May 12, 2020 6 min read

Table of Contents

People are adopting dogs more than ever. While spending more time at home, it seems logical to bring another member into the family and be able to spend time with them. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the 4 main tips to consider when adopting a dog, and hopefully, we can help you be more prepared for your new furry best friend.

Choosing the Right One

Shelters and humane societies are filled with all kinds of dogs. All breeds, behaviors, sizes, etc. Before you adopt, it’s important to be able to spend a bit of time with the dog. Keep in mind that the dog’s true personality may not show when they’re in a shelter or humane society, they may be more reserved and shy, more anxious, and less excited than they might be when you bring them home.

If you’re able to, a good way to find their true personality is to take them for a walk. This will allow you some alone time with the dog (likely with someone who works there) away from the possibly stressful environment of the shelter and other noisy dogs, and you’ll be able to see their true colors show.If this isn’t possible, many adoption centers have info sheets about each dog describing their breed, age, gender, and in many cases, their personality.

It’s important to match their personality with what you think you’re looking for. Are you an active person who regularly goes on walks or runs, has a fenced yard, and is willing to put more time into the care of your dog? If so, an active personality trait of a dog may be perfect for you.

Alternatively, if you’re someone who doesn’t exercise often, or maybe lives in an apartment, a less active dog personality would be more up your alley. Just remember, it’s important for the dog to be a perfect match for you, but it’s just as important for you to be the perfect match for the dog.

Prepare Your Environment

a white puppy shaking his paw with his humans hand

Making sure your home environment is ready for a new dog is very important to the adoption process. If you’ve had dogs before or currently have dogs, there won’t be as much to change to bring a new pet into the house.

The first thing is to set up a comfortable area for your new pup to have. Many adopted dogs will take a while to acclimate to their new surroundings (as we discuss further down). For many of these adopted dogs, allowing them to have their own safe and comfortable space can increase the trust and bond between them and you. This could be their own room, their own section of a room, or a kennel. Giving your new dog an opportunity to separate themselves from you will make them feel more comfortable with you and your home down the road, and eventually, they won’t even need their own space.

In your new pup’s own space, be sure to have some things providing comfort. A bed, a blanket, and toys are all important starting points to your dog’s new living environment. If you’ve had dogs in the past, be sure to get a new bed, blanket, and toys just for the new dog, so they don’t feel like they’re in another dog’s territory. BuddyRest dog beds are built to satisfy a variety of needs, from orthopedic care to comfort and durability.

Try to wash the bed and blanket in your laundry to get the scent of your home on them, so the dog will associate your house smells with the feeling of safety and comfort. The next step is dog food. There is a whole variety of dog food to choose from, and for a new dog, it can be a little bit tricky, as there isn’t a good way to know what your dog’s tastes will be yet.

They have different nutritional values, different ingredients, different flavors, some have grains while some don’t, and all are important to be taken into consideration. There isn’t necessarily a wrong choice, but it is important to do research before you make your final decision, as some nutritional proportions are better than others, and some dogs have allergies to some grains and ingredients while others don’t.

Luckily, there are many options available to get research and understanding and to make an educated decision. Another consideration is a dog ID tag, collar, leash, and maybe a harness.

A dog ID tag and collar are possibly the two most important things to get, as this will allow someone to contact you in case your dog gets lost. Leashes and harnesses will let you take your new dog for a walk, and get them the exercise they need while increasing the bond between you.

Lastly, be sure your new pup will have ample space/time to exercise and work out energy. If you have a yard of some type, this will be perfect! Traditional fences will be sure to keep your dog in and safe. Invisible fences can still do the job, but they come with extra steps to make sure your dog knows the boundaries and is comfortable with their outdoor space.

Schedule a Vet Checkup

It’s important to get a general veterinarian checkup scheduled for your new pup. While many adoption centers do a general health checkup, a veterinarian will be able to do a full physical exam and provide any possible extra insight into the health of your dog. This will also set up the basis for your new dog’s main veterinarian, which is an important relationship to build as you’ll know exactly where to go if any issues arise. 

It Can Take Some Time

Many dogs that are in adoption centers have been there for a while or been back multiple times. These dogs may be more hesitant when you first meet them and will be more hesitant when you first bring them home.

If you’ve followed the above tip, you’re well on your way to a perfect relationship with your new best friend. It’s important to keep in mind that it can take a good bit of time for your furry friend to become relaxed and comfortable with you and their new forever home. This is no reason for alarm though, it’s important to try to make them feel relaxed, calm, and comfortable, without being overbearing and without trying to force it.

Some adopted dogs will like having their own space and their own safe area, whereas some will be the first to jump on your bed and lay down for the night. For both of these types and every type in between, remember to stay calm and gentle.

Offer love, pets, and treats as you can, but don’t pick them up and force your love on them. This can be hard to resist because they are really just so cute, but you need to have a good balance of being close and distant, to build the trust between you and your dog, which will allow for the future relationship to thrive. An adopted dog’s personality can take a while to show through all the way.

They have to build their trust of you and the new home, but eventually, they will get to the point that they are at their best.--These tips will help set you up for success and a loving thriving relationship with your newly adopted best friend. While there are many more considerations in adoption, these four tips will put you on the right track for adoption. Make sure to pick a dog that will complement your personality and lifestyle.

Be prepared to make a new environment in your home for your new pup, with their own space so they can develop a sense of trust and safety in their new forever home. Be sure to schedule a general veterinarian checkup visit, to build that relationship and get insight into your dog’s health and what to expect.

Finally, be sure to have patience with your new pup. Some newly adopted dogs will take to their new home immediately, while many others will take time to get comfortable and feel safe with you, your family, and your home. Patience is key to developing a long-lasting relationship with your new best friend


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Meet The Author

Kendall Abbott obtained her Bachelor's Degree at the University of Kansas, she then went on to pursue her education and love for animals by attending the Animal Behavior College. When she isn't working Kendall enjoys hiking with her two dogs Oscar and Tank. She also loves taking time out of her day to coach her nieces youth basketball team.

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