Best of the Best: Best Tips for Getting a Shelter Dog!

You will never believe what you will find!

Recently I took a trip down to the local shelter.  I highly recommend you take a trip there yourself to get an idea of the reality of the pet situation in your neighborhood.  Rows upon rows of dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens all looking for a warm home and loving owners.  I had no intention of getting another pet while I was there; I simply wanted to have a look for myself.  The last time I went to the shelter, I was too young to remember it, and I thought it would be a good idea to refresh my memory.

I spent a few hours taking some of the dogs out of their kennels and simply playing fetch with them, just to give them a chance to get out for a while.  Some people may call it teasing, but I think it is better to give them a little break then no break at all.

The last dog I took out of the kennel that day was Mercedes, a two-year-old German Shepherd Mix.  I was astounded by her calm demeanor and her amazing listening skills.  She already knew several commands such as sit, stay, and lay down.  Of course, seeing such a wonderful dog sitting in a shelter, my heart could not hold back. I had to take her home!  The only problem with this was that I have another dog at home, a three-year-old Yorkie named Diesel.

This is probably one of the main concerns that people have when adopting a pet.  Will the new pet get along with my current pet?   Below are a few tips that I would suggest you read over before you get a friend for your friend at home.

1. Take your current dog down to the dog park, or over to a friend’s house that has other dogs.

The first thing you must realize is that the reaction you receive from your current pet may be different than what you expect.  Animals have complex feelings and a lot of this may depend on how they have been raised.  Have you had your pet around other pets for extended periods of time?  Such as with other relative’s pets or possibly going to the dog park on a consistent basis?  If not, your dog could act aggressively around other dogs and be less likely to take kindly to a new dog.

2. Be ready for the territory war.

Another thing to be cautious of is the idea that your current dog may become territorial. This not only means anger and aggression toward the new dog over certain areas of the home or toys, but also the possibility of marking his or her territory by urinating.

3. Show love to all your pets!

The best way to prevent jealousy or “alpha dog complex” is by showing love to all of your pets.  When you pet one dog, the other is likely to come over to get some of the attention as well, so this part should be easy.   Of course, somewhere down the line, your dogs will have to learn to take turns, but it is imperative to do your best to offer the same attention to both!  It is also smart to avoid allowing one dog to do something that the other dog cannot.  For example: if you have a little dog that has always been allowed on the couches, and then you get a big dog and do not want him on the couches, you should refrain from letting the smaller dog on the couch as well.  Otherwise this can confuse the dogs.

4.  Try your best to not leave dogs alone for long periods of time.

Until your dogs become familiar with one another, and you feel confident that they are able to remain calm and civil with one another, do not leave them at home alone.   If you have to leave both of your dogs home alone, separate them first.  Keep one outside and one in the house, until you return home.  This is not something you will have to do forever, but it is smart to do, at first, until you can be sure that they will be civil with one another.

Many shelters will allow you to bring in your current dog to make sure that they get along before you bring the dog home!  I would highly suggest doing this to ensure that you are going to have a happy home for everyone involved!

Please always remember there are great pets at the shelter!  Many of which have lost their owners for various reasons.  My new dog Mercedes was left at the shelter due to the fact that the owner could not afford her anymore.  As I said before, she already knows her basic commands and she is actually already house broken.  So, before you go looking for your next dog, make sure you are ready for one at home; then, take your current dog with you and head to your local pound or shelter to find an amazing friend!

If you have a story about your dog or cat you adopted from the shelter we would love to hear about it!  Please comment below and share your story with us!

Featured Photo Courtesy of spotreporting

5 thoughts on “Best of the Best: Best Tips for Getting a Shelter Dog!

  1. Last year my husband and I went to our local humane society to adopt a dog. We were looking for a dog around 25 to 30 pounds. We came home with a American pitbull mix that was 65 pounds. She actually adopted us! Pitbull mixes get a bad name, but we truly found a loving dog, who loves people and loves to play with other dogs at doggie day care. Our local humane society rescued Molly from another shelter, where they euthanize any dog that looks like it has any pitbull in them. Since adopting Molly, I have become a volunteer at our local humane society, and I’m very impressed with their organization and all they do for all the animals that are in their care.

  2. We adopted a Schnoodle last August. She didn’t come to us from a shelter, but was rescued from an abusive situation by our neighbor. We also have 2 Shelties and an Airedale Terrier. The Shelties are so laid back that they accept other dogs very easily, but we were a bit concerned about the territorial and protective Airedale. For safety’s sake, we put a muzzle on him and the introduced the two at a close-by school yard, neutral territory. After walking them around together for a while, we walked home. It only took 2 days and just a few reprimands by my husband ( the male voice seems to carry more weight) for them to feel comfortable with each other. During some of that time, the Schnoodle was in a crate so she was safe but the other dogs could investigate her. If we had to leave the house, the others were put into the mudroom. Now everyone is best of friends and we are delighted with our puppy four-pack.

  3. I think this is an awesome blog. Our children adopted their dogs from a shelter and they are the greatest. They were a little gun shy at first and seemed to click with one person first. So, they let them slowly get use to the whole family. I don’t know if you have heard of the pest control companies that have dogs that sniff out bed bugs. They get all their dogs from the shelter.

  4. While walking with my daughter through a Farmer’s Market in California, I came across a rescue group called “Hearts for Hounds”, a group from which my daughter had adopted two of her dogs. They set up fenced areas and bring dogs for adoption. I fell in love with a teeny, tiny 2.6 lbs Chiquaqua. I immediately called my husband (who was at home in Florida) and asked if I could bring home a dog. He snorted and hung up. Two seconds later my daughter’s phone rang … “Your mother wants to bring home a dog … what am I supposed to say after 53 years of marriage? No?” Guess who now talks baby talk to her, and wants her to sleep with us. Our only problem with her is that she is a very finicky eater … she won’t eat any dog food, wet or dry, no matter how long I leave it down for her. Any suggestions as to how I can get her to eat?

  5. Hello Marilyn!

    Trouble with eating is a hard problem to solve. Some dogs simply don’t like to be on time restraints, so to speak. They like to eat at their leisure. A few bites here, a few bites there. If she really isn’t eating anything, that is a different story. Sometimes it is a game of trying one food after another till you get one that she likes. Of course that is a tedious and expensive route. My best suggestion to you would be to try the Food Sprinkles. They add flavor to your dog’s food that may get her more interested in eating! Just go to the web address below.

    I hope this information is helpful! Good luck!

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