Adopting A Dog

If you are looking for a lifelong companion, then bringing a dog into your family could be a tremendously rewarding experience. Purchasing a pedigree or “designer” dog can be a costly process, with long waitlists, which is why adopting a pet can be both a more cost-effective and ethical way to find your friend for life. After all, when adopting a dog in Australia, you could quite literally be saving a life, all while enriching your own. To help you consider the different aspects of how to adopt a dog, we have compiled some helpful information to get you started

Two Paragraphs

Understanding your dog: Insights from Kimberley Nicolle, Qualified Force-Free Dog Trainer

Important things to consider before adopting a dog into your family. 

Dog Adoption Process

So, you have committed to adopting a canine companion. Congratulations! Be mindful that pet adoption requirements and processes can be quite involved. This is to ensure that both you and the animal are shown the utmost care and consideration, that everyone’s needs are met and that good matches can be made between people and their prospective pets. Before you even apply, be sure to carefully read all the pet adoption requirements as listed by the organisation you are working with to make sure that your values align with theirs. You will need to fully understand the responsibilities and practicalities of adopting a dog in general as well as understanding the specific details of the individual pet or pets you wish to meet.

Tips on Adopting a Dog

While there is no one-size-fits-all guide to adopting a dog, you can prepare yourself to ensure that the process is a smooth one for both you and your potential pet. Some important things to know when adopting a dog are:

  • The different adoption processes for different shelters or rescue organisations
  • How you will select your dog – what dog may be best for you or your family
  • How to care for your new dog or puppy – physically, mentally, emotionally, medically
  • Whether you may consider pet insurance
  • What pet essentials you will need to keep your dog happy and healthy at home

Having a better idea about each of these topics will help you experience a smoother adoption process as you will be able to communicate your family’s needs so that you can be matched with a dog that is best suited to you.

Prepare for a Dog

Caring for a pet takes a lot of work but is also a lot of fun. To help you prepare for the arrival of your new dog or puppy, there are some things that you can get ready ahead of time to set up for success. Making sure your home and garden is suitably prepared or “doggy-proofed” to keep your dog safe is an absolute must. This is also true of your cars and vehicles to keep your new dog safe and comfortable while travelling. Puppy proof your house by making sure things that you don’t want to fall victim to chewing are safely out of reach.
It’s a good idea to ensure that you have all the necessary products and practices in place before your new friend arrives. To make things simpler, you can develop a “preparing for a puppy checklist” to make sure that nothing is overlooked. For example, you may need a variety of items including collars and ID tags, leads and harnesses, water and food bowls, enrichment items such as food dispensing toys, lick mats and snuffle rugs, supplies of a complete and balanced food, dog beds and rest areas, toys and balls, treats, grooming and cleaning products, and parasite control products. A dog crate or “zen den” is a great idea so that your new dog has a special safe zone to retreat to which is their own place of relaxation and respite.

Selecting a Dog Breed

When adopting a dog, choosing the right dog breed for you and your family is a decision that needs to be considered during the adoption process. There are many different types and breeds of dog, each one with its own unique appearance and needs. Some breeds are predisposed to certain physical or medical issues. Some breeds require more maintenance and grooming and some breeds are better suited to certain climate conditions.
Understanding the reason why you are getting a dog and reflecting on what you hope to gain from the relationship with your pet will help you begin to think about the type of dog to suit you. The goal should be to nurture a strong human-animal bond from the start. 
Be mindful that it is a widespread myth that certain breeds have certain temperaments and personalities. Don’t fall victim to “breedism” or breed bias. The truth is that within every breed there exists the full spectrum of temperaments and personalities. It is not true that certain breeds always share expected behaviour traits. Your decision to get a dog should NOT be predicated on the breed alone. Choosing a dog needs to be based on that individual dog’s characteristics. It is worthwhile doing dog breed research to find out about the physical characteristics of the breed but be wary of misguided information you may come across in regards to generalised statements about breed behaviour traits. Doing dog breed research online will often return inaccurate information. Be sure to meet and greet your dog and spend some time with them before finalising the adoption. Consider a trial first if possible, to see if they integrate well into your family and lifestyle and meet your expectations.

Where to Get a Dog

There are many places where you can find a dog to welcome into your family. Whether buying a dog from a registered or unregistered breeder, or fostering a dog, adopting a dog or rescuing a dog from animal shelters or other organisations, it is important to thoroughly research and consider the implications and repercussions of your choice. Animal shelters, animal welfare institutions and rescue groups can be a go-to for information and advice about the best way that you can support such certified animal organisations and charities to keep doing their great work.

Caring for a Dog

Taking care of your pet is not a task to take lightly. When you adopt a dog, you are responsible for looking after a life, with all the duties that this entails. Knowing how to take care of a dog is extensive, from meeting their diverse daily needs to looking after them when they are sick. Regular visits to the vet and quality parasite protection, like NexGard SPECTRA®, are an important part of keeping them happy and healthy.

Getting Pet Insurance

Knowing how to get pet insurance for your dog is valuable. Dogs can frequently get sick and injured just like humans and they require a quality level of care to help them recover which can incur unexpected and high costs, making the experience even more stressful. With plenty of pet insurance options available, you can compare quotes online to find the best coverage to suit you and your pet’s medical needs.

Dog Training

Making sure that your pet receives appropriate training to promote positive behaviours is essential. From new puppy training to helping an older dog adjust to new surroundings, dog training  is a useful tool for any family. Training helps both you and your dog have an easier existence and helps avoid conflict and stress. Many dogs enter shelters because of reasons like divorce or financial changes, so some of these animals are already house-trained and accustomed to living with people. 
Always ensure any training is force-free and fear-free, using only positive reinforcement techniques and no punishment. You should seek out qualified and competent dog trainers because the dog training industry in Australia is unregulated and there are trainers who may not be up to date with best practice and who may be using out-dated techniques. To search for accredited trainers, click here.

Fostering a Dog

If you are unsure about making a permanent commitment to one animal, then fostering a dog may be an option. Many dog shelters allow families to foster pets instead of adopting them to help keep animals out of cages and provide opportunities for them to develop socially, improving their overall chance of adoption. Working in collaboration with a shelter, you will be provided with resources and a support network to help you care for a dog, allowing them to relax and live in a loving home while they wait to find their forever family.



Related Articles

Puppy Care
New Puppy Tips
First Night With a New Puppy

Bringing a puppy home for the first time is one of the most exciting times for any family. That being said, the art of raising a puppy is not a simple one!

View More

Copyright and Trademark Notice

NEXGARD SPECTRA®, NEXGARD®, HEARTGARD30® and PARAGARD® are registered trademarks of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group.

©2021-2022 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia Pty. Ltd. All rights reserved. PET-0228-2022