If you and your family are looking to welcome a dog to the family, you may find that adoption is for you. It’s a wonderful and rewarding thing, to adopt a dog: you are giving a home an animal that needs it. However, it is also a big commitment, and not without its challenges. It’s important to make sure that you and your family are prepared to take on this responsibility.
Is Your Family Ready to Adopt a Dog?
You should ask yourself the following questions before you adopt a dog:
- Can I provide a safe home for a dog?
- Do I have adequate space for the size of dog I want?
- Do I have the time to take the dog out on walks every day?
- Can I afford the cost of food and occasional medical bills?
- Am I committed to caring for a dog for its entire life, which could be 10 years or more?
If you answer yes to all of these questions, then you are ready to adopt.
Should You Adopt a Dog if You Have Young Children?
Many parents have an idealistic vision of their children growing up alongside a furry best friend. This is nice in theory, but in practice, parents will have to do most of the dog caring themselves – on top of the pressures of looking after young children! It is therefore better off to wait until the children are a bit more self sufficient, and at an age to help look after the dog.
Which Type of Dog Would Be a Good Fit for Your Family?
Each dog has its own individual personality. So, while certain breeds (such as Labradors and Beagles) are typically more compatible with children than others, there is variance. Therefore, try to avoid choosing solely based on breed – ask to spend some time interacting with a number of your favourite dogs. This will help you decide which temperament is best compatible to you and your family.
What If the Dog You Adopt Begins to Act Aggressively?
It’s important to expect a period of adjustment after your dog has been transitioned to their new home. It is normal for the dog to act slightly differently during this period as compared to how they acted at the shelter: they may display more shyness or anxiousness. It is not common for an adopted dog to be aggressive, but any dog can show aggressiveness. They will often just need to get over this period of big change before they can relax and feel comfortable.
It advisable to invest in obedience training sessions as early on as possible to avoid potential behavioural issues down the line. Like children, dogs are more behaved when they understand the rules, so training will help to improve your dog’s disposition.
What If Your Adopted Dog Doesn’t Seem to Be Compatible With Your Family?
If the adjustment period has passed and your children and dog are still not compatible — maybe the dog is really shy or anxious and that isn’t changing with time — most shelters and rescue organisations will allow you to return your pet. However, this should be a last resort.
Returning a dog is a serious matter — not at all like returning clothes that don’t fit. When a dog gets returned to a shelter, it can give the impression that something is wrong with the dog, which is usually not the case. However, if the adoption is truly not working out, you may want to start with your own family and friends to find a new home for the animal.
The best way to avoid returning an adopted dog is to make sure that you have a clear idea of what qualities you are looking for in a pet. For example, you should think about whether or not you’d like a dog that likes to play and has a lot of energy, as this type of behaviour may be problematic in certain family dynamics. When you know what you want from a dog, it proves easier to find the right fit for you.