What to do Next After Adopting Your Shelter Pet

by on October 5th, 2010 at 7:00 am

Adopting a pet into your family is a big step and takes a lot of commitment. Although in truth, some families jump in to pet adoption without knowing the full responsibilities, being spontaneous when it comes to pet adoption is definitely not a good idea. Below are a few things to keep in mind when considering pet adoption.

Homeward Bound

Once everyone is in agreement with pet adoption, it’s time to go get your new family member. Picking out a new pet can be exciting, but there are a few things you must keep in mind when you’re at your local shelter. Pet’s who are waiting to be adopted aren’t exactly in their element. Sometimes pets will become hostile, shy or even more playful when you are trying to find your “perfect pet”.

Once you find a pet that may fit your family, ask the manager if you can take him/her out to play for 5 minutes. These 5 minutes could be the time you need to judge whether or not the animal gets along with you and your family. In order to ensure a successful match, it’s best to bring along every member of your family.

Also, remember to make sure you get all the records of your new pet.  If your new pet hasn’t had all its shots, get records of the shots he or she has had. Read all the paperwork, sometimes animals are in the middle of getting their vaccinations while being adopted, if this is the case; make room in your budget to finalize all necessary vaccinations. It’s not uncommon for pets in shelters to contract respiratory issues, so you may be taking home an ill pet that will need medical attention. Make sure your budget includes any incidentals like veterinary care and medicine.

How to Avoid a Train Wreck

Keep in mind a lot of shelters house older pets and they may be a little harder to train. Older pets may be more set in their ways or remember training techniques from their previous owners. Positive reinforcement training may be the best form of training for an already trained dog. Cats don’t seem to need any training and their personality will speak for itself usually upon walking into your home. Some cats hide under beds while others want to be right in the middle of family time.

Positive reinforcement training requires patience and treats! When your new dog does something he or she was told to, offer a treat, and say the words good boy/girl. Do this every time until they become aware on their own that good behavior equals treats. Avoid being too strict though. Remember that you may not know all the details about your new pet’s past and they may have a history of abuse. Your pet could even become aggressive with you or other members in your family if he/she feels uncomfortable or scared.

Remember when adopting a shelter pet, it’s important to talk to everyone in the family and make sure they are all on board with the responsibilities that come along with pet adoption. It may even help to create a “pet chore list” in order to ensure all tasks regarding your new pet will be completed.

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