How to adopt a dog: our tips for success!

This is an article from Tractive on effective ways of going about dog adoption.

Adopting a dog from a shelter is a big decision – know what you need to consider and the steps to take to ensure a successful adoption.

So, you think you’re ready to adopt a new furry friend – a dog – into your family! First of all, congratulations on this big decision! But have you actually considered how to adopt a dog exactly? Have you considered all the relevant factors? As a team of dog-lovers, we know how exciting it can be when you’ve decided to adopt a new four-legged companion. And while you don’t need to tame your enthusiasm, you do need to remember to take care of the important planning, research, and steps that are necessary to make your adoption story a success.

So without further ado, here are our tips for success that you should consider when you adopt a dog.

Determine which kind of dog is best for you

Deciding you want to get a dog is a great step to take; but it’s not enough to ensure you are fully prepared for welcoming the dog into your home! While you might have your heart set on a certain dog breed, it’s important to do some research beforehand, to learn about the qualities and traits of that breed and determine if it will really be suitable for you. And there are other factors, like the dog’s background and personality to consider. So before you adopt a dog, you’ll need to form an idea of which kind of canine friend you are looking for.

Below are a few examples of the areas you need to consider when determining the best doggy-fit for you:

  • Lifestyle & Flexibility: What is your current lifestyle like? What changes are you willing to make to adapt to your new life with a dog? Which changes are you not willing to make?
  • Loved Ones: How will those around you be impacted by the new addition? Consider small children, older relatives and those with allergies.
  • Size: Dogs come in all sizes. Would a small, medium, large, or extra-large dog be best for you?
  • Activity level: Activity level can vary widely between individual dogs and dog breeds. Know how much activity your pup will need before you take the plunge.
  • Physical Maintenance: Different dogs require different levels of grooming and physical care. How much time are you willing to invest?

There are more factors to consider, such as your budget, previous experience with dogs, openness to special needs dogs, breed, age, sociability, personality, housing etc. So take the required time to research and consider all factors before you begin the adoption process so that you can be well-prepared to find your forever friend.

Visit your local animal shelter

While it may be tempting to visit your local pet store and buy the first puppy you see, it can be more valuable for the animals and your community to adopt a dog from your nearest animal shelter. Dogs found in animal shelters or pet rescue centers have sometimes suffered difficult lives or abandonment from their previous owners. You can do good by rescuing a dog from a shelter, rather than supporting the unethical operation of puppy mills which is often associated with large corporate pet stores.

You can start by looking at the shelter’s website or calling ahead of your visit to inquire about the dogs they currently have up for adoption, the adoption process, etc. Ask them if they have a waiting list which can be added to, in case you are looking for a specific dog breed. Alternatively you could search online for dogs in your preferred breed that may be up for adoption in your area.

Once you’ve planned your visit, it’s time to get to know some potential new furry friends.

Get to know the dog you’re interested in

During your first visit to the shelter or to meet a prospective dog, we recommend to do the following after you have found a dog which you’d like to get to know better:

1) Observe the dog from far away

First, observe their behaviour from a distance. Pay attention to the dog’s actions, mood, body posture, sounds, energy level and sociability with other dogs and humans. From far away, does this dog seem like a good fit for you? Trust your intuition – does the dog give you a warm, positive feeling, or make you feel uneasy? You’ll be spending many years with your new dog, so it’s worth listening to your instincts.

2) Spend some quality time together

Next, take the dog you’re interested in to a separate room—preferably a quiet room with few distractions. Remove the leash, kneel down, and let the dog explore you, without trying to engage with him. Is he curious and confident? Scared or cautious? If the dog you’re assessing has been outgoing and friendly, try to play a bit with him. See if he’ll chase a ball or a soft squeaky toy. If he won’t play with toys, try running away from him and see if he’ll run after you. Does he seem interested in playing with you? Or does he seem nervous – biting and barking?

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What to Do When Your Dog Dies

When a dog dies it can be an incredibly sad time for owners, and it can be difficult to know what to do. Make sure you’re prepared during this upsetting time with our essential guide.

The death of a beloved pet is an incredibly sad time for owners. Whether your dog dies naturally at home or is put to sleep at the vets, it’s always a stressful and upsetting time.

