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Things to consider when adopting a dog

Adopting a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have, but before bringing a new pup into your home, there are a few things you need to consider. After all, dogs looking for a new home have often already been through a lot, so you need to be sure that you can give them everything they need for a happy, healthy life.

What type of dog is right for you?

Choosing a dog to adopt is a bit like dating. You’re looking for a dog who is going to fit into your lifestyle, and the dog is looking for a home and family that fits it perfectly too.

So before you fall in love with those puppy dog eyes, you need a clear idea of what kind of dog is right for you.

  • What sort of temperament would you like in a dog?
  • How much daily exercise can you offer your new dog?
  • How much time are you prepared to dedicate to training?
  • Does your new dog need to be good around kids?
  • Do they need to be good with other pets?
  • Are you prepared to deal with any behavioural issues?
  • Are you prepared to deal with any medical issues?
  • Will your home suit your new dog?
  • Who will care for your dog whilst you’re at work?
  • Are you open to puppies or senior dogs?

Once you’ve discussed your expectations with the rescue centre, they’ll start looking for potential matches. Remember to be open-minded and try not to be swayed too much by appearance.

Border Collie looking up at owner

What to expect when applying to rehome a dog

Different rehoming centres have different requirements when it comes to the homes they offer dogs to and their application process. Be prepared that the process can be very slow or very quick, depending on your circumstances and the type of dog you are looking for.

Here’s a usual process that you’ll experience when rehoming a dog.

  1. Fill out an application – usually, this is done online or in person at a rehoming centre. It’ll ask questions about your family, home, requirements and preferences. You may be asked to submit an individual application for each dog you are interested in or just one that will be used to match you to appropriate dogs.
  2. Have an interview – after receiving your application, if the rehoming centre thinks you’d be a good match for one of their dogs, they may conduct an interview with you. They’re trying to get more information about your lifestyle and what you’re looking for, and whether the dog they have in mind is a good match.
  3. Home checks – At some point, most rehoming centres will want to carry out some kind of home check. This usually involves a member of their team visiting your home and checking the location is appropriate and that your house and garden are secure.
  4. Meet and greet with your dog – Rather than letting you pick out a dog, most rehoming centres prefer to match you with one or two specific dogs that closely meet your needs. At the introduction, they’ll be looking to see how you and the dog interact. It’s also your opportunity to see if the dog has the kind of temperament that you’re looking for. Sometimes multiple meet and greets are required, especially with more nervous dogs.
  5. Taking your dog home – After all this hard work, you’ll finally get the chance to take your dog home. The centre will stay in touch with you as your dog settles in to help out with any issues and keep track of how the dog is doing.

Bringing your new dog home

So you’ve found your perfect dog, and it’s time to bring them home. Here are our top tips to ensure everything goes smoothly.

  1. Preparation is key

Make sure your home is all ready for your new arrival. Check the house and garden are secure and set up a comfy space for your dog to settle in. If you’re bringing them home by car, make sure you’ve got a way to keep them safe and secure whilst travelling. Make sure you’ve purchased all the things they’ll need, like bedding, food, treats, toys, collars, leads and of course, a PitPat. (Psst – why not purchase a PitPat Value Bundle for a big discount on their food, bowl and PitPat?)

  1. Set up ‘zones’ in your house

Entering a new home can be an exciting experience for some dogs and a daunting challenge for others. Whichever category your dog falls into, it can be best to keep them in a small area of the house for a couple of days whilst they get used to their surroundings. This is especially important if you have other pets or children in the house. You can use baby gates and playpens to create partitions, and a crate with a cover can be a great quiet spot for your new dog to go to when they don’t want any attention.

  1. Introduce family members carefully

When you bring your pup home, don’t introduce them to everyone at once. Keep introductions calm and short, and don’t introduce them to any visitors until you’re happy that your dog is relaxed and happy.

  1. Stick to safe, secure areas for your first walk

Because you and your dog are still getting to know each other, stick to safe areas for your first few walks. Private dog walking fields are great for this and allow you to practice off-lead time in an environment where they can’t escape.

  1. Use a PitPat GPS for off lead time for peace of mind

When you take those first steps to let your dog off the lead, use a PitPat Dog GPS Tracker for peace of mind. Recently rescued dogs can be more flighty because they’ve yet to build a strong bond with their new owner and may not have a good recall. With a PitPat GPS, you’ll know you can find them if the unexpected happens.

  1. Start training as soon as possible

It’s just as important to train a rehomed dog as it is to train a puppy. Yes, your new dog might already be house-trained and know how to sit and lie down, but they have yet to establish a close bond with you, and one of the quickest ways to do that is to embark on training together. Many dog training schools run classes for recently rehomed dogs which help reinforce all the basics, even if they’re an incredibly good boy or girl already.

  1. Establish clear routines for your dog

A clear routine can help your new dog understand when it is time to relax, when it’s time for play and when it’s time for walkies. Using a PitPat to track your dog’s exercise, rest and play can be an incredibly useful indicator of how well your dog is settling in and getting used to their routines.

woman holding cocker spaniel wearing a PitPat

How to maximise your chances of being matched with a dog

Finding a dog who is a good match in a rehoming centre can be difficult, but it’s often just a case of waiting. To speed up the process, here are some things you can do.

  1. Be flexible – if you’re open to a wide variety of sizes, breeds, ages and appearances, you’ll get matched with a dog far more quickly than if you have a strict set of criteria. For example, many senior dogs in rescue centres are waiting for a new home, despite making wonderful, calm companions.
  2. Be honest about your lifestyle and needs – whilst it might seem easier to tell some white lies, in the long run it’s better for everyone if you’re honest (including kidding yourself that you’ll be happy walking an active dog for hours in the rain when you’d rather be sat at home with a cuppa!)
  3. Check when you can reapply – If you’ve not heard anything from the centre you’ve applied to for a while, it’s worth checking whether you need to reapply and how often you should do so.
  4. Register interest with all your local shelters – you never know where your perfect dog might turn up.
  5. Register to foster – rescue centres often need volunteers to take dogs into their homes on a temporary basis. You’ll need to be open to providing some training, driving back and forth to the centre as required, and even administering medication. And yes, you need to be prepared to hand the dog back at some point (but it’s worth noting that if you love them and they love you, many rescues will consider your application to adopt a foster dog as a priority.)
  6. Be patient – OK, OK, we know this won’t speed things up, but a bit of patience goes a long way. These things take time, but you’ll find your furever dog at exactly the right time.

Throughout the whole adoption process, the rehoming centre you adopt from will be there to support you, including long after your dog has left their care. And with PitPat GPS, it’s easy to keep your dog healthy, happy and safe (even when a squirrel runs right past their nose…)

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