By adopting a dog, you might be saving a life — and you’re
certainly enriching your own with love and companionship for years to come.
Because you’re making a long-term commitment, you’ll
want to make sure you’re taking all the right steps before you bring home your
new pal. We’re here to help, so we’ve created a list of five common mistakes
people make when they decide to adopt a dog. That way, you can avoid these pitfalls and start off on the right foot with your new pet.
1. Jumping Into It
Dogs are hard to resist and getting one can be so exciting that
some people make the mistake of diving headfirst into pet ownership when
quite ready. You need to give serious thought to whether you’re in the
right place in your life for a dog. As much as you want a furry friend, think
about whether you can afford the products and food and veterinary care he’ll need
and whether you have a lifestyle with the time to give him the
exercise and attention he’ll require. If you decide this is something you’re ready
for, check out our list
of essentials to get before bringing him home.
2. Not Doing Your Research
Here’s your chance to look at lots of cute dogs online! Take
our breed finder quiz to
figure out what types of dogs would be the best fit for you and your family.
You’ll want to think about whether there are allergies in your family (although you should keep in mind that there's really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog), whether
you want a big or small dog, what kinds of activities you want to do with your
dog and what kind of personality you want your pooch to have. Then, search the Internet for adoptable dogs at local shelters and rescues. Look
into each organization's requirements and application process before you go so you don’t
risk losing out on a dog you fall in love with.
3. Only Having Eyes for Puppies
Obviously, puppies are adorable. Who wouldn’t be tempted to bring
home a sweet, playful little bundle of joy? But they’re also lots of work. It
takes time to train
them and socialize
them — and you can expect some messes and chewed-up items along the way.
So, don’t make the mistake of overlooking a senior dog in need of a home. These
lovable dogs have a lot to offer. They’re typically
trained already, and they’re usually more mellow than their younger
4. Assuming You Can’t Get a Purebred Dog
While there are many wonderful things about mutts, some
people have a penchant for a specific breed — and they assume they can only get
them from a breeder. But that’s not the case. If you want to adopt a purebred
pooch, start with a breed-specific
rescue. One advantage is that the rescue’s volunteers often know a lot
about the breed and can help you determine if it is indeed right for you. Finding
a purebred to rescue can take some time, but the volunteers will work with you
to find a dog who’s a good fit for you.
5. Not Getting to Know Each Other
Hopefully your family and your new dog — including any pets you already
have — are going to spend years together. So it helps if you can
add a new family member who will get along with everyone. Ask the shelter staff and
volunteers or the rescue group to tell you what they know about the dog’s
personality and behaviors and try to arrange to spend
time together outside of her kennel. You may even see if you can have a
sleepover or foster
the pup for a while to get to know each other in your home environment. If
you have another dog at home, bring him with you for a meet-and-greet so you
don’t have the heartbreak of discovering later that they don’t get along.