of dog, and in the long run, will also enhance the compatibility between the pet, yourself, and your household.
We advise that you think about your own personality and living habits, then discuss your options with the adoption counselors at Rescue Village before you select a breed.
Each breed comes with its own unique characteristics. Knowing yourself well and understanding the nature of the breed or breed mix would facilitate the entire adoption process and allow you to create a good home for your new pet.
All in all, take the time to do research before and pick a dog that will complement your character and lifestyle. Please don’t make the mistake of choosing a dog only because you are attracted to its breed or the way it looks.
Would you pick your friends and family based on their external features? We’re sure you wouldn’t, so treat your new pet with the dignity that it rightfully deserves.
Turn Your Home into a Dog-Friendly One
Adopting a dog is akin to adopting a new member of the family, for life. Although your home might be a great living space for your family and yourself, is it a good space for a dog to thrive in?
Consider the floor space as well as the grounds in and around your house. Ensure that your landlord consents to you keeping a dog at home and that your family is open to the idea of cohabiting with another animal for its lifetime.
Consider the long-term changes that may occur in your life. Will you be moving home, will you be getting married and will your spouse be comfortable with sharing custody of your pet?
Whatever your living situation might be, pick a spot in your home where the dog will spend most of its time during the first few days with you. This is the time when your pet will be the most vulnerable and look for comfort in familiarity.
Think about where your dog will sleep, eat, go potty, and how you’d bathe it.
Make sure that you dog-proof your entire house, especially the room that is going to be its first habitat. Remove any chewable cords or electrical cables and tape them behind or above the cabinets, where the dog won’t be able to reach them.
De-clutter the floor space, store household chemicals and food away in locked shelves, remove flimsy houseplants and breakable knick-knacks, and if needed, use baby-gates.
Invest in the Right Products for Your New Family Member
Once you know the breed and the size of the dog you’re bringing home, buy a suitable dog-bed, which will keep your pet comfortable and cozy. Is it easy to wash?
Buy the essentials before bringing the pet home. A collar, leash, identity tag, food, some toys, dishes for food and water, and some grooming supplies like nail clippers, toothbrushes, combs, and cleaning products.
If you have a grueling schedule and want to take some stress off of managing the feeding time-table of your new pooch, invest in an automatic dog-feeder.
Once you’ve developed a routine with your dog, having an automatic feeder will ensure that it receives its sustenance on time every day.
Train Your Pooch Right and Have It Adhere to a Daily Routine
The key to rearing a happy dog is establishing clear boundaries and routines. Like humans, dogs respond to positive reinforcement rather than scolding or violence.
You should confer with the people in the shelter where you are adopting your pet from or previous owners regarding the training of your dog. Decide on a method before you bring the dog home and start setting rules and schedules from the moment the pooch enters its new abode.
This is crucial for having your dog behave and be house-trained.
Create a vocabulary list for you and your family to use when directing and training the dog. Schedule your dog’s feeds, toilet time, walks, and playtime in a manner that would allow you to stick to an identical routine every day. If that’s not possible, do the best you can.
Take your dog to the vet to have its physical and mental state assessed, and also vaccinate and de-bug the dog if required. Talk to your vet if you need added guidance regarding the food and exercise habits.
Remember, like any human family member, your new furry friend will also need an abundance of love, patience, compassion, and attention to help him or her flourish and make your family its own.
So, once you are ready to put in the effort and time, go ahead and adopt a furry friend that will love you for life. It’s totally worth the effort!