When to Begin Looking for Your Dog
Do not begin looking for your dog until you are 100% sure that you are ready for the commitment. It is not fair to bring a dog home, only to decide later that you are not ready and then force him to face the confusion of going to another family.
Like any big life decision, you should not adopt your dog during times of great stress. If you're in the midst of having a baby, losing a job, getting married or divorced, moving, or facing any other major life event, it may not be the best time to add a dog to the mix. Your decision to adopt may not be rational, and your stress level will be detected by the dog, making him uncomfortable.
The best time to add a canine companion to your family is when life is as normal as possible, you are thinking clearly and with a level head, and you have plenty of time and energy to devote to the dog.Where to Look for Your Dog
Where should you look to adopt a dog? If you are searching for a pure bred dog, talk to your veterinarian or other animal professional about locating a reputable breeder. Simply looking through the newspaper or searching for a sign along the road is not conducive to finding a healthy puppy
. You may find yourself buying from an irresponsible breeder who does not practice necessary health screening and selectiveness in the parenting dogs.
Pure bred dogs can also be adopted from rescue groups who make it their mission to rescue a particular breed from unfortunate situations and place them in loving homes. By adopting from a rescue organization, you can be part of the pet-overpopulation solution, and you can help a pet that desperately needs your care.
Your local animal shelter
, humane society, or "pound" is an excellent place to find your pooch pal. These facilities take in mixed and pure bred pets that have been abandoned or surrendered and homeless pets wandering the streets. These dogs are especially eager to find a family, and giving one a home will surely give you that warm, fuzzy feeling that lets you know you've done something wonderful.
Pet store are also an option when searching for a mixed or pure bred dog; however, there is much controversy regarding the suppliers of these dogs. Many pets stores obtain their dogs from puppy mills, which are inhumane facilities breeding mass amounts of dogs in unsanitary conditions. Consumers Buying Sick and Dying Animals from Pet Stores
. It can be difficult to know with certainty which pet stores are obtaining their dogs from reputable sources.Finding the Best Dog for You
When adopting a dog, how do you find the best dog for you?
Selecting the right dog can be a tough choice, and it is sometimes mentally draining. There will probably be many dogs tugging at your heartstrings, and you will want to take them all home. Don't forget to use both your heart AND your brain when making the decision.
How will you know which dog is perfect for you? It's totally a personal decision. Most people just know it when they've found the right one.... it's a little like looking for your significant other. Some people let the dog choose them; others look for the quiet dog that is sitting off by himself. Often the way the dog advertises himself is indicative of the personality he will have after you adopt him. Sometimes, it takes getting the dog out of that stressful situation and into your peaceful home before he shows his true colors.
When you're looking for your dog, be patient. Give yourself a moment to think rationally. Don't make a quick decision and take the first dog you see. If there's a bond between you and a dog, you will feel it. It is a strong sensation.... an indescribably good sensation.Understanding Pet Adoption Contracts
Depending on where you adopt your dog, you may be asked to sign an adoption contract. In this case, there will be some guidelines to which you must agree before adoption. This is to ensure excellent quality of care to the dog. Some agencies even follow up the contract with a check-in at the home after adoption. Some things you may need to agree to in contract include proper medical care (spay/neuter, vaccines, parasite prevention, etc.), providing a fenced yard, promising that if you ever need to surrender the pet you will bring it back to the place of contract, not changing the pet's name (if he already has one), etc.Bringing Your Dog Home
Before your bring home your new adopted dog, try to have things set up for your dog in your home as much as possible before he arrives. Make the home welcoming to him. Don't forget to use a baby gate to block off any rooms or staircases where you don't want your dog.
On the day of adoption, you may want to have a puppy-training pad or blanket in your car in case of any accidents or car sickness. Remember, your dog will be nervous and excited. Accidents are not unexpected. You will be excited as well, but do your best to not overwhelm your dog with your emotions. Try to be calm and not frighten your new family member. Speak to your dog in a steady, relaxing voice. Let him sniff you and get to know you. Go slowly with him.
When you arrive home, allow him to sniff things outside and inside. He has a lot to explore and learn about his new life. Give him time to soak it all in.
Don't allow children and other family members to all surround the dog and pet him at once. Everyone should introduce themselves one at a time in a calm manner in order to not overwhelm the nervous pooch.
If introducing your dog to other pets, you may want to consider doing this in a neutral location other than your home. This will prevent territorial conflicts. Supervision is extremely important during pet-to-pet introductions. Read PetPlace's article, Introducing a New Dog Into Your Household
to learn more about helping your new dog adjust to other pets.Enjoy Your Dog
In making the decision to adopt a dog, you have made a life change that will surely fill your heart with much joy. Dogs are one of the most rewarding responsibilities you can ever assume. For giving them a good home, they will pay you back every day with unconditional love, a wagging tail to warm your heart, and all their silly dog antics to keep you laughing.