According to Peta, at any given time, there are an estimated 100,000 dogs (and countless cats) without homes in the UK. When people buy dogs on a whim or give them as gifts, they sometimes don’t consider the lifelong commitment that is involved. Not only this, but they also don’t realise how much time, money and patience it takes to look after a pet.
Unfortunately, when situations like this occur – which happens far too often – our loyal companions are usually left abandoned or put up for adoption.
If you are considering adopting and rehoming one of these dogs, then our compliments as this is a wonderful and loving thing to do. However, adopting a dog is a great responsibility, and before you make this commitment we want you to think fully about the responsibilities you are about to take on.
BEFORE YOU ADOPT
Before adopting a dog, there are a number of things you must consider. For example, as some dogs up for rehoming have behavioural issues, or disabilities, its essential to stop and think if you can handle this extra responsibility at this period in your life.
Furthermore, you must also consider the environment you are bringing a dog into. Is your home dog friendly? Will you have space for it and all its needs? Can you financially afford it at this time?
Not only this, but you must also think about where and how you live. For instance, if you live in a flat, or don’t have much of a garden, it’s probably not the best idea to look to adopt a larger dog that will need this space. Also, if your lifestyle involves quite a bit of travelling you must consider who will take care of your dog while you are away.
Finally, one of the most important things to consider is other members of your household – if you have any. Will they be comfortable with adopting a dog? Do they have a love for animals and treat them well?
Research is the key to successfully adopting a dog, and you should do as much of this as possible. Some dogs don’t do very well in some situations, such as a family home with young children, while others will thrive in it. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to ask as many questions to find out key information.
Some key questions to ask include the following;
- What is the dog’s previous history?
- What is their temperament/personality like?
- Do they have any medical issues or injuries?
- How old are they?
- Are they neutered/vaccinated?
- Are they child-friendly? If so, from what age.
- Are they dog-friendly? Do they have issues with particular types of dogs?
- How long can they be left on their own?
- Do they travel well in the car?
- Do they have any history of biting/aggression towards humans?
- Are they a confident dog?
- Are they fearful of people at all?
- What diet have they been fed?
- Has their previous owner left any helpful information?
- What are their exercise requirements?
- Do they walk nicely on the lead or require a strong handler?
- Can they be rehomed with another dog?
- Would they enjoy the company of another dog in the future?
After you’ve considered all the elements and asked all the right questions, then your probably ready to successfully adopt and rehome your dog. However, before bringing them home it’s essential that you have fully dog-proofed your home and have made sure you are properly prepared.
Make sure any medicines, cleaning supplies or other harmful substances are stored on high shelves so the dog can’t access them. It’s also a good idea to keep bins shut tightly and cupboards and doors fitted with protective locks if possible.
Finally, it’s more than likely that your new friend will experience some anxiety and stress when they first arrive at your home, so make sure you have their bed or crate set out for them, along with some special toys and treats.
Establishing A Relationship
As mentioned previously, the adoption and rehoming process can be very overwhelming for a dog. That’s why we suggest visiting the dog you are thinking about adopting a few times before you bring them home. By establishing some sort of relationship, you may be able to build some trust or familiarity with the pet.
AFTER YOU ADOPT
Before rehoming a dog, you will have to undergo a home check by a vet or someone who works at the animal shelter or charity that you are adopting from. Once this has been completed and you have been approved, you will be able to start the process of adoption. However, keep in mind that it can take up to eight days before you can take your new furry friend home.
For any dog or puppy being rehomed, the experience can be quite daunting and because of this, some dogs will experience anxiety. Therefore, it’s a good idea to slowly introduce your dog to the rest of the family, or any other pets you may have. Keep all of the introductions as calmly as possible, and let the dog approach each person at its own time and then go from there.
Along with introducing your new dog to everyone in your family, you will also have to introduce it to their new home. We recommend that you take your dog straight to its crate or bed, followed by where it will eat and then where it will go do ‘its business.’
When it comes to bedtime and where your dog will be sleeping, it’s vital from the get-go to establish a routine and set the tone. If your dog is not sleeping in the same room as you, implement this on the first night. However, remember that this can be a daunting experience for your dog, so make sure you calm comfort before leaving them to sleep.
All dogs have been disciplined differently, so when you first take your adopted dog home, be prepared to do some behaviour training to teach your dog what is acceptable and what is not.
Furthermore, some dogs that have been adopting may have come from an abusive or neglectful background, and because of this may have behavioural problems due to their mistreatment. If you find yourself in this type of situation, and you need to re-train your dog remember to use positive reinforcements, plenty of treats and remain patient and calm throughout the entire process.
Rules & Routine
Just like the sleeping arrangements, you need to set clear rules and routines from the get-go. So if you have a ‘no pets on the furniture’ rule, make sure you are implementing this from day one. It may be tempting to give extra allowances at the beginning, but trust us, this will just cause more confusion and problems down the line.
By setting exact rules and routines, this will give your new dog an understanding of all of the boundaries in your home. This will, in turn, help with the processes of settling in along with reducing stress and anxiety.
Developing a Bond
Developing a bond with your newly adopted dog is something you will always have to work on. However, the first few weeks and months of this relationship will need the most attention as this time is vital.
Like all dogs, your newly adopted friend may need some further training. Make the most of all the help there is out there, and if you need it, seek out classes or a trainer that will be able to help you.
Your dog should have health check-ups done before the adoption is complete, but it’s also worthwhile scheduling in some follow-up appointments to ensure your dog is keeping healthy. Also, before bringing your dog home remember to purchase some dog insurance as this may save you lots of money in the future!
There may come a time when you wish to travel with your dog, and when this time comes it’s important to be prepared. Again, with dogs that have been adopted and rehomed, being in unfamiliar territory may bring on stress and anxiety. Therefore, we recommend travelling somewhere close, to begin with, and extended this further bit by bit – all be your dog is fine with it.
Finally, facing problems with a pet is a normal experience that every owner will experience. Just remember that with your adopted dog especially, you need to remain patient and loving throughout.
If you are looking for further assistance, or in need for some additional training guides, take a look through the rest of our blog where you will find extensive training tips and advice you never knew you needed!