Adoption is a commitment to sharing your life with a dog for the duration, it is not something to do on a whim.
How to Commit
Realistic expectations: Get the dog that fits your life. You’re not going to change, so don’t expect the dog to. If you’re a couch potato, get a low-energy dog. Have kids? Consider what temperament is best. Think before you leap. It’s a big decision, not an impulse.
Patience: A shelter dog needs time, to adjust, to settle in, to feel safe. They’ve been traumatized. Even the most housetrained senior dog might have accidents, or chew something up out of stress. Be patient.
Exercise: Nothing balances a dog more than exercise. Walk, run, go to the doggie park. Moving forward is how a dog propels their body, their thinking. An exhausted dog is a happy dog.
Training: Obedience training is essential, whether individual lessons or a group at Petco, just do it.
Nutrition: Dogs, like people, can become irritable, hyper, depressed if fed the wrong diet. There’s great dog food out there, and there’s horrible food. Do your research, because it does make a difference. We strongly recommend a raw food diet. See Dr. Ian Billinhurst’s book “The BARF Diet”.
Leadership: Dogs need to know their place in the pack. It’s their nature. If they don’t have that, they’re confused and stressed, and unwanted behaviors appear. Leadership is key and comes through positive training and consistency.