Adopting a Shelter Dog: What You Need to Know Before Going to the Shelter

Website design By BotEap.comAdopting a shelter dog is one of the kindest things you can do, and it’s also one of the best things you can do for yourself, if your home is ready. Here are some things to consider before adopting a shelter dog and some tips for choosing a dog that is the best possible companion for you.

Website design By BotEap.comYou must be emotionally prepared before going to a shelter, especially if you are going with children. It’s no secret what happens to some shelter dogs, and some of us can get very emotional about having to choose just one dog. As you filter out the dogs you don’t want as much, you’ll inevitably narrow down to two or three dogs you already care deeply about. If you can only take one home with you, that means you will leave one behind. Find out how you are going to handle this situation with your children, or even with your partner if the two of you are going to have a dog together. When my boyfriend and I went to pick out our dog, we ended up not bringing home any of our first choices…we picked the dog that was the best overall compromise. That dog has been one of the greatest joys of our lives ever since.

Website design By BotEap.comIs your house dog friendly?

Website design By BotEap.comUnless you live in an apartment, your house will need a fence or a good place to leash your dog while you’re outside. Having the fence is much more preferable…it’s hard for a dog to run and play with a long heavy rope attached. Many shelters won’t actually let you adopt a dog unless you have a fenced-in area. If possible, the fenced area should be large enough to throw at least one ball, but an enclosed yard is better than nothing. Just be prepared to spend part of Saturday morning at the dog park.

Website design By BotEap.comIf you have a fenced-in area, adding a dog gate can be a huge relief for your dog. Most people go to work during the day, and even an adult dog cannot be expected to “hold out” for more than six hours. Puppies under four months cannot “hold” more than an hour – their bladder control muscles are not developed enough. So you’ll need to find out if a dog gate, paperwork, or a daily visit from a dog walker will work for you and your dog.

Website design By BotEap.comFinally, you need to be prepared for how much a dog costs. Vet bills for puppies in the first six months will be around $300. After that is dog food, which is $30-$60 a month. You’ll also need leashes, a dog bowl, a dog collar, dog treats, and at least one dog toy. That’s how your “free” shelter dog ends up costing you $500 in the first month, plus any adoption fees he’ll pay.

Website design By BotEap.comHow to choose a dog that is right for you

Website design By BotEap.comAre you a high energy person? Then get a dog with a lot of energy. If you’re low on energy or “calm” as some people call it, you’ll probably be happy with a calmer dog. Size matters too. People who weigh less than 140 pounds may have trouble handling very large dogs. And if you’ve never owned a dog, or never trained a dog, you may want to get an adult dog instead of a puppy so you can get the most out of the dog’s previous obedience training. Not everyone is cut out for potty training puppies. The secret is that you never have to worry about it if you have an older dog that is housebroken.

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