5 Tips to Successfully Adopt a Shelter Dog

According to the ASPCA, every year 3.3 million dogs enter an animal shelter. The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. When you adopt, you save a loving animal by making them part of your family and open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it. 

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month! Let's celebrate by talking about how to successfully adopt a shelter dog.

Keep Situation In Mind
When considering a shelter dog for adoption, keep the dog’s situation in mind. Realize the dog is likely anxious and suffering from abandonment. The behavior you see at the shelter: cowering, anxious barking, aloofness, may not be typical for that dog in a home environment.

Lower Expectations at First
Don’t expect too much immediately from the dog once you take him or her home. The dog you adopt may have been left by someone he loved or lost and unable to find his way home. These facts, combined with time spent in the shelter, have likely left him with some emotional trauma. It will take him a while to feel safe and secure.

Create a Routine
A great way to help your dog get comfortable in her new home is to give her a routine. Feed her in the same place and at the same time every day. Take her for a walk at the same time each day, and take the same route. Knowing what to expect each day will help lessen her anxiety.

Have Patience
It will take your dog time to learn to trust you and to understand the rules of the house. Just when it seems as if your dog is starting to catch on to what you want, you may see a temporary backslide. While some dogs adapt fairly quickly to a new home, others may take many months before they start to feel like a member of the family. Patience is key and will pay off in the long run.

Enroll in a Training Class
Once your dog has had some time to settle in, sign up for a training class which uses humane training techniques. Taking your dog to class once a week will put him on the fast track to learning how to respond to requests from you. Attend a class that utilizes play and treats to teach the dog. Training should be fun for you and your dog. It will also speed up the bonding process, help you communicate with him, and increase his overall confidence.