Dogs From Animal Shelters
Often I am asked "Is it better to have a pedigree
puppy or get one from the local
animal shelter "? I always recommend that one should try to adopt a rescue dog
from an animal shelter. These dogs have so much love and companionship and
are so easy to train.
Before taking a dog from an animal rescue shelter,
it is wise to visit with the
whole family and no decisions should take place on the first visit. On the second
visit after family discussion and of course making certain that you will not fall foul
of any agreements you have with a rented property. Also if you live on a
community then it is best to check with the President if dogs are permitted.
To avoid future heartbreak and heavy veterinary
bills do insist that a medical
certificate is given with your new pet and that your new pet is neutered. If this is
not available at the time of collection do not take the pet and return when the
medical certificate is ready. Unfortunately many dogs have an assortment of
viruses, distemper and Parvo entering the shelter, and local shelters do not
always apply quarantine rules before rehoming dogs and cats. This is in the
interest of your family and any other pets you may have in the home.
I recommend that as soon as the dog arrives at his new home it is taken out of
the car on a leash and walked quietly around the outside area, allowing plenty of
time to absorb all the new sights, sounds and smells. A drink of water should be
offered as soon as possible.
Introductions to all members of the household should
be done whilst still outside
in a gentle manner and the dog made to sit before being patted, it is best to start
basic obedience immediately. If you have an existing pet it is better to introduce
them away from the home, maybe up the road.
Dogs will no doubt want to urinate fairly early in
the proceedings. If it performs in
an acceptable area then praise is essential. Unfortunately a dog which has been
kept in a shelter even for a few days will have learned to relieve itself on a hard
floor, so he may well need some housetraining.
The dog should be allowed to inspect the whole house
( still on his leash) and
prevented from doing anything undesirable. Lingering slightly in the dogs
proposed sleeping area where his basket should have been placed and offering a
small food reward is useful.
Possibly the most difficult message to convey to a new owner of a rescue dog is
that entering a new environment is stressful and as far as is practicable the dog
should be allowed to have time to adjust, but also ensuring that "House Rules"
are established and enforced early. If a dog is not going to be allowed to jump on
chairs or be allowed in the bedrooms then it should not be allowed from the start.
In my experience providing a regular routine from day one is probably the best
way to settle a dog into a new home. Regular walk times, regular meal times,
regular fun times with the family, regular settling down.
It takes about 12 weeks for a dog to completely
settle into his new home. I
always recommend that rescue dogs should be taken to your own vet
immediately for worming even though you have a health certificate, and ask your
vet for preventative treatment for heart worm and fleas.
Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.