If your family is thinking about adopting a dog, it’s a big decision. There are so many factors that go into it, particularly when you have kids.
For example, you want to make sure that the dog you adopt will not be aggressive toward your children or toward anyone else. According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), millions of Americans sustain dog bites each year.
Along with choosing a dog who will get along well with your children, you might also want to learn a little more about the adoption process in general.
The following are some things to know about adopting a dog, particularly when you have a family.
What is the Process to Adopt a Dog?
One of the first steps to adopt a pet is filling out an adoption application.
You can find a local dog adoption center online, or you can visit one locally. It can be a good idea to find an adoption center that is local to you because you may have to go multiple times to visit the dog you plan to adopt and ensure they’re going to be a good fit.
Your adoption application will include information about your family and living situation.
Then, the adoption center will contact you after processing your application, and that’s when you’ll start visiting to interact with potential new dogs.
Some centers might want to make a home visit before they let you adopt a dog.
It’s really important to shelter operators that they’re finding people who can truly provide a good long-term home for the animal.
While the shelter staff will want to ask you questions, you should also do the same.
Ask how the dog was socialized as a puppy, how long they’ve been at the rescue center, and whether they have any special needs you should know. You should also ask more about the dog’s life before they arrived at the shelter.
How To Choose the Right Dog
The shelter will likely have some suggestions for you as far as the dog you should adopt based on your lifestyle and family, but you may have preferences as well.
How do you know which dog is right for your family?
A lot of this is going to depend on how much time you can dedicate to the dog. For example, if you’re a stay-at-home or work-at-home parent, you might be able to adopt a puppy or younger dog because you’ll have more time to put toward training.
If you’re not home as much or perhaps just don’t want to dedicate the time to a puppy, then you might want an adult dog.
A lot of the dogs at shelters are mixed-breed.
If you have a certain breed in mind and you can’t find it at your local shelter, you might want to find a breed-specific rescue group.
Again, the breed you choose should be centered on your own energy levels and how much time you want to dedicate to walking, exercising, and training your new dog.
When you’re first visiting your potential new dog, you should go without your kids.
Otherwise, they might immediately fall in love, even though you might not think it’s the right dog for your family.
Once you’ve interacted with the dogs you might adopt, and you think you’ve narrowed it down, then consider bringing your kids for a visit.
Taking a New Dog Home
Work to avoid making any impulsive decisions when you choose a new dog.
Once you’re ready and you’ve found the right fit for your family, make sure you have all the equipment at home that you’ll need. Have a plan for how you’re going to introduce your new dog into your home. If you have other pets, you’re going to have to be slow and gradual in bringing a new dog home.
Within a week, you should plan to have a vet visit, and even if you’re adopting an older dog, you might want to go ahead and enroll in a basic training and obedience class.
The most important things you can remember and put into action when adopting a new dog are patience and remaining unemotional about the process. This will allow you to see things objectively and make a good long-term decision for your family. Too often people forget patience and get emotional in the process and they don’t find the right fit for their family.