Who isn’t beaming with excitement when thinking about adopting a new dog? After all, dogs are fun, cute and loyal. Welcoming a dog into your home will mean changes for everyone in the household. Preparing for this will make the addition of your new friend much easier for you and him. Read the tips below to find out how to ease the transition of a new family member.
Know yourself and limitations. You need to be honest with yourself and how committed you will be. It is a long term commitment. All dogs have daily maintenance. Consider the space, emotional and financial investment that a new dog will require. For example, how much extra time do you have for feeding, playing, etc? Do you like to spend your time inside cuddling with a dog or outside playing or hiking? This will give you some idea of which breed will be better for you. What arrangements have to be made if you need to be out of town? How much extra money will it take to feed and provide medical care? Are you a neat freak? If so, then selecting a breed that is less messy is something to consider.
Research breeds that you may like. You need to consider how certain breeds fit into your home and lifestyle. For example, a large breed dog would probably not do well in a small apartment. A high energy dog needs a lot of exercise so a large yard or nearby dog park would be ideal.
Have a good idea of what you want. Before going to a shelter or browsing adoption sites, know what you do and do not want. For example, if you want to rescue a previously abused dog, know that and discuss with shelter staff. Ask for an older pet if you don’t want to go through training a puppy.
Go to your local shelters. Some shelters have websites that allow you to view the available dogs before going to a shelter. Be prepared as it can be an emotional experience to see so many pets needing a home. There are some centralized pet adoption databases where you can also search what might be a good fit for you.
Dog adoptions usually require paperwork and fees. The fees are usually go toward the costs of the rest of the pets at the shelter. Some agencies have certain requirements such as a fenced in yard, etc.
Use the shelter staff to answer your questions. The staff and volunteers usually know the pets that are there and their personalities. Some places offer a foster-to-adopt program or a grace period which is good if you aren’t sure if this is the right dog for you. Even after your take your dog home you can still contact the shelter staff if you need help. They are good resources to help find vets, trainers or groomers.
You will know when that dog is THE ONE. Don’t adopt on an impulse so take your time meeting the dogs and asking about them. If you are patient and stick with what you envision, when the right dog gives you that look—you will know it!