The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and do not necessarily represent the views of Val Heart & Heart Communication Enterprises Inc. This article was previously published March 4, 2021 and was updated on March 28, 2023.
In the market for a furry forever friend?
There are plenty of excellent reasons why you should consider adopting one from a shelter. In addition to being a better option than patronizing factory-style puppy mills, adopting a rescue dog ensures that you save the innocent life of a loving animal. Contrary to popular belief, many shelter dogs have also already received the necessary training, making it much easier to make them part of your home. Finally, you may even save money by doing so. Many of them have already been vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and even microchipped. One important thing to consider is whether or not you have the space for the dog you’re eyeing, as well as all the custom pet products (like customizable dog beds) that they’ll need to stay healthy and happy. Fur babies tend to take up a lot of room, so you’ll want to be sure that you have enough.
Bringing any new pet home will always present a number of challenges, though, whether you’re a first-time pet parent or one who’s had years of experience. Rescue animals will need to go through a process called “decompression” in order to de-stress from the taxing environment of a shelter and adjust to their new surroundings.
As their new owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that they’ll be able to go through this experience as smoothly and as comfortably as possible. You can do so in many ways, from establishing positive associations to giving them spaces of their own in the home by furnishing them with their very own customizable dog bed and everything else in between.
To help you get a head start, here’s how to make sure that your new rescue dog feels safe, warm, and welcome in their new digs:
Ask the Right Questions
Choosing to adopt a dog from an animal shelter is not only a major decision, but it’s a big step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even if you’ve fallen in love at first sight with a pup that you think might be your new best friend, there are still many things that you need to consider before you can bring them home with you.
First, think of the logistics. Do you own your place, or are you a renter? If you are renting, you’ll want to read your lease’s fine print.
Check to see if there are any restrictions with regards to the weight or breed of the pets allowed.
Prepare Your Home for Their Arrival
Before bringing your new furry bundle of joy home, you’ll also want to make sure that it’s safe for them to be there. Potentially hazardous home decorations and toxic substances all need to be put away and out of reach.
It’s also a good idea to make a full sweep of the house for plants that may not be pet-friendly.
To keep your new pet from ingesting anything they shouldn’t, you’ll also want to invest in trash cans with lids and make sure to keep them tightly closed at all times. Other items that your pets should never gain access to include cleaning solutions, electronic cords, lawn care products and tools, and small toys.
It’s also a good idea to designate your new pet’s personal space before they arrive. It should be somewhere that they’ll be able to access freely, but away from noise and excessive activity. Make sure the temperature is at a comfortable level, too. Mark the space with a dog bed, teepee, crate, or pen. You should also leave their toys and other comfort items there.
Give Them Time to Acclimate
On average, it can take a shelter dog between four to six weeks to get used to their new environment. After this, you’ll see them come out of their shell and start to showcase their true personality.
Throughout this time, you’ll have to stay patient and understanding. You simply cannot expect your new fur baby to take to you or your home overnight. You may suffer from a few sleepless nights before they get used to their customizable dog beds, and your new pet may not be perfect.
However, you can rest assured that all of this effort you show them will not go unrewarded. If you give them the chance, your shelter dog will learn to love you unconditionally. Don’t rush the process, and both your family and your new addition will surely be happier for it.
Communicating with them all the along the way will quicken your bonding and accelerate the process of discovering who each other is and what your needs are so you can trust and love each other.
It’s normal to experience some behavior problems in the beginning, but they can easily be sorted out once you know what they are thinking and how they feel.
Keep Calm and Let Them Come to You
Many of the dogs that come out of animal shelters often have issues when it comes to trusting people. This is especially true if they’ve been abandoned before. Your new rescue pet might exhibit skittish, nervous, or hesitant behavior when you bring them home as a result.
It’s best not to take this personally.
Instead, focus on making your home as calm and soothing as you can while they get used to every new sight, sound, smell, and movement in it. Don’t overdo it with toys and treats and keep your affection measured those first few weeks. Instead, wait for your new fur baby to come to you. This helps build a relationship that’s based on mutual respect, only made better by love and care.
There is a prevalent misconception that bringing a shelter dog home is a difficult and exhausting ordeal. While it’s true that it is no mere walk in the park, though, choosing a rescue dog isn’t really any different from bringing home a new puppy.
Both are huge responsibilities that require your love, patience, and time. So, don’t be scared! Visit your local shelter today and give an abandoned animal a new lease on life. It could very well be that they wind up giving you a new lease on life too!
.Download my FREE Ebook Hidden Secrets to Communicating with Dogs – just click on the picture below!
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