What To Know Before Getting a Shelter Dog

Getting a rescue dog is a rewarding experience. You and your family will have a new best friend, and a previously stray or unwanted pup will find a new home. However, before you rush out to the shelter to pick out your new pet, there are some things you should know.

How To Pick the Right Dog

Your dog should fit your personality and your family's lifestyle. Know what kind of pup will work best for your home. This way, the shelter staff can find your ideal match. For instance, if you have been looking at custom pools in Virginia for your house, you should adopt a dog that enjoys the water, as well.   


Keep in mind that there will probably be plenty of pit bulls available. They are the most common breed found at shelters. However, just because a dog is in the shelter does not mean it is overly aggressive or has personality issues.

How To Get the House Ready

Before the big trip to the shelter arrives, have basic items such as bowls and bedding ready in your home. If this is your first dog, you may also have to remove certain items that could be hazardous. Plants such as tulips and lilies can be poisonous and should be kept out of reach. The same is true for grapes, coffee and chocolate. A dog could also choke on small items, so clean any buttons or coins off the floor.


Be sure to get a crate or cage for your dog, as well. You should not let him roam freely around the house right away. Instead, restrict your pet to one area of the home and then gradually reward him with access to new rooms.  

What To Expect

Your dog will need some time to adjust to his new surroundings. Typically, a dog takes three days to get over the shock of moving from a shelter cage to a spacious new home. After three weeks, your dog should be used to his new routine and family members. However, he will not feel fully settled into your house for approximately three months.

Your pup may also not shower you with kisses right away. While your dog likely realizes that his new home is better than life on the streets, he may not realize that he was close to being euthanized in the shelter. If the pup has been mistreated in the past, he also may shy away from you due to fears of abuse. Eventually, if you show your dog plenty of love, he will reciprocate back. It just may not occur immediately.


Getting your new dog used to another household pet will also take a bit of patience. A shelter dog may have never seen a cat before and will thus not know how to react. Your new pet may also view any other dog as a threat since he is used to competing with strays for food.


Do not just throw the two animals into the same room and hope for the best. If you have another dog, let the two pups initially interact in a neutral environment. You can try walking them on parallel leashes so they get to know each other a bit. Once you bring them inside, make sure there are no toys or food around that they could fight over.


Similarly, keep your new dog separate from the family cat for a few days. Once they are used to each other's smell, they can meet in person. You can then give them treats and praise if they act civilly toward each other.


Before you head to the shelter to pick out your new family member, know what type of dog will work best for your house. You should also remove potential hazards from the house. Once you arrive home from the shelter, let the dog get used to his new surroundings and furry siblings. Over time, he will adjust, and you will have a loving and loyal pet.

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