Summary: Adopting a rescue dog can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. But before you jump in your car and run down to the local shelter to bring home your new best friend, take a minute and assess your situation. Be realistic about your life and your expectations. Here are 7 Tips Before Adopting Rescue or Shelter Dog.
7 Tips Before Adopting Rescue or Shelter Dog
- Dog Expenses: Dogs cost money. Grooming, food, vet care, medication, carpet cleaning, furniture, licensing fees, spay/neuter, adoption fees, toys, treats, dog sitters. All these things add up quickly. If you think you can get away without some of these things, think again. Most shelter dogs are already spayed or neutered and if they aren’t, it is usually covered in the adoption fee.
- Dogs Take Time: Do you have the time to care for your dog properly? If you don’t, do you have the money to pay someone to take your dog on walks and care for him when you can’t? It is not advisable to rescue a dog from the shelter and then just put him in your backyard, seeing him only when he needs food and water. This is no kind of a life for a dog.
- Training: Dog training is quite simple when you understand the basics. There are many good books out there that can help. It’s important to read the books and learn as much as you can before you get a dog. Search out a local dog obedience class as well. Decide which class you want to go to. Obedience class will help you and your new dog develop a good relationship from the beginning.
- Environment: Can you provide the correct type of environment for a dog? Do you have room for a large dog? A small dog? A smart dog? More than one dog? Do you have children? Where will the dog eat, sleep, go to the bathroom? Does your neighborhood have pet codes? Will your landlord allow pets?
- Travel: If you travel often, will you be able to take your dog with you? If not, how much will it cost to have someone care for him, and CAN you find someone to care for him?
- Emotionally Ready for a Dog: Are you in a position to be able to handle having a dog? Adopting a dog (any age) can be like adding another child to the family. They require a lot more than people expect at first. Many dogs that are purchased/adopted end up at the shelter because people didn’t realize that it takes more effort and emotional investment than they originally thought. Dogs should not be used as a crutch after a breakup or death in the family. A dog can make your life feel whole, but it will not MAKE your life whole.
- Physically Ready for a Dog: Are you healthy enough to add more responsibility to your life? If you are looking at a large breed dog, will you be able to keep him/her exercised enough so it doesn’t go crazy inside all the time? Will you be able to tend to the dog’s needs?
Adding a dog to your family from a Dog Rescue or Dog Shelter can be an amazing and wonderful adventure. As long as you are honest with yourself (and family) and don’t allow yourself to make a snap decision, you can feel comfortable moving on to the next step: Deciding what kind of dog to adopt.
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