Adopting a Dog

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Adopting a dog can be a kind and loving thing to do. However, before deciding to adopt, understand what you are getting into.

Many animals awaiting adoption in shelters had rough beginnings. Some were abused, abandoned, or “turned in” because the owners didn’t have time for them. Many were left alone for long periods and some were never properly house trained.

Most dogs in shelters and rescues have been there from a few days to several months. So, even though when adopted they are going to a homewith love and care devoted to them alone, they might have some difficulty understanding why they have “lost” another home.

In short, when adopting a dog you must be prepared to work with the dog. The dog may come to you cowed or with feelings of trepidation and may be overly sensitive to your tone of voice or to any commands you give. Some dogs may be reluctant to go from one room to another, shy away when corrected, or hide when hearing a loud noise. You must be patient and loving. When your new pet finally starts to trust you, your dog will reward you with more affection and loyalty than you can imagine.

The First Day Home

To prevent diarrhea from a change in diet, give boiled potatoes to your new dog along with the new food.

Keep your new dog on a leash. Show him where his water and food dishes are kept. Show him where he is to sleep. When he is indoors, keep him with you, taking him outdoors at frequent intervals to relieve himself. Take him to the same spot each time and praise him heartily when he goes.

Until your dog learns this new routine, watch him closely. If he has an accident in the house, do not assume he is not house trained. He must get accustomed to his new home and routines. However, loudly say “NO!” and take him outside immediately. You must catch the dog in the act if the correction is to be effective. NEVER hit your dog if an accident occurs. Praise, not punishment, is the key to a well-behaved pet.

Period of Adjustment

The first couple of weeks after adopting a dog you and your pet are “getting to know one another.” Your dog doesn’t know why he has come to your home or what is expected of him. Be patient and anticipate problems before they occur. Don’t leave tempting shoes, clothing, or children’s toys within the dog’s reach.

Things to Watch For

While settling in, your dog may experience shyness, anxiety, restlessness, excitement, crying, or barking. He may exhibit excessive water drinking, frequent urination, or diarrhea. His appetite may not be good. If any of these symptoms last more than a few days, call your veterinarian.

Be Patient and Consistent

Your new dog must learn a whole set of new rules. Be patient and be consistent. Most dogs will settle in within a couple of weeks, and you’ll have a new friend and companion.

Updated: September 29, 2013 — 12:00 pm

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