This wonderful guest post from Zara Lewis adds real weight to the title.
There is no doubt in my mind that hundreds of you good people out there love and care for dogs that were first seen in a dog shelter or rescue centre.
But at the same time, inevitably, there are those who want to learn more about adopting a dog.
Zara Lewis has written another guest post that is a real help to those who are uncertain as to how to care for a newly-adopted dog.
Five Tips on Making Your Adopted Dog Feel at Home
by Zara Lewis, May 24th, 2018
Adopting a dog is one of the noblest and most rewarding decisions you can make. With dog shelters filled to the brim with pooches in need of a loving home, there is really no reason to support the inhumane ways of the puppy mill industry; instead, welcoming a shelter dog into your family will save not one, but two lives.
However, sometimes welcoming an adopted dog into your home can seem like a daunting task. How do you banish their fears of abandonment, their anxiety, and the instilled behavioral patterns that define them yet are unsuited for domesticated life? How do you truly make them feel at home, loved, and most importantly, safe? Here to answer these questions are the five tips that will make this transition as pleasant and rewarding as possible.
Set the stage for the pooch
First things first, there’s a lot to be done before your pooch actually arrives at what will be their new, loving home. You want to make sure you have covered all the basics, from deciding where the dog will sleep and eat, all the way to buying a sizable crate and all of the necessities your new furry friend might need.
This includes getting in touch with a trusted veterinarian and making an appointment for the following day. You can never be too careful, no matter how trustworthy the shelter staff are. For the time being, you will want to roll up all of your carpets so that the dog gets used to walking around the house (they tend to stick to carpets when confronted by sleek surfaces), and don’t forget to buy a leash, plenty of toys, and most importantly, dog treats for those long training sessions ahead.
Let them explore the place one day at a time
One of the biggest mistakes new dog owners inadvertently make is letting their new companion explore the new surroundings freely the minute they bring them home. Although completely understandable and very nice of you to want to make your new dog feel welcome, this is a common mistake that will result in plenty of pee stains on the floor you’ll have to scrub out.
Moreover, you might even frighten the pooch, so you want to let them familiarize themselves with the surroundings gradually. It’s always an excellent idea to buy a crate so that they can have their “safe space”, and explore the household one day at a time.
Banish anxiety and set some ground rules
Being adopted is a thrilling, wonderful, joyous experience for a dog, but it’s also a traumatic one. More often than not, your new pooch will come with some emotional baggage you will want to eliminate as soon as possible to avoid behavioral issues induced by anxiety, stress, and fear. It’s also never a bad idea to let a professional lend a helping hand. In Australia, for instance, dog training is sort of a must among homeowners.
In the Land Down Under, adopting a dog is a serious matter involving thorough preparation and planning, and professional dog training in Sydney and across the country is readily available to all homeowners looking to instill positive habits in their new dog, and banish their fears. Remember, dogs ,above all, require firm but loving guidance in order to find their place in the pack, and feel like a part of the family.
Let them have their personal space
It often seems as if dogs haven’t the faintest idea what personal space is, as attested to by thousands of pet videos circling the web; but in fact, they do. And they cherish their personal space very much. Your new furry compadre needs time to heal, to reflect on their past experiences, and take in this new scenario they’re in. Needless to say, this is a stressful time for them and although they require plenty of time and attention, it’s important to recognize the moments when peace and quiet are all they need.
Make your dog feel loved and safe
Finally, this is not the time to be going through other important chapters in your life. This is the time you want to devote solely to the upbringing of your new pooch, so if you’re having personal issues you need to resolve, do it before you get a dog. Remember that they need your undivided attention and lots of it.
You will be spending plenty of time quietly stroking their back to make them feel safe, playing with them to develop a trusting bond, and plenty of time teaching them to behave. This requires patience and positivity, so make sure you’re ready and willing to take on this beautiful responsibility.
There is an ideal dog out there for you. And while a purebred dog would make an amazing lifelong companion as well, there is not quite a feeling as magnificent and rewarding as adopting a shelter dog. With these essential tips, you will have no problem making your new best friend feel right at home.
What a fabulous post. Thank you, Zara. (And let me close by saying that out of our six dogs, five have been rescued in one form or another!)