On the Subject of Adopting a New Dog - Rules for Potential Dog Adopters

Your newly adopted dog safety package should include:

  • martingale collar with ID tag that shows your name, phone number and address.
  • microchip. If the shelter or rescue didn't chip the dog, then make an appointment with your vet to get it done right away.
  • harness - buy a couple of different sizes if you don’t know how big your new dog will be and donate the one(s) you don’t need to the shelter before you leave.
  • slip lead and clip lead — use them both.
  • GPS collar which you can purchase ahead of time then activate when you pick up your dog.
  • long line for more freedom in the yard, which needs to be well fenced and escape-proof.
  • crate and crate accessories to provide your new dog a place to "get away" and feel safe from all of the new stimulation they are experiencing.

Shelters, Rescues, please prepare, equip and educate your adopters before they walk out your doors.

  1. Take a martingale collar with you when you go to view the dog. Even if you are "just looking" you should already have your new dog’s "go home" gear! harness is another great tool. Do not take your new dog “shopping,” take them straight home.
  2. Take a slip lead as well as a clip lead - double-leash your dog when leaving the shelter and every time you and your new dog go anywhere until they are confident and better acclimated to you and their new home.
  3. Consider a GPS device for your dog - they are worth their weight in gold.
  4. Do not leave your new dog unsupervised in the yard for any reason at all. Your new dog should be leashed at all times for at least for the first three weeks. Consider purchasing a long line to give them a little more freedom while keeping them safe.
  5. Hunker down and give your new dog time to acclimate. They do not want to meet the whole world. All newly adopted dogs should stay home with few visitors until they are fully acclimated and bonded to their new people. Don't force your new dog to meet your other pets all at once, right away either. and let the new dog chill in a crate so it can see, hear, and smell its new family members if it seems unsure or surly. Go slowly. Start with your best ambassador, This may take approximately 3 weeks, sometimes more. Slow and steady wins the race!
  6. Don’t say "I didn't know." It is your job to keep your dog safe – no one else’s. If you cannot do this, then please, do not get a dog.
  7. Realize that there are other humans invested in the outcome of your dog. Every time a newly adopted dog goes missing, the hearts of their former foster, volunteers, etc., are shattered, and they are worried sick. Now they may have to take time away from other dogs, their families, their jobs to attempt to find yours.
  8. Adoption is great, when it’s done with the dog’s best interest in mind. Be diligent and remember that they do not know you at all. Why would they have any interest in "staying at home" if they are given the option to escape.

This has been a Public Service Announcement from newly adopted dogs everywhere.
With thanks to New Mexico Dogs -NMDogs.