Rescue organizations around the world and here at home have reported a sharp increase in pet adoptions due to the shelter in place orders for most states. Many of you feel this has been an ideal time to offer a pet a new home, either because of the extra time you have or because adopting a dog or cat may bring a little extra comfort in these uncertain times.In many cities across the nation adoption and fostering is up by about 90%,“Folks who don’t have animals for one reason or another, because of their work schedule or their travel schedule, that’s all changed right now,” says Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
So, you have added that new lovable pet, now what? It may have been a somewhat emotional decision but now it’s a forever commitment. This new addition is yours to keep and care for through out the rest of his or her lifetime. So how do you adjust, and what’s next?.
Your new Dog! Ideally you called a family meeting to discuss adopting a dog, but that may not have actually happened as there was a rush to get to the humane society or rescue before all of the dogs were adopted. Don’t skip this part even if you have the dog at home now. Everyone needs to sit down for a few minutes to discuss everyone’s responsibility to your new pup. Depending on how old your children are or maybe it’s just you and your significant other, each of you needs to decide what your input will be. Who will be feeding the dog, who will be taking him or her out first thing in the morning and who gets the bedtime last potty-call. How often does your pup need to eat, 2 or 3 times a day and who gets the pleasure of preparing and feeding. Who will oversee formal training and how will everyone support the learning-process.
Let’s start with feeding.
A quick call to your vet would be a great place to start. Ask them to start a file for your pet and give them all the information you received from the shelter or rescue group. Plan on scheduling an appointment when it is safe to do so. Your vet will help guide you in food brand choices and amount of food to feed. They will have weight recommendations by breed and quality of food suggestions based on your budget. Remember typically a better quality of food can reduce the trips to the vet over the lifetime of the pet.
Many times, rescues come with a few manners already learned. You just need to tweak a few things and get them on a regular schedule. To begin with let them out the same door every time, either to a fenced yard or on a leash somewhere on your property. And be consistent, in time, they learn to go to that door to alert you that they need to go out. Remember a potty accident from your dog means you neglected to pay attention to either your pup’s cues or you weren’t paying attention to the clock and how long it was since he last went out.
As you are watching and observing your new pup you will start to see what he knows and understands. From there you can fill in what other commands you would like him to know. This is important to communicate to all of the family members; everyone needs to be teaching the same thing for each behavior. For example, does the command “down” mean to lay down or does it mean to stay “off” something or someone, like a person or furniture. Try to use only one word for one specific action. Once you all agree be sure you are reinforcing commands in a positive way. Treats are always great as long as the dog didn’t come to you with a weight problem. If so, try giving a no calorie treat like cooked green beans.
Once it is safe to do so research local trainers and training programs, this is one of the most important things you can do for your new pup and your family. Lastly start interviewing pet sitting companies. If this is your first pet or you haven’t had a pet in awhile you may forget that there will be times when you want or need to travel and it won’t work out to bring your pet along. Enter the pet sitter, look for a reliable, well recommended pet sitter or company that works 365 days a year.
Working with a reputable trainer.
Finding a knowledgeable veterinarian or clinic close to you and aligning yourself with a professional, reliable, caring pet sitting and dog walking company will set you and your pet up for success. Once all of this is in place you and the kids will be ready to go back to work and school.
Many shelters and rescues are celebrating this historic time in their history of operation. This is a statement for the compassion of people even in the most difficult times. Your new cat or dog will mark a time when people came together, and you participated in big way by adopting your new furry friend. Lezlie’s Pet Sitting and Dog Walking wishes you and your sweet cat or dog all the best as you begin this wonderful journey.