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4 Things to Know Before Adopting a Shelter Dog

It’s disheartening to know that over 6.3 million animals end up in shelters across the US every year. Most dogs end up in shelters because their owners leave them on the side of the road, or they are born a stray.

By adopting one (or more) shelter animals, you’re making room for others, helping support the shelter, and most importantly, giving a dog a second chance. Before you take the step and adopt, there are a few things that every shelter dog parent must know.

1. Not all dogs in shelters are there because of behavioral problems

Some, however, are there because they weren’t able to successfully integrate into their home or were abandoned, neglected, or abused. One challenge with getting a dog from a shelter is that you often don’t know their history or exactly what you are getting into. The most common behavioral issues found in shelter dogs are separation anxiety, fearfulness/anxiety, resource guarding (such as food aggression), and poor socialization. Be sure you are aware of the challenges and signs of common behavioral issues and have good resources for helping your dog. If you aren’t comfortable training your dog through her behavioral issues, seek a qualified trainer or behaviorist. Learn to identify signs of stress in your dog so you can help him right away if needed. Consider a calming supplement to help during your dog’s transition home, such as all natural Chillax.

2. Give Your New Family Member Time to Adjust

Settling into a new place isn’t easy, not even for humans. So, why should you expect the same from dogs? It’s best if you prepare your humble abode for a shelter dog that you're adopting. It helps to restrict your new dog to one or two rooms in your home at first, and keep him under supervision until you are sure he doesn't have any issues or destructive tendencies. This also helps keep your dog from getting overstimulated and overwhelmed.

3. Start Positive Reinforcement Training Right Away

Positive reinforcement training releases hormones such as serotonin and dopamine in your dog and will help her feel good being with you and in your new home. Impulse control training is a great place to start with your training as it helps your dog learn how to control her thoughts and behaviors.

4. Try to Prevent Trigger-Stacking

People often get excited about adopting their shelter dogs, which is, by all means, a good thing. However, it might not necessarily be great for the dog if they are overfaced with too much excitement in their new life. They’re often experiencing stress and anxiety and the challenge of adjusting to a new place.

Involving them in too many activities and new things could trigger anxiousness and stress. You can try taking your foot off the gas a bit on all the "exciting activities" you can do with your dog. Providing your dog with fun and interactive dog toys as well as an all-natural calming supplement can help ease the stress of your dog’s transition into your home and life.

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