Adopting a dog is really the way to go if you want a new furry friend around the house, but it’s not as easy as bringing in your new pal and playing around. You’ll really need to prepare yourself and everything you own to be possibly demolished or at the very least knocked over before you introduce them to their new environment. I’ve compiled a fool proof list of a few things to do before you take the leap, and as a recent dog owner, I highly recommend listening to me.
Get Them Stuff and Put it All in One Place
You’;ll need a few things to make your dog comfortable in the house, so make sure you’re not getting those things last minute or once the dog is already in the house wondering where his toys and bed are. You’ll need some grooming supplies, possibly a pet gate, toys and a leash at the very least. Possibly training pads and plenty of cleaner for any nasty business that appears in the house.
Prepare the Fort
A lot like baby proofing, you’ll have to make sure the entire environment is safe for the animal. Walk through the house and put away anything that will be harmful or be harmed itself by a curious dog sticking his nose around. Anything you can imagine being chewed up will be chewed up, so get all that together too.
Discuss everything with the people who share your household with you. Who will do the feeding, walking, and majority of the training. Make sure any animals you have at home are up to date on all their shots and all that too. If you’ve got any cats or other animals in the area, designate an area the cat or small animal can retreat to, giving them a way to feel safe when they aren’t ready to interact. Sounds like overkill, but trust me, it helps. Speaking of which:
Give your Dog a Safe Space
Make a private space for the new pup while you’re at it. Some people go with good old fashioned dog crates (I think cages or anything similar is totally messed up personally, but people swear by them) but I would suggest just blocking off an extra corner or room that’s gated off, if possible. You should go in there and interact with them if they’re retreating a bit, but keep others away as much as you can until they totally adjust.
Introduce them to Family Quick
The Animal Rescue League recommends bringing family, or people who will interact with the animal regularly, to the dog one by one. This way you get to control and supervise the interaction, because some pups can get super terratorial when they don’t know who they’re dealing with. It’s your job to help them make freinds with everyone and make it clear that they should be able to be comfortable around this person. Eventually you’ll find that you no longer have to do this, as your animal will become more and more personable.
Start Training Asap
Even adult dogs who have been housebroken before are going to need a little training. Start working on obedience training asap, make sure they stop when you stop, and are at least willing to react to you calling them. Reward them when you do, don’t when they don’t. It can be that simple. For more complicated pets and environments, try to be available while the housebreaking process begins, take a few days off or schedule your adoption around a weekend. IF you want to go out with them often, you can even train them to be an exercise partner.
They don’t call dogs man’s best friend for no reason, they are the most loyal, useful, and intelligent pet you can get (nothing against cats, I love cats). Treat them right and be prepared for things to change a little the moment you open the door.
Find your local adoption centers and go out, take a look. You’d be surprised how hard some organizations work to keep these dogs safe, clean, and healthy while they wait for a new home. Even if you don’t bring anyone home, you’ll be glad you did.
Image Credit: Kat Jayne