1. Make sure you have given careful thought before you adopt a dog. They are social animals and enjoy company so if you are out much of the time, they may get bored or distressed. A dog needs to be exercised with two good walks at least, morning & afternoon/evening. Consider the cost of food and vet bills for things such as regular flea and worming treatments and annual booster vaccinations and also factor in the cost of pet insurance.
We would advise shopping around to compare quotes but please remember, cheapest isn’t always best. Check any excesses that might apply and that the insurance company will continue to provide cover when your pet gets older. If you are in rented accommodation, will your landlord allow you to keep a dog? Do you have access to a secure outside space so your dog can be let out to relieve itself? Finally, can you offer a forever home for a rescue dog?
2. Pick the right dog for you. Consider the size/age/type of dog to fit in with your circumstances and lifestyle. Go to our kennels and take the dog for a walk or have a game with it in an enclosed area. Get to know it and if necessary, go back for a follow up visit to ensure you have made the right choice. If you want to know more about a dog, feel free to ask at the kennels or ring us on 01226 388764. Remember many of our dogs are picked up as strays and rescued from pounds so we don’t always know their history.
3. Once you have chosen your dog – phone us on 01226 388764. We will discuss your choice of dog to ensure it is the right one for you. For example if you have children and we know a dog is nervous around them, we will discuss whether one of our other dogs would be more suitable. If you live locally, we would then usually arrange a home visit to make sure that you have fully considered all aspects of dog ownership, give advice on making sure gardens are secure and also about diet and exercise. You will be given an opportunity to ask as many questions as you like as we want to ensure you are 100% certain before you adopt a dog from us.
You will be asked to sign an adoption form and pay an adoption fee. Once this is done, you can collect your dog as soon as is convenient. We will arrange to update the appropriate microchip database to put everything in your name, together with the telephone numbers and email address you have provided. Most dogs come already neutered but in some cases this won’t have been done, for example if a bitch has recently been in season. In these circumstances, you will get a neutering voucher instead.
If you live some distance away, we may be able to get another rescue to do a home visit on our behalf. Otherwise, if you have had a pet in the recent past and have used a vet, we may opt to do a vet reference check instead. We would be asking your vet to confirm you are a responsible owner and for example, that you have sought timely treatment when necessary and have regularly flea’d and wormed and had your pet neutered.
4. Settling in your new dog. Please remember your new pet has had a few upheavals. They may have been abandoned, put in stray kennels, moved to our kennels and then to a new home. They don’t know that this new home will be forever! Give your dog space and time to settle and don’t overwhelm them with too much too soon. Make sure they have plenty of opportunities to go outside to go to the toilet, especially first thing in the morning, after meals and last thing at night. If you see them sniffing at the floor and circling, let them out fast! All they need is love, food, walks, things to fetch (and chew) a comfy bed and patience! In return, you will get unconditional love and a loyal companion.
5. Diet. Start your dog off with the food they are familiar with, otherwise you will cause an upset tummy. The kennels will be able to tell you what they have been fed on. When changing over to new food, do it gradually with a mixture of old and new until their digestive system gets used to the change. Start by mixing your dog’s food so it’s about 25% new food and 75% of their regular food. After 3 or more days, increase the amount of new food so it’s about 50%, mixed with 50% of the regular food. After another 3 or more days, if everything is ok, increase the mix to 75% new and 25% old. After a further 3 or more days, if everything is still ok you can just feed the new food. Almost all dogs switch over easily but slow down the change if there is any sign of tummy upset.
Don’t be tempted to buy cheap dog food as it can be false economy. It is often bulked up with cheap ingredients, isn’t as high in protein and doesn’t contain all the vitamins and nutrients that you will get in a quality product. Your dog will be healthier, need fewer trips to the vets and will likely live longer if you feed them on quality food. We will be happy to advise or you could also get information from the internet. Pets at Home have collected ingredient information from lots of dog food brands, so you can make an informed decision. Click here to find out more: Pets at Home What’s in the recipe?
6. Obedience and training. Don’t let your dog off the lead too soon and not before you are confident about their recall and behaviour around people, children and other dogs. We do not recommend letting your dog off the lead in a public area. If you are very lucky, your dog will have had some basic training to sit, stay, down or fetch but if not, you need to start by teaching some essential rules;
- No biting or chewing of humans, even in play
- No unnecessary barking
- No jumping up at people
Be consistent and remember that your dog will be eager to please. Start as you mean to go on. If the dog isn’t allowed on the furniture or in certain rooms, don’t let it but keep to the same rules otherwise your dog will be confused. Praise and reward (with fuss or treats) for good behaviour and use a stern “No” command when necessary. Consider socialisation classes or training classes if you need to. One to one training is also available in most localities if required.
- Let the dog know what is yours and what is theirs. This includes food, beds and anything chewable
- Be consistent and encourage, not punish. Positive encouragement and reinforcement will promote good behaviour whereas smacking and shouting will just develop fear and an increased risk that a dog may bite
- Have fun and your dog will respond better and learn quicker
- If I like it, it’s mine
- If it’s in my mouth, it’s mine
- If I can take it from you, it’s mine
- If you are playing with it and you put it down, it’s mine
- If I’ve chewed it, slobbered over it and I’m bored with it, it’s yours – until I want it back!