Guide to a Succesful Adoption
Whether you rescue him off the street or adopt him from an animal shelter, the streetwise stray can be a challenge to incorporate into your family. Second-hand dogs often come to us with an unknown past. As a result, they require a lot of time and extra helpings of tender loving care, to learn how to be good canine citizens.
Adopting an adult dog makes sense for many people, because they recognize that taking in an adult dog can be much easier than adopting a busy puppy. Others choose to adopt adult dogs because they recognize that these animals desperately need a second chance. Whatever your reason, the special effort required on your behalf is rewarded tenfold with the unqualified love and loyalty that your new canine companion will offer in return.
The first step on the road to success with a second-hand dog (or any new pet) is to visit your veterinarian. Set a schedule for vaccination shots and, if it has not already been done, have the dog spayed or neutered. A spayed or neutered pet is easier to train and less likely to roam and fight. More importantly, once he or she is "fixed," you can have peace of mind, knowing that your dog will not contribute to the ever-increasing problem of pet overpopulation.
Off To School
Next you should enroll your dog in an obedience class. This will not only help you train the dog, but also offer him a chance to socialize with other dogs and people in a controlled environment.
Buying and properly using a training crate or kennel can also help to determine success. Your first few days and weeks with your new dog is a time to set limits, establish routines and ensure that the dog is properly housebroken. There is simply no better or more humane training aid to help achieve these goals than with a crate. If you have a problem with the concept of crate training, then you also need to adopt a new attitude - think of the crate as your dog's den, not a cage. A crate is your dog's bed, his place of sanctuary, warmth and comfort.
Ask For Help
If you are finding your pre-owned dog more of a challenge than you had ever imagined, don't give up hope. Discuss the behavior problems with your veterinarian or call a canine behavior specialist who can help you overcome most problems.