Whether you're adopting a dog from a shelter, a breeder or a friend, you shouldn't take the task lightly. I know people that just want to get a dog to get a dog. They just think they're cute or want a cuddle buddy. Adopting a dog is a huge responsibility, and there's a ton of things you should consider before bringing one into your home.
ONE // ANALYZE YOUR FINANCES
Adopting a dog isn't cheap. On top of the adoption fees, you have vet check-ups, dog food and treats, toys, bowls, cage, bed, leash, etc. There are a ton of things you have to purchase in order to fully welcome your dog into your home. If you don't think you'll be able to support a dog financially, then you should either reanalyze your decision or start budgeting to be financially ready for a dog in the future.
TWO // DO YOUR RESEARCH
There are several things you need to know before adopting a dog. For instance, most people know that dogs can't eat chocolate, but did you know that onions are also bad for them? You also need to think about what kind of dog food you give your dog. Changing a dog off of their regular food is a process. Some people don't know that you can't just feed a dog whatever they want. Dogs require a lot of training, including bowl training and leash training, teaching your dog not to jump on the furniture or growl or bite people.
THREE // LEARN THE HISTORY OF YOUR DOG
Just like you have a past, so does your dog. The shelter may know a few things about the dog you're interested in adopting, but they may not. When I adopted my dog, all they knew about her was that her owner died in a tragic accident. She had been at the shelter for the last two years. They said that any training she had would most likely be out the window. I went in knowing that I would have to put a lot of work into making my dog comfortable. You also need to collect their shot records. Come prepared with questions. Just like you should do research about dogs in general, you should also learn as much as you can about your dog's past.
THREE // BE PATIENT
Not all dogs will love you immediately. It took my dog a few weeks before she let me pick her up without growling. If you're serious about getting a dog, you need to make sure that you have the patience for them to fall in love with you. You may be ready to love your dog with all of your heart, but it may take a little while for your dog to put all of their trust into you. They have to get used to a completely different environment with strangers. If your new ball of fur doesn't take to you immediately, don't get discouraged. Just be patient.
FOUR // START TRAINING
Establish rules and boundaries from your very first day. Show your dog where they'll be sleeping. Take them for a walk to show them where they'll be using the bathroom. Show them where their food and water bowl will be. If you think moving into a new place is stressful, it's even more so for your dog.
FIVE // FIND A GOOD VET
You should start researching veterinarians before you bring your dog home. Once you've found the perfect one, bring your dog to their new vet for a check-up and to catch them up on shots. It's not going to be cheap, so make sure you're ready for the investment.
SIX // JUST LOVE
Your new pup will require a lot of love and attention, not just in the beginning, but forever. I just adopted my dog in January, and I can't imagine life without her. Don't settle for just any dog. Find the perfect match for both of you!
Have you adopted a shelter dog before? Are you a dog owner?
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