The unfortunate fact is, there is no shortage of rescue dogs available. That being said there are many things to consider about what type of dog you want to bring into your life. Two major questions to ask yourself are: Why do I want a dog and what do I want to do with it?
Dogs have been mans best friend for the better part of 15,000 years. There are so many reasons why we want dogs. Determining the “why” and “what” will help determine the “which” dog we want. Do you want a dog purely for companionship? Do you want a dog for a purpose on top of companionship?
If you want a dog that will hang out on the couch and watch Netflix with you all day, you wouldn’t want to bring home a German Shepard. At the same time, if your the type to go for a 3 hour hike in the forest every chance you get, please don’t attempt it with a chihuahua.
Once the above questions have been answered, there are other things to consider. What kind of home can you provide for this dog for the next 10-15 years. A dog becomes a member of the family for the duration of its life. How busy is your life? Are you able to commit to a dogs exercise requirements for the duration of their life? A large backyard is not necessary to have a dog, and a large backyard is not a substitute for proper exercise. But a large secured backyard is always a bonus.
If you have children, are they old enough to be responsible around a dog? Some dogs are good with kids, some dogs are not so good with kids. Regardless, all children and dogs should be supervised together at all times. Dogs display warning signs that children might not understand, and it is the responsibility of the dogs owner to protect it from children that are not treating it properly. It is much better to protect your dog, then to have your dog feel the need to protect itself.
If you live in an apartment, condo, or house with a shared wall, there maybe noise issues to keep in mind. Where your home is located will also play a role, as different settings have different challenges. Rural dogs rarely have to deal with a lot of sidewalk traffic, urban dogs rarely have to deal with coyotes trying to sneak into the backyard.
There are many different factors that will influence the type of dog you bring home and make a part of your family. It can seem overwhelming. Reputable dog rescue organizations work hard to make sure they match the right person with the right dog. Be honest about your lifestyle and intentions, and let the rescue do it’s job! The right dog is out there!
So you have made your choice, applied, been approved, and Rover is all yours in a week. Now what?
First of all, congratulations on your new dog! You will want to make sure you have everything prepared for your new dog before you bring it home.
There are a few things every single dog needs. Every dog needs access to fresh water, and every dog needs to be fed. Therefore you will need two food bowls. They should be big enough for your dog to fit its entire muzzle inside of them. If your dog is larger, there are food bowls with a rubber bottom to prevent it from sliding all over the floor when your dog is eating.
Make sure you choose a high quality dog food, please do not use grocery store brands. It is a lot cheaper to spend a little more each month on a high quality dog food then it is to be hit with high vet bills later in your dogs life because it has never eaten properly.
Your dog will also need exercise, and it will need to come home (most likely) in a vehicle. For this you will need a proper fitting martingale collar, a harness, two good quality leashes, and a seatbelt. The first two weeks of being home, your dog is still adjusting. There is a much greater chance of your dog being lost or “bolting” in this time period. It is highly recommended and in some cases required by rescues to use 2 separate points of control on the dog the first two weeks. This means the dog wears a martingale collar, and a harness, with one leash clipped to both. It is important to make sure collars and harness’s fit your dog properly and securely. They are not something a dog can grow into.
It takes hundreds, if not thousands of hours to train your dog to come when called without a leash under any circumstances. And it takes thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours spent by qualified trackers to catch a lost dog. Odds of a successful capture of a healthy dog are not great. Don’t risk losing your dog.
A seatbelt is also very important. Not only will it protect your dog in the case of a motor vehicle accident, it is also much easier and safer for the driver of the vehicle to have the dog secured. Many dogs go lost if the vehicle they are in is involved in an accident, and this loss usually takes place on a busy roadway!
You will also need treats for training, and like dog food, it is important that you only purchase high quality treats to feed your dog. Many dogs get sick from dollar store treats, and again, these can lead to health problems later in life, which can get very expensive.
So now that you have food and dishes and treats and leashes, where is the dog going to live? Will your dog have it’s own room? It’s own part of the house? Will you crate train your dog? Provided it is used correctly, crates and crate training can be very valuable. All dogs should be crate trained, even if that dog doesn’t need a crate in the home. They may need to go to the vet for an emergency one day, which will be stressful enough without having to be crated for the very first time. It is important to get a crate sized appropriately for your dog as an adult. This is something your dog can grow into.
People often rush out and buy expensive
dog beds to give to their brand new rescue dog. Sadly most of these dogs don’t know what a comfortable place to sleep is, and that expensive bed will generally get torn to shreds during their transition period. Save your money. An old blanket or t shirt that smells like you is all your dog needs at first. Once they have settled, go spend all money you want on a special bed for them.
Regular chew and plush toys are also not needed right away, your rescue has most likely never had them, and they will not have earned them right away anyways. Enrichment toys like kongs or sniff pads are a different story, and can be used to help a dog settle in and get used to his new life. These toys are an essential part of keeping your dog mentally stimulated while your not with them.
If you have all these items covered, it’s time to bring home your dog.