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9+1 Things to Do to Prepare for Your Newly Adopted Dog

Adrienn began volunteering for TAGS in June 2012. She loves to run wild and chase squirrels with the family dog during long walks. Check out her 9+1 list on what to do before your adopted dog arrives.
 
Adoption is one of the greatest ways to help an animal in need. By giving a homeless pet a new home and a loving family, you become a hero. But there is much to do before all the paperwork is finalized. Aside from getting the most obvious accessories like a bowl, a bed, food, and toys, find out from this 9+1 list how you can be fully prepared for the arrival of your new family member.
 
1. Schedule dog walks
 
Dingo is available for
adoption through TAGS.
Make sure that your family—especially the children—are aware of the responsibility of having a dog. Set up a “walk schedule” adjusted to each family member’s free time and shared among everyone equally. Don’t be surprised, though, if the kids’ enthusiasm lessens after the first few weeks. Create programs that involve everybody so as to ensure bonding with the dog occurs on a family level.
 
2. Fix your fence
 

Even the friendliest, calmest dog can get stressed out in a new situation, so it’s very important to check your fence for holes or weak sections in order to avoid any successful escape attempts. This is especially important if you live close to a busy street.

 
3. Travel safely
 
Sometimes you will have to transport your dog to the vet/dog park/Uncle Joe’s, so you must have the appropriate equipment in the car. Start with a seat belt designed for dogs for your dog’s safety. Petsmart carries seat belts ranging from $9.99 to $44.99.
 
Another useful thing is a seat cover hammock to keep your seats fur-free. It’s also waterproof. Less cleaning for you, and the dog still gets to enjoy the car ride and the view. One of the cheapest online is $31.79 at Dinodirect.
 
4. Know your signs
 
Many people put “Beware of dog” signs on their door or gate to discourage potential bad guys. It’s a good idea until your dog bites a burglar who ignored the sign. This sign could work against you, implying that you were aware of your dog being dangerous. Use more neutral signs instead, like “Dog on premises,” which you can buy for a couple of bucks at Petsmart.
Plan for emergencies. You can help protect your pets by putting a decal on your front door with a message for firefighters: “In case of fire/emergency, please don’t forget our pets.” You can get these at your local pet store, alarm company, or fire department.
 
5. Introduce other pets
 
If you already have a dog, you’ll want to make sure that he or she gets along with the new member of the pack. Uniquely, TAGS provides not just a home visit but also an extended visit, where your future dog stays with you for up to a week, so by the time the new pet is transferred to you, your dogs will greet each other as old friends.
 
6. Choose your vet
 
If you don’t already have a vet, look around in your area for one. Ask your friends with pets about their experiences. Don’t wait until the last minute to register your pet with a clinic. It is best to bring him or her to the vet for a checkup shortly after adopting. This is a list of veterinarians in Durham:

http://durhampet.net/Clinics&Hospitals.htm.

 
Marley is available for adoption
through TAGS.
7. Pet-proof your home
 
Many household items can be dangerous for a dog. Start with hiding electrical cords away, so your dog won’t chew on them. Simple things, such as blinds, drapery or long cords at the window can be strangulation hazards. Put all medications in a safe place up high, because determined dogs will chew certain things to the smallest pieces possible. Remember, that chocolate is one of the most poisonous foods for a dog. Also, if you have any plants at home, have a look at the listof indoor and outdoor plants that can be deadly to dogs.
8. Prepare for your training classes
When you adopt a dog from TAGS, an eight-week behaviour training course is included. TAGS subscribes to positive reinforcement training methods, so your dog will get lots of treats. To prepare yourself and your dog for the course, test a few different kinds of treats to find which ones are of the highest value to your dog—which ones he or she will work for. These are the ones you’ll want to bring to class. You should also have a six-foot leash and a lunge lead (available at Dollarama) for your training lessons.

9. Think about vacation planning
Where will your pets go when you go on vacation? With you? Or will they stay at a friend’s house? Maybe a pet hotel? Decide ahead of time what you want to do with them while you are on holiday. Unless you are taking them with you, you’ll want to scout out your options. Visit the boarding facility to see where your dog will sleep, ask whether your dog will be walked or have playtime with other boarders, and find out how your dog will spend the days. To ensure you enjoy your holiday, you want to know your dog is getting good care (you can try http://www.brooklinpetcare.com/).

+1 tip
 
If possible, try to arrange to be free the first few days after the new dog arrives. This will give you some time to get to know each other. As tempting as it may be, don’t invite a huge crowd to see the newcomer because that will just stress out your little one. Let the dog explore his or her new home freely, and slowly start to introduce boundaries. After a while, your rescued dog will feel as if he or she has always lived there—safe, healthy, happy, loved.
Do you have any other adoption tips to share? Pictures or videos of your adopted dog? Don’t hesitate—tell us in the comments!



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