Adopting A New Pet? 5 Tips for Pet Owners

A rescue dog I'm working with who has biting and behavior issues.

A rescue dog I’m working with who has biting and behavior issues.

Are you considering adopting a new pet?

Awesome! There are 5,000 shelters in the USA alone. The Humane Society of the United States estimate they care for 6-8 million dogs and cats per year. Out of those, 2/3 are adoptable, safe, loving pets, yet 4-5 million are euthanized.

I am pro life for both pets and people. This is nothing other than murder. God helps us!

When I first adopted Snickers, 14 years ago, I came into adoption blindsided. Yes, I had puppies and dogs since I was a little girl, on and off growing up–but they were my parents responsibility and problem, not mine. After all, I was a kid–I simply played with the puppies and amazed my parents when they learned a few neat tricks.

I have to say, for an abused, runaway, rescue dog, Snickers was awesome. But obviously he had a few bad behaviors (like scooting his butt across the floor!) that needed breaking.

I’ve adopted AKC pups and dogs from breeders, mutts from rescue shelters, and other mixed breeds right off the streets. What I’ve come to learn is that all pups and dogs are going to display unwanted behaviors at first. We all have quirks.

What bothers me is that I see many people these days adopt a pet, and after the honeymoon period, about a week or two later, when their new pet begins to display any negative behaviors, the first thing they want to do is send them back. This is actually more damaging to the dog, your family, and your other pets. Please do some research before making this kind of decision–it can literally mean a dog’s life or death.

Here are some tips that might help.


1. BREED would best fit them, their life style, and mesh with the other pets they already have in the home. Please look beyond the “cute factor” looks can be deceiving. If you jog and want a jogging partner choose a more fit, hyper, active dog like a boxer. Select your Breed Here

2. PERSONALITY the pet has so they know if this will also mesh with their life style. Sometimes we stereotype breeds, like I did above using the boxer for example. But I’m sure you can find a more calm, not so OCD Boxer if you look through to the ends of the earth. No two dog’s personality’s are the same. Decide if you want a snuggle buddy or a dog you can wrestle with.

3.  FOOD the dog/cat/animal has been eating, so they don’t disrupt their diet and cause damage to their intestinal track while moving them to a new home, which can already cause some disruption.

4. ENVIRONMENT the pet has been living in. Just because you rescue a pet or bring them into your home, doesn’t mean they are going to adjust right away.

5. REACTION your pet will have to you, your family, and other pets by scheduling a home visit prior to adoption.

*Our photo this week is of a beautiful rescue dog named “Shadow”. He is a 1 1/2 year old German Shepherd. He has some bad behaviors, hence the reason for the muzzle. But his new pet mommy didn’t want to just take him back to the shelter, so she called me about training and working through his bad behaviors–which there are many. He’s even bitten a man once. Part of our training is teaching him to “take it” or “get it” versus “leave it” this is a great way to retrain dogs who are aggressive. After only two weeks of training he is doing well. It’s good to see pet owners who will go the extra mile and not give up 🙂

There is a great Michigan resource for pet adoption where you can help rescue dogs from kill shelters: New Hope Pet Rescue

READ: Adopt or Abort?

Lisa Freeman, a resident of Owosso, Michigan, is an award-winning author, speaker, and AKC Evaluator, dog trainer, and Certified Pet Therapist through the Love on a Leash program. She specializes in obedience, pet therapy, service dog training, and behavior modification. Her work with bullying and bully dogs has led into schools and communities throughout Michigan to educate both pet owners and families on breaking the victim mentality and becoming a pack leader.


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