13 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Adopting a Shelter Dog
That cute, cuddly shelter dog might seem perfect for you…but is he? Before you sign those adoption papers, consider this expert advice first.
Trying to do it all on your own
“You and your new dog need to be educated to set yourself up for success,” says Russell Hartstein, a certified dog-behavior consultant at Fun Paw Care. “Call a force- and fear-free trainer and behaviorist sooner rather than later.” This is particularly important if you already have other animals at home, but it’s a good idea for all dog adoptions. Unless you have years of experience raising and training dogs, both you and your dog will likely benefit from training. And don’t miss these tips from dog trainers on how to stop a puppy from biting.
Not knowing your new pet is a flight risk
This is another issue that you might face during your first few days together. Your home may seem scary to your new pup, and you are a stranger—potentially one of many he’s encountered in his search for a new home. “So [he’s] at risk for running away or simply getting out of the yard and getting lost,” Regis explains. Close supervision and leashed walks will be necessary for several weeks. As wonderful as your home may be, a nervous pup might be searching for an escape route.
Expecting an easy adjustment
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It’s important to recognize that all dogs have different personalities, just like us, says Heather Pagan, lead volunteer with No More Puppies Georgia. They all have different likes, dislikes, needs, and fears that you’ll have to get to know over time. “Every dog a human chooses to bring home needs to feel at home, but we can’t expect this to happen in three seconds,” she explains. “We need to focus on slow introductions, being patient, learning to read body language, developing trust, and accepting that this is a big change that the dog has had no say in.” But if you’re patient and take the time to try to understand your new pup and work through the challenges, you will reap the rewards for years to come. Here are 10 incredible benefits of owning a pet.