Adopting an adult dog from a shelter is a great choice because you are providing a deserving dog with a loving home while also getting to skip the tricky and sleep-disrupting puppy stage. While adopting a dog brings a lot of joy to the lives of you, your family, and your new pooch, it is also a huge responsibility that requires planning. Here are four tips for adopting an adult shelter dog:
Research Dog Breeds
While most dogs at shelters are mutts instead of pure breeds, many have an easily identifiable dominant breed, which will play a huge role in its behavior and personality. For example, adopting a Jack Russell mix means you are likely to end up with a playful, smart, and stubborn dog, while a German Shepherd is likely to be intelligent and very responsive to training.
One approach is to research dog breeds online and then make a list of dog breeds that are a good match for your lifestyle. You may fall in love with a dog at the shelter whose dominant breed wasn't on your list, but at least you will have a better idea of what to look for and expect. If your heart is set on a specific breed, look for breed-specific rescues in your region.
Take Your Time When You Visit the Shelter
It's important not to rush and adopt the first cute dog you see when you visit the shelter. Instead, take your time with several, and ask if you are allowed to come back for a second visit once you have had time to think things over. It is also a great idea to have your significant other and children visit with the dog before making a definite decision. If you already have a dog at home, bringing them in for a meet and greet will give you the chance to see how the two dogs get along.
Plan to Hire a Dog Trainer
When you adopt an adult shelter dog, you will most likely only have limited information about their background. Some may have been strays living on the street their whole lives, some may have been well-behaved dogs who were given away by their family for reasons unrelated to the dog, and some may have been abandoned due to behavioral issues such as excessive barking.
Luckily, whatever the case, most newly adopted dogs respond very well to professional dog training, especially if it's based on positive reinforcement. It's a great idea to research dog trainers in your area before you adopt your new dog, read reviews, and schedule your first session as quickly as possible once you bring your dog home. A trainer will teach you and your dog to work well together and quickly have your dog potty trained, walking politely on a leash, and generally behaving well.
Create a Comfortable Environment
Taking time to create a comfy environment for your new dog before you bring them home will make their transition easier and less scary. Make sure they have a crate with plenty of space to stand and turn around as well as a soft blanket, ideally in a quiet corner of a room where they will be near family but still have time alone when they need it. Good quality dog food, food and water bowls, plenty of toys, a harness and leash, and healthy treats are additional necessities to have on hand.
Finally, also make sure you're aware of vets in the area like Northside Emergency Pet Clinic. This way you can bring your dog in for an initial checkup after adoption and you'll know who to call if anything goes wrong. By following these tips, you will help ensure a low-stress and happy transition for you and your new furry family member.