Tips On Adopting A Family Dog

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By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist

A house just isn’t a home without one. We’ve put together a checklist of tips to consider when you’re ready to bring a furry friend into the family home.

No Pet Shops: You probably know this one already, but don’t purchase your dog from a pet shop. Why? The puppies are usually from unethical puppy farms where they are bred for quantity and you shouldn’t support that! There’s usually discrepancies with the breeds that stores say they are, and you realise once they’re grown that you’ve actually wound up with the wrong kind.

Hold A Family Meeting: Set rules about who is going to do what for the dog (feeding, walking, grooming) and lay out an idea of the sorts of canine behaviour you won’t tolerate (e.g if the dog isn’t allowed on the couch, make sure every member of the family adheres to the rule too).

dog on couch

Have All The Gear: A bit like nesting. Before you purchase your new friend, make sure your home is ready to go with a stock of food, leashes, collars, water dish, kennel and bedding, toys, grooming equipment, etc. Just like a new baby, a puppy requires a lot of ‘stuff’.

Choose A Good Time: Don’t bring your new pal home only to go to work/school for a week right when they’re trying to settle in. Try to find a time when you will have a few days to spend with them and help them to adjust- school holidays or the Christmas season would be ideal.

Pet Proofing: Make sure your garden and home are free of baits, that all edibles are stored away (that includes shoes) and make sure you have a secure gate and fully fenced place to keep them.

family dog

Where To Get Them: We recommend adopting a rescue dog! There are plenty of great organisations in Sydney like the RSPCA which has a great selection process to ensure a good fit of dog and family, or the not-for-profit Sydney Cats and Dogs Home. If you go the pound route, dogs and puppies are usually quite cheap and come desexed and vaccinated. Don’t buy a dog straight over the internet. If you are going the breeder route- make sure you look at the litter before purchasing, view where they’re kept, ask for papers if they’re a particular breed, and even ask to see the mother and father dog- it’ll give you a good indication of how your puppy will turn out.

Visit The Vet: Even if they’re from a pound and have the important stuff like vaccinating and desexing done, still take them to a vet. Get to know your local vet- you might have to see them many times over the course of your dog’s life. Many vets have a puppy school so can help get you enrolled in one.

boy and dog
A Long Walk: Before bringing them into the house, take your new dog or puppy on a big walk. Introduce them to their new surrounds, and tire them out so they enter the house calmly and less stressed- pound dogs in particular may have been through a lot of unease, so it’s best to be aware of this.

Bringing Them Home: Once you have your dog or puppy, bring him home but confine them to just a room or 2 for the first couple of days whilst they adjust. Having a whole house to explore could be quite daunting.

Training: Expect house-training issues at first, and a few mistakes from your new family member. Be patient with them, and consider puppy school as an option which teaches really helpful things like heeling when walking, basic tricks, and how to properly socialise with other dogs.

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