If your pet has been unwell, or is very old and naturally approaching the end of their life, you may already have plans in place for their eventual passing. However, even the best-laid plans can be disrupted by external factors or by grief. If you’re struggling with your pet’s death in the immediate aftermath, always ask for help from a friend, family member or veterinary professional.

What often adds to the trauma of a pet’s death is the uncertainty of how to handle their remains. Take some of the stress out of this period with this comprehensive guide on what to do when your dog dies.

What happens when a dog dies naturally?

We usually associate the death of pets with them being put to sleep at a veterinary surgery. But what happens when a dog dies naturally at home?

If your pet dies at home, it may be difficult to handle their remains. You may wish to call your vet or another professional service, such as a company that can assist with dead dog disposal. Remember that such services may not be available on weekends or during national holidays.

When a dog dies, their body may still show signs of what can look like life, such as the following:

  • Twitching, as a result of natural nerve spasms after death
  • The release of air from the mouth when moved
  • The release of bodily fluids and gas

These can all be quite upsetting for owners to witness, especially if they aren’t expecting them. They aren’t, sadly, signs that your pet is coming back to life. They are simply the natural bodily functions and what happens when a dog dies naturally.

What to do when your dog dies

When handling remains, always wear gloves and thoroughly clean any area that has been touched by the animal, as well as thoroughly cleaning any fluids that may have been spilt. It’s important to limit the spread of germs in the immediate aftermath.

You may wish to leave your pet at home for a few hours before organising a dead dog disposal; in which case, ensure that the body is left in a cool room, for no longer than 24 hours. Be aware that rigor mortis—the stiffening of joints after death—will begin to set in after around three to four hours.

The options

Your local vet will be well placed to deal with dead dog disposal, and if you wish for it to be handled by them simply place a call as soon as possible. Your vet should then be able to organise the collection and subsequent burial or cremation, according to your preference.

Dog cremation

If you wish for your dog to be cremated, it is possible to organise this yourself rather than going through a vet. Dog cremation is more costly than home burial, but gives owners a variety of options when it comes to memorialising their pet’s remains.

Crematoriums will return a dog’s ashes to their owner and these can be stored or scattered according to personal preference. Many owners choose to keep dog ashes in an urn or even store them in keepsake items, such as a piece of jewellery. Owners also often scatter their pet’s ashes in some of their favourite places or walks.

Remember that there are various options when it comes to cremation, including communal or private cremation. If you’re planning to use your pet’s ashes for a specific memorial, do bare in mind that although crematoriums do make an effort to keep ashes separate during communal cremations, this cannot be guaranteed.

How much does it cost to cremate a dog?

The cost of dog cremation varies between different crematoriums and the options that they offer. These options depend on a variety of factors, such as the size of dog and whether a communal or private cremation is preferred. So, how much does it cost to cremate a dog? Overall costs will generally run to over £100.

Home burial

Some owners choose to bury their dog at home. This option reduces the cost of dead dog disposal by avoiding expensive cremation costs and gives a final resting place to beloved pets, at home. If you’re thinking about home burial, it’s important to consider local laws. In the UK, it is legal to bury pets in a garden that you own. It isn’t legal to bury animals in the gardens of rented accommodation, any property that you don’t own, or in public places. If you choose to bury your dog, check with your vet that their remains are not hazardous to human health before proceeding and choose a place away from water sources.

When burying a dog at home, ensure that their grave is no less than three feet deep, to ensure that their remains stay covered. You may also wish to mark the burial site with a covering of stone, or even a potted plant.

Pet cemeteries

There are some pet cemeteries and crematoriums around the UK that will provide burial services for dogs. This is generally a more expensive option than dog cremation, the final price being dependent on weight. Cemeteries may also require that remains be buried in a coffin or other container, which further adds to the overall cost.

Pet cemeteries will offer individual plots for dog burial and you may also erect a headstone or other memorial marker over the gravesite.

Grieving a pet

 What to do when your dog dies is just the beginning of a process that can be very difficult for pet owners. For many, the passing of a beloved pet is similar to the death of a friend or family member and you should always seek support if needed.

Grieving a pet is always difficult, but there are many support groups and organisations to reach out to during this time.

Sometimes death can be prevented by regular check-ups with your vet. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health take a look at our content hub and find out how to keep your dog in top health.


