April 30th is “Adopt a Shelter Pet Day”. Pet adoption is a big step for anyone, but especially if your new pet comes from a shelter. Shelter pets sometimes have come from less than ideal living conditions, abusive homes or have even been abandoned altogether. Because of this they often need extra patience, training and tender loving care but that is exactly what makes adopting a shelter pet so rewarding. The bond you form with your pet is lifelong and it is proven that pets offer their humans a happier lifestyle.
When adopting a dog, here are some things to keep in mind:
1) Health check – make certain that your new dog has received a screening from a vet and you are informed of any special care or medicine required.
2) Socialize with other dogs – be patient as you are not certain what their past exposure has been to other animals. Consider involving a trainer and/or taking your new friend to a doggy daycare or park. Socializing your pet is important so do not neglect this aspect of being a good pet owner.
3) Learn Canine Body Language – every dog is different but there are many similarities in how they communicate with humans. Pay attention to what they are trying to tell you and remember that love goes a long way with dogs.
Adapting to a new home may take time. Use love, kindness and patience to guide both you and your dog through the process. Be firm with your rules but never mean or abusive. Just like us, your dog wants to be safe, cared for and loved. That’s your job. Do it well and you will have a loyal lifetime friend who will give you all of that and more.