You’ve made the decision to adopt a dog, now the work begins. Having a plan can make the difference between a rough transition and an exciting one.
1. Consider Your Lifestyle
A dog can seriously disrupt things, especially if you pick the wrong breed or temperament. Rather than seeking out a dog that looks a certain way, do some research on different breeds, and see how each one aligns with how you live your life. Take the time to make a short list of the breeds that will work for you and your lifestyle and start researching to learn about temperament, health concerns, and needs.
2. Choose Your Adoption Agency
If you’re looking for a specific breed, you can start by looking at local rescues. Rescue agencies may also be able to bring a dog in for you from another location. If your dog has been transported from another city, state, or country consider having some CBD oil for dogs on hand when you bring them home to help ease their transition. You can also check your local shelters or humane society. Shelters often have a good selection of ages, dispositions, breeds and sizes. This is also a great place to start if you prefer a mixed-breed dog.
3. Get Your House Ready
Whenever possible, preparing your house before bringing a new dog into your home is ideal. It’s stressful enough for them to make the transition, but if you’re also scurrying around trying to figure stuff out rather than paying attention to them, it can be more confusing and add unnecessary tension to a time that should be exciting. Walking into your home with food and water bowls already in place, a crate with a comfy bed situated somewhere quiet, poop bags and a filled treat pouch by the door, and a designated location for collars, leashes, etc. can make a world of difference in how prepared you feel and the welcome you’re able to give your dog.
4. Know Your Expectations
Will your dog sleep on the bed or in a crate? Will they be allowed on the furniture? Are there rooms that will be off-limits? How do you want them to greet guests? Where do you want them to go to let you know they have to go potty? The more you know in advance, the better you’ll be able to enforce your expectations from the beginning. It may seem mean but consistency will pay off in the long run. If you have a family or roommates be sure to communicate your expectations and how you want those boundaries enforced. Get everyone in the household on the same page, then batten down the hatches for the first blink of those puppy eyes.
5. Find a Time You’ll Be Home a Couple Days
New home, new smells, new rules, new people. It’s a lot to get used to and can be incredibly overwhelming for a dog of any age. If at all possible, try to bring your dog home when you’re going to be around for a while. A couple of days is nice, longer is better. This allows you to bond, but also builds their confidence in their new surroundings and helps you establish clear boundaries and expectations.
6. Stay in Touch with the Adoption Agency
Adoption agencies want your relationship with your dog to work. It’s hard on the dog and the agency when someone takes on a dog and then returns them for some reason. If you’re having issues getting settled, talk to them. A reputable agency should be able to provide tips and tricks, and possibly free or reduced-cost training to help work through any issues you may encounter.
Adopting a new dog is exciting and can feel a little overwhelming. Take your time to find the right fit, ask a lot of questions, and then enjoy the process of getting to know your dog. The reward of a faithful companion is worth the effort.