Tips for your Puppy’s Hygiene Training

The best way to train your puppy or adult dog to not get the house dirty is through crate training. However, bearing in mind that you can’t keep an eye on your dog all the time, perhaps the best option is a combination of crate training and paper training.

It is important that you spend lots of quality time with your dog. This will help you to train it quicker, and by doing so you will avoid other problems such as separation anxiety, destructive behavior, barking and even aggression.
What is crate training for puppies?
Crate training consists on creating a safe space – like a den – in an enclosed place like a crate or a travel carrier. The crate should be placed in a place you use, so that it doesn’t feel lonely, and be made comfortable with a blanket.

Introduce the puppy to the crate and reward it with treats when it gets in; create as many positive associations – food, toys, warmth – with the place as possible. Once the puppy is comfortable, close the crate for very short periods of time so that it gets used to it. The aim is to train it to feel safe when enclosed. This way, the puppy will have a place to stay in when you’re gone.

However, you need to limit the use of the crate or travel carrier as much as possible. Remember that your dog should not be enclosed in the travel carrier for a long time (never more than three hours); when you have to leave your dog alone for extended periods, leave it in a puppy-proof room instead.

While the puppy-proof room is useful for confining them for long spells, you should only use it when you can’t look after the dog yourself. Try to spend as long as possible with your dog so that it doesn’t feel abandoned, and don’t forget to spend some time together in the puppy room.

Bear in mind that your dog will not want make a mess near its bed, food dish or water bowl – even less in the crate – so make sure that the area where it’s supposed to do its business isn’t near these items. It’s likely that your dog will need to go to the toilet after waking up, after eating, after playing and after drinking water. Make sure you take it to one of the “permitted areas” – the puppy room, garden, park – after it does any of these activities so that it starts linking them.

Don’t punish your dog when it does its business in a forbidden area. Punishment will only delay its training, because it will think that you’re punishing it for doing its business, and not for getting a particular place dirty. Thus, it will learn to make a mess in hidden places like behind a chair or under a bed.

When your dog makes a mess somewhere in your home, give it a thorough clean with a commercial product that eliminates the smell of urine. Make sure that the product does not contain ammonia, because ammonia breaks down in urea, which is contained in urine.

If your dog gets its crate dirty it is because you left it inside for too long, because your puppy has a health problems or because it is still too young to hold it in. In that case, clean it very well and get prepared to retrain it. This will take much more time, so try to avoid this problem.
What is paper training for puppies?
Here you can learn the basics of paper training for puppies; if you want more tips, keep reading!

If you use paper training, change the newspapers as often as possible, at least once per day. Of course, once you start reducing the papered area you can leave some newspapers from the previous day (those at the bottom) so that they retain the smell and encourage the puppy to do it in the same place.

Even if you predominantly use paper training, don’t overlook active or crate training. It’s the best thing you can do to speed up your puppy’s hygiene training. If you only use paper training, it’s possible that your dog learns to not go to the toilet outside of the house. In this case, you’ll have to re-train it so that it realizes it can do its business in other places than a newspaper-covered floor.

Consult your vet before taking your dog for a walk down the street. Even though walks are helpful in hygiene training, it’s not recommended for your dog to be exposed to diseases if it hasn’t been vaccinated.

Very important:
Never hit your dog with a newspaper or rub its nose against the floor. Whilst these are very common methods, they only serve to scare and mistreat your dog. They don’t help to train any animal at all. Instead, use positive reinforcement and follow these tips for your puppy’s hygiene training.


Human and Dog Brains Both Have Dedicated “Voice Areas”

Our social environment is complete with voices. A vital characteristic of the auditory mind is sound, and how we experience it. No surprise then that the human brain is especially tuned to voices. But, why would it exclude other animals? Well, until now we knew almost nothing it.

This is the primary time we should compare brain function between humans and any non-primate animal. We requested: how do dogs process dog sounds? And how comparable it is to the way humans react to sounds? Dogs and humans have lived collectively for tens of hundreds of years. People regularly listen to puppies barking and dogs pay attention human sounds every day.

We trained eleven dogs to be put in an MRI scanner. This made it feasible to run an identical neuroimaging experiment on canine and human individuals something that has by no means been accomplished before.

The puppies’ training was primarily based on superb reinforcement techniques, that is, we praised them loads while they had been on the scanner mattress and the path we used for meal rewards.

The results were fascinating. Checkout the video and please subscribe.