If you are thinking about adopting an older dog, instead of getting a young puppy, then it can be such a rewarding time. But with the fact that the dog could be older, as well as already lead quite a difficult life, can bring with it different challenges than if you had a puppy right from birth. But don’t let that put you off! Adopted dogs can be so loving, and really crave the love and warmth of a family. So it can be a lovely thing to do. To help you prepare, here are some tips to help you get your relationship and life with your new pet off on the right foot.
Through the process of adopting a dog, it can be a good idea to make plans ahead of time. One of the things that can be a pretty big decision is the choice of how you will choose to train your dog. Read up on the different styles of training that you can do, and the different pros and cons of each of them. How about clicker training, for example? Do you know enough about it to be able to start it when you bring your puppy home? The same goes for other positive reinforcement techniques; what will work the best for you? You need to make a plan ahead of time, so that you can start it from day one of picking up your new dog.
Making a plan for the kind of food that they will eat, as well as the sleeping arrangements can be a good idea too. Talk to where you are adopting the dog from and see what has been working well for them. Will a kennel be too traumatic for a dog that could have encountered being locked up? Would being in the same room as you be better for them? What the benefits of dry dog food versus wet dog food? What kind of vitamins for older dogs are the best? All of these kinds of questions need an answer before you can bring your new dog home.
While having a plan in place is a good idea, it can also be a good idea to be pretty flexible when it comes to your dog. Dogs, just like us, are living beings and will have ideas and a mind of their own. If they don’t like something, then it is important to listen and adapt to change things to make it better for them. So don’t get too rigid in your mind about how you will do things. The transition period can take a while, so have a good sense of humor and go with the flow. Planning just helps you to be armed with knowledge and ideas to make things go the best way that they can. But you can deviate from the plan if your dog needs you to.
Get The Basics
There are some basics that you need to get in the house before you have a dog to come and live with you. Bedding or a crate for them to sleep in is really important from day one, so they know that they have somewhere to call their own. A lead for walking your dog is a good idea, as well as bowls for their food and water. Other things like chew toys, balls to throw on walks, and poop-scooping equipment or bags can be a good idea to have in so that they are ready to go. Another essential to have ready for your dog from day one is having an ID tag and collar. They should wear it as soon as you have them home, just in case they will ever get out or run off. So it should have your details on there, so that the dog can be identified and brought home in an emergency situation.
Set Family Rules
If there is only you, then you can just use trial and error to see how things go. But if you have a partner or children that are going to be around for the dog, then you need to decide on some rules for you all to agree on. Who will be walking the dog and when? How you will play with your dog and what is the safest ways to do things is a good thing to decide, especially if you have children and you’ve not had dogs here before. Even small things that not wanting the dog on the sofa is something that needs to be decided ahead of time, and something that you need to get everyone on board for.
When you have a new dog that has been adopted, then you need to be consistent with everything that you do. Your dog will have likely to have had a life that hasn’t had consistency, but really, it is something that we all crave. So stick to a routine and be consistent. Choose feeding times, as well as walks and the number of them that you have. Some things will change from time to time, but as a rule, stick to the routine and be consistent with training, rewards, and discipline. It will make a big difference to how your dog’s settling in process goes.
Slowly Introduce New People
As an adopted dog, they are likely to have become wary of people, especially in large numbers. So if you wanted to invite all of your friends round, as soon as your new dog is home, then it can be a bad choice. Too many new people can be overwhelming to your dog, especially as they will hardly know you and their environment will be new too. So take your time to settle them in, and make sure that you make time to get to know your dog and bond, one on one.
Have you thought about adopting a dog before? It would be great to hear your thoughts and experiences of this process.