Getting a dog is always a big decision that should be well-thought-out – even more if you decide to adopt a shelter dog.
It is a myth that all rescue and shelter pets were victims of abuse. People need to give away their furry friends for various reasons; then, there are also the results of unexpected pregnancies.
However, your chosen dog may have a complicated history, so you have to be sure that you are up for the challenge. The worst thing you can do to a dog is to give it away (again).
But the effort will definitely be worth it, as you will gain a loyal and loving friend for life. So, to help you get through a decision-making process, we present you with an article on everything you need to know when you want to get a dog from a shelter or rescue group.
Make Sure Everyone Is Ready for a Dog
Having a dog will require many resources from your part, both in terms of time and money. Training, nutrition, dog health care, grooming, exercising – all of that always requires a lot of engagement. And when you add any behavioral or health issues, it will only get more engaging.
If you don’t live alone, you need to talk it through with all members of your household – everyone has to be on board with this decision. If you have children and are not sure how it will go for all of you, it may be better to become a foster family for a dog first. This way, you will help rescue dogs and see how you manage before you decide to give a forever home to a pet.
Dogs Don’t End up in Shelters Because They Are Bad or Were Abused
It is extremely rare to encounter a truly bad dog. In most of these cases, it is the owner who turns out not to be ready for the challenge. Many people romanticize having dogs, especially adopted ones, and they don’t consider all the effort and responsibilities that come with pets.
Other cases include families whose life situations change suddenly – someone leaves or passes away, the financial situation gets worse, or they are forced to change their lodgings.
What’s more, even when during your trip to a shelter you only see dogs barking loudly and running around anxiously, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will do the same once they’re home with you. Even the best shelter with the most caring caretakers is an extremely stressful environment. It is more likely that a dog simply needs some peace and quiet than that it has serious behavioral issues.
All Shelter Animals Are Evaluated
Adopting a dog is not at all like buying a pig in the poke, because all shelter pets are carefully vetted for behavioral and health problems.For example, you may find a pet with digestive problems, and you will have to invest in special grain-free, low phosphorus, or high fiber dog food.
It is true that many shelter animals come with baggage and may suffer from a variety of issues because of their past, but you will always more or less know what you’re signing up for. It will allow you to decide whether you’re up to it, calculate if you can afford it, and prepare beforehand.
It can turn out to be more beneficial than getting a dog from a breeder who usually doesn’t evaluate their pets.
Shelter Dogs Need Time to Get Used to a New Home
It is common for a new pet to experience anxiety or any other trouble after moving to a new home. It is especially shocking for a dog adopted from a shelter, so don’t worry if it seems a little shy or scared at first. However, you should always be sure that your new dog feels at ease and safe.
That’s why it’s essential to prepare the whole house before a pet arrives – remove the potential obstacles, make all the necessary arrangements, buy food and dog equipment, etc. And, most importantly, give it time and don’t try to rush anything.
You Will Need to Take It Easy in the Beginning
For dogs from shelters, it is a big enough event to be taken to a new environment. So, while you may feel enthusiastic to try all the exciting games with your dog and take it for long-awaited adventures, it would be a good idea to start small.
A dog may feel overwhelmed, and the exciting activities will work as triggers. Try spending some time at home together in the beginning. Don’t invite too many people, especially with their own pets, and avoid introducing your dog to more new places, like a park.
Separation Anxiety Is Real
Separation anxiety is very common in the case of adoption. After all, these are very often dogs that already were abandoned in life, so they may freak out a little whenever you leave them at home on their own.
Don’t panic, as this reaction is not at all rare, but you will need to make some effort to help your new furry friend. All it needs is a bit of training.
It would be best to begin with shorter periods – you can put some music on and leave your pet with some engaging toys. Then, start extending the periods of its alone time.
Once dogs see that their owners come back every time they leave, they become more at ease with their absence.
Dogs are undoubtedly easy to love and can be a constant source of joy. However, you mustn’t ever forget that they come with a set of responsibilities, too. All pets have their own needs and requirements that should be met so that they can thrive. So, do everyone a favor and be absolutely sure that you are ready to adopt a dog – it is even more important when you consider getting it from an animal shelter. Talk to your family, consider all the aspects of having an animal, know your options and contact a shelter in your area – its workers will also be happy to help you make the b