Adopting an adult dog – A guide for the first few weeks: part one

NEW HOME: An exciting but anxious time for some dogs.

Thank you for caring about life

It’s easy for almost anyone to fall in love with a puppy or kitten. But it takes a special person or family to adopt an adult pet. You’ll find there are many advantages to acquiring a mature dog. The love and companionship you’ll share are only the beginning.

What you see is what you get

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With a puppy you may not know how large he will become, or what sort of disposition he will have. With a grown (or nearly grown) pet, what you see is what you get! However, it’s important to remember that what you don’t see is your new pet’s past. The dog may or may not have been housebroken or trained. He has certainly learned to live in different environments. Be patient and give him time to become accustomed to your lifestyle.

Home at last

On his first day home, show him where he is to sleep, where fresh water is always available, when and where he is to be fed. If he is an indoor dog, take him outside at frequent intervals (every hour or two) so that he may relieve himself. Until he learns the new housebreaking routine you will have to be very watchful. Mistakes will happen, especially during the first few days when the dog feels strange in his new environment. If the dog makes a mistake in the house firmly say ‘NO!’ and take him outside instantly. You MUST catch the dog in the act if the correction is to be effective. A few minutes later is too late. Praise him every time he eliminates outside.

Period of adjustment

During the first week expect occasional problems. Your new pet doesn’t know you, doesn’t know why he has come here or what is expected of him. He needs to be treated with watchful kindness. Anticipate problems before they occur. Don’t leave tempting items such as shoes, clothing, handbags or dinner plates within reach of the dog. Having a new pet can have quite a tidying effect on a family!

My time is your time

Plan to spend time with your new family member. He will appreciate it and respond warmly. Long walks, periods of play or just being together will make him feel happy and secure. Many families find that the best time to acquire a new pet is during vacation at home, when they have ample time to spend with him.

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