Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.
Getting a dog from a shelter is one of the noblest things you could ever do. The ASPCA estimates that around 670,000 dogs are euthanized in the country every year, which is a tragedy. With that being said, there is a thing or two that you have to know about shelter dogs before you get one. They are different from the average dog, and unless you know what these differences are, you might end up with some unpleasant surprises. Let’s take a look at a few things you should do after adopting a shelter dog.
Let them Adapt to their New Environment
One of the things you have to be ready for when picking a dog from a shelter is for them to take some time to adapt to their new environment. This is especially true for dogs that have stayed in a shelter for a long time. These dogs become accustomed to their environment and might not feel comfortable in your home at first, even if you have the perfect space for a dog. This is why you will need to be patient and let them get used to being alone in the house.
You can start by frequently getting out of the house for short periods. Make sure that you make a big sound when closing the door so that the dog knows you aren’t there. If you notice that they’re comfortable with short departures, start making them longer.
You should also ignore them when you’re leaving and when you come back. Try to make everything seem as casual as possible. You want to break any type of dependency and let them truly own their new space. You should also leave them a few chew toys so that they don’t start tearing down the house.
Give them the Best Food Possible
Shelters often can’t afford to give dogs the best food and this is perfectly understandable when considering how much financial pressure they have to deal with. This is why you will need to do everything you can to give your new dog the best diet possible.
Don’t feed them kibble only. Kibble is fine as a staple food, but you should vary their diet and include wet food and some fresh cuts of meat. Dogs love fruits and vegetables too, so you should add things like carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, and bananas to their diet.
You should also start looking at supplementation as even the best-fed dogs can miss some important nutrients. If you’re looking for a great brand of pet supplements, we suggest you check out Native Pet. They have everything from probiotics to improve your dog’s gut health and immunity, to supplements that treat symptoms of allergies, or improve bone health. All their products are free of fillers and have natural flavors that dogs love.
Get them to the Vet Early
Another thing you should do is take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. You might be able to get information on some of the health issues the dog has from the shelter, but you’ll never truly know how healthy the dog is before you take them to a vet. Not only will the vet be able to tell you which issues the dog may have, but they can also inform you of some of the issues they might develop later on. This will allow you to prepare properly and consider which type of insurance you’ll need.
Establish Clear Boundaries and Routines
It will be very important that you establish a routine for your dog. If you live with multiple people, they must all be on the same page. This will encourage consistency and your dog will become accustomed to its new routine faster. The dog will need to be walked at least two times per day. They don’t need to always be walked by the same person, but you need to take them out around the same time each day. Some dogs will also need to be let loose from time to time.
Have the Dog Trained and Practice Positive Reinforcement
Shelter dogs should be trained since they have a much more complicated history. Many of the dogs that end up in shelters have been traumatized by their previous owners and training might be able to reverse some of that trauma. Taking training classes with your family will help everyone understand the dog better. You also have to use positive reinforcement whenever possible. This means rewarding them when they perform certain actions or are behaving the way you want them. Rewards can be a toy, praises, treats, etc. Don’t reward them only when they perform a trick, however. You have to reward them for simple things like playing quietly or laying down if you want them to repeat these behaviors later.
These are all things that you should do if you adopt a shelter dog. Make sure that you are ready for the challenge before you adopt, however, since you don’t want to have to bring the dog back to the shelter you got it from.
Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.