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Dog Adoption Tips

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    Dog Adoption Tips

    By Cathy Goodwin

    There's a hole in your life that only a dog can fill. You want a special dog, perhaps just a full-grown adult. Maybe your code of ethics calls for saving a dog's life - not buying an expensive purebred.

    I'm not a veterinarian or a dog trainer, but I've enjoyed two successful adoptions. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way.

    (1) <b>Clarify your requirements ahead of time</b>

    Once you're standing in front of a cage, it's easy to say, "Well, he's a lot bigger than I expected, and I really wanted a female, but oh he's SO cute!" No amount of love or training will help if your dog needs more exercise than you can provide.

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    (2) <b>Know the difference between shelter and rescue groups</b>

    Most cities have humane societies where you can view dogs and make a choice. Rescue groups typically hold animals in foster care - which is good, because you can ask the foster mom all sorts of questions. For example, they can say, "This dog lived with two cats so you know you can trust her."

    (3) <b>Be prepared to pay</b>

    Shelter animals are not free, but you do get value for money. Expect to pay a fee that may include spay/neuter costs, licensing, and/or veterinarian visits.

    (4) <b>Consider an older dog</b>

    By the time a dog has turned three or four, she's as big as she's going to get. No surprises! You'll also have clues regarding his temperament.

    (5) <b>Plan to confine the dog during a period of transition</b>

    Your new dog doesn't get it. She was in a loving home (or left alone in a yard all day or even abused). Then she spent a few weeks in a cage, feeling lonely and isolated. Maybe she's been passed around to multiple homes.

    Bottom line, she's stressed. She may chew, dig, bark, or even lose her house training at first.

    Crating the dog prevents destructive behavior. My dogs both looked visibly relieved as they retreated to their crates every day. "Time to relax," they seemed to say.

    (6) <b>Invest in training</b>

    Most dogs are turned over to the shelter because of behavior problems. If you're new to the world of dog behavior, take a class or hire a professional. Most behavior can be corrected, even among older dogs. But if you're not sure, ask a professional. Some behaviors can't be "fixed."

    (7) <b>Incorporate large doses of exercise and walks into your day</b>

    Walking together builds your bond and a tired dog is a good dog. Begin the exercise program immediately so you can gain a sense of how much exercise the dog needs - an important factor in the dog's adjustment - and start training for the basics on the way home from the shelter.

    Cathy Goodwin, a certfified Dog Fanatic, wrote Arf! Dog Health Comes Home: tips and resources to care for your aging, sick or injured dog. Download from <a href=""></a.

    Re: Dog Adoption Tips

    Click Here Also, make sure you can give a dog what they need BEFORE you get them. I have a rescue dog that never should have been owned by the first people who owned him. They didn't have the knowledge, experience, time or money for the dog. He's a sweetheart and I'll never give him up, but he has isssue know and even year later may never get over them. If you get the dog from a shelter or rescue, ask if they will take the dog back if things don't work out and you bit off more than you can chew....and DON'T expect your money back if you bring the dog back. There are wonderful site of information out there on the cost of a dog...make sure you are willing to pay it. I have three dogs and at LEAST once a year one of them will end up at the Vet for something. It averages $200.00 by the time it's said and done. Greatfully I've never had to get x-rays.

    Drs. Foster & Smith have a great article on the costs of dog ownership.

    If I did the link right it should be here, don't know first try if not the web site is

    They do a chart cheep, normal, and expensive

    Yearly you are looking at 500-6K and over a 14 yr life span 4.2 to 38K

    PLEASE know what you are getting into. Their life depends on it.

    PS there are other great articles on this site.


      This is a great guide for adopting

      My job (I work for a marketing company in NYC) recently started a campaign with Maddie's Fund, The Humane Society and the Ad Council, which is trying to change the image of the shelter animal for the better. About a third of the Cats and Dogs that go into shelters annually are euthanized, we think that this is because of a problem with image.

      About 17 million people aim to get a new pet yearly and we're trying to tap into this demographic, and have them see that the healthy, friendly pets available at animal shelters are viable future members of the family. I personally am a cat lover and will probably get a new cat in the coming year, and I will be utilizing a shelter when the time comes.

      We've made a couple of videos on YouTube for the campaign that are pretty funny check them out:

      Just search Youtube for the videos PSA white collar and PSA Ditched.

      Also there is an interactive pet personals website with plenty of fun activities and a tool to find local shelters near you.

      As a personal adopting pet parent, I can say that adopting animals from shelters can be a very rewarding experience! What are some of the experiences you guys have had with shelter animals?