We made it. We survived the chaos of another holiday season. Our fingers are calloused from the endless wrapping and shopping, and our voices are still a little hoarse from holiday parties and family time. With a great sigh, the red and green lights, tinsel and ornaments have been pulled up into the attic where they will patiently be until next holiday season.
According to statistics, dog adoption increases exponentially surrounding this time. Family’s adopt pets for the holidays, boyfriends get their girlfriends a new furry friend, and it seems that everyone wants to bring a pet pal into the new year!
Unfortunately, that is why this time is also correlated to a profound increase in dog abandonment and return to dog shelters. If you are one of those people that have decided to adopt a dog recently, here are some ideas that will make the transition from shelter to home successful.
Adopting a dog is both rewarding and challenging. In all circumstances the new pet owner is changing (in most cases saving) the life of an innocent pup. The new owner is able to decide what age they want, and also to choose from a diverse range of breeds at a significantly reduced price compared to breeders. What could be better?
In this day and age, it seems that adopting a pet is as easy as online shopping. With a click of a button you’ve got your new friend! But while there are many benefits and rewards to adopting a shelter dog, there are also many very important things to consider.
Understand your commitment:
Before you even make your first visit to the shelter to look for a pup you must truly understand just how much a dog really needs in order to be properly taken care of. Although it can be easy to fall in love with every pup you see at the shelter, adopting a dog takes serious work and commitment. It should come as no surprise that pups also live a long time. Although right now might seem like the perfect time, make sure you are in it for the long hall!
Okay, so you have made your decision. You have visited and played with your new pup at the shelter and have decided on the one to bring home. What now? Before bringing him/her home, it is important to establish boundaries and rules.
—Where are they going to sleep in the comforts of your home?
—Will they be allowed on the couch?
—Where will they be fed and at what times of day?
—Do you want them to be crate trained?
—Where will they be spending most of their time?
—Who will walk them everyday and give them the love and care they deserve?
Make sure that everyone in your home is onboard and understands these boundaries, so there is no confusion once your new friend is brought home.
Dog proof your house:
It is important that you have all the essentials needed before your pup comes home. Dog bed(s), a large-comfy crate (if you are crate training), dog bowl, water dish, leash, collar and some chew toys. Also be sure to put away anything accessible and easily breakable or chewable. This is just a precaution for the first few days, when the pup is first establishing where everything is.
Have you ever moved to a new place? Remember how stressful that was? Your new pup feels the same way. It is a time of acclimating and getting used to his/her new home. The pup may suddenly acquire a new found energy that you were not aware of. Or they may be acting more afraid and shy then they were at the shelter you adopted them from. Give them space and time to get used to their new home. For the first month let them run, sniff, and roll as they begin to assimilate into this new space. Be patient. It may be a few weeks before they show you their authentic and fun-loving personality.
Create a schedule:
This schedule should include walks, feeding times, and potty time. This will allow your dog to acclimate to his/her new home more quickly. It will also show your friend what is expected of them and will show them what they can expect from you. Creating a schedule will generate an unbreakable owner-pet bond that is rooted in trust and respect.
Understand that adopting a pup comes with challenges and that should be expected and accepted. Your new pup may show signs of aggression, anxiety, and may appear to be more skittish than you initially thought. That is common and okay. Understand that this is all part of the pet adoption process. If you are introducing this new pet to another furry friend, let them establish their boundaries. Recognize that adopting a pup takes patience and time. They will be a part of the family before you know it!
If you are someone you know is following these tips, Congrats! You and your new furry family member are about to embark on a beautiful adventure full of long walks, happy barks, and years of unadulterated love and companionship. The Wiggleless team wishes you and your new pal the best!
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Author: Taylor Luckenbach is a senior at UC Santa Cruz. An animal lover and outdoor enthusiast, Taylor is currently interning for adventuresportsjournal.com/. Taylor enjoys yoga, music, writing, and being in the company of dogs.