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I'm a first-time dog owner and have been doing massive amounts of research the past year to make sure I'm ready for a new family member. I have talked to all my family members and they all gave an okay. I don't know anyone with pets and don't know where to start reaching out and therefore ended up at this forum. Please bear with me.
I am planning to adopt an adult dog. And while I have done all my research and am in my last steps of preparations to register for an adoption, I'm suddenly hesitant. I really do want a dog, but I'm worried and anxious. It's my first time taking care of a dog and while I prepared myself in every aspect I can think of to give him/her a great new home, I'm worried that I won't do as well as I wish to as a pet parent. It's not a matter of whether they'd be thankful or not, but whether I can make 'them' as happy as I want them to be. This matter has became rather troubling for me the past month or so.
Is there any advice anyone can give?
 

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Everyone has to start somewhere.
Frist give yourself a pat on the back for adopting. Secondly its often easier to start with an adult dog.. Theyve gone through the pooping and peeing stage and are mostly housetrained , most wont chew your furniture and many have already learned basic commands.

In my expierence you cant 'make' anyone happy all you can do is offer and see whats accepted. So offer your home and your love then see what kind of dog your new buddy is.. For us Sheba was a Mrs in and out, she had bnever been off a chain and the idea that she could just come and go to the garden when she wanted to was a really novel one so for the first 6 months or so she went in and out 20 times a day just to make sure she could... She also walked behind the furniture to avoid being kicked(?) she had been badly beaten when we got her. But given time she blossomed into a little diva who enjoyed taking part in scruff dog shows..

Oscar wanted cuddles cuddles and more cuddles. Once he gained his strength he wanted to pay ball all day every day.
He would lick the dew from the grass , habit from when he was kept without food and water.

Benny didnt want any cuddles he didnt even like you looking at him , so we built him an indoor kennel where he could retreat if things got too much for him.

Remy brain damaged from beatings and left in a field to die. He always looked sad, never learned to play ball or swim or be with anyone else he was my velcro dog forever a puppy because of the damage..and he loved nothing more than cuddling up with his blanket on my lap..

Each one had different needs and we worked out what each one needed and gave them exactly that.. Then we found we had the perfect dogs and they seemed to agree that they had the perfect home..

So talk to the rescue make it clear to them what you can and cant deal with (dont fall for sob stories) then allow the dog the time and space to tell you what they need remember many dogs comeing from rescue will be shut down. The real dog is in there but needs time before he/she can relax enough to come out and really truust that this is it the home and the family they have been waiting for , so dont expect it all to happen overnight it may take time..

And of course when you bring home the new guy or girl we all want to see photos and get updates...
 

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For the first time dog owner, I would recommend getting a puppy. A rescue dog can have a emotional baggage. This can be handful and overwhelming for someone not experience enough. Don't worry so much about not being" the best" pet parent. You want a dog, you're ready for responsibility...that is plenty for the start.
 

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Getting a dog or pet is nothing that you can be totally prepared for any situation.
Same with having children. You are never prepared.
You can only be open and try different things.

Remember, dogs live in the moment. They are driven by the nature of their breed and their personality.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you, I'll keep it in mind. That helps me feel a little more confident with the new family member.

I'll update when I get the dog... we're waiting until the pandemic stabilizes and everything settles down...
 

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I feel you. One of the things I've learned with my two boys is that there's not really any such thing as the 'perfect' time to get a dog (at least, not that you can 100% predict), and there will always be things you don't expect. But remember that the proof of being a good dog owner is that you and your dog are happy. You don't need to measure yourself by anyone else's standards of what's 'good enough', even if it's easy to feel like you're not feeding the right food, not doing enough or the right kind of training, not going on as many cool hikes as other people, etc.

I think a rescue dog is a great idea. Having a really good idea of what you're looking for is a great start. A good rescue will be able to match a dog that fits your needs, without all the uncertainty and work of a puppy (I have a 13 month old, and he's STILL work, haha. Teenagers), especially if they do fostering (it's very common for dogs to behave differently in a kennel environment vs. a home environment, for better and for worse). And finding the right dog for you is a huge part of the battle when it comes to bonding and having them really settle into your household.
 

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You can also check with your local shelters and see if they have a foster-to-adopt program. If not, pretty much all shelters have returns/refunds written into their adoption contracts. It's hard for people to think about 'trying out' a dog and potentially deciding it's not a good fit. But most shelters these days are fully aware that a dog's behavior can be different in a previous home, in the shelter, and in the next home. There is a lot of work being done to de-stigmatize returning pets.

That said, your best bet for landing on the right match in the first try is to be open and honest about your needs and wants, and to work with a shelter that collects a lot of behavior information. Puppies are not blank slates and just getting a puppy will not assure that it will grow into the kind of dog you want. A good shelter will know their puppies (to the best of their abilities) and direct you to a litter that is suitable for a first time pet owner. Adult dogs can be a great option! Especially if the adult dog has extensive home history, you can get a sense of how the dog will behave in your care. Behavior can change, but if the dog is generally a laid-back sociable dog that has years of experience around other dogs and people, there is a higher chance you are going to have a laid-back sociable dog upon adoption. There definitely is a whole world of "unknown" dogs - strays, transfers, etc. They can certainly be great companions but the shelter will not be able to give you as much information. Hopefully the shelter is then collecting information as they get to know the dog.

You can also look at Petfinder, Craigslist type listings. Home to home is one of the best ways to get a dog, provided the owners are being honest about their dog's behaviors.
 

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For the first time dog owner, I would recommend getting a puppy. A rescue dog can have a emotional baggage. This can be handful and overwhelming for someone not experience enough.
There is, at least where I live, a difference between a shelter and a rescue. A good rescue will foster the dog for a period of time and evaluate both the dog and any prospective new homes for a good match. A shelter normally doesn't have that luxury.

I've had two dogs from backyard breeders. They were good dogs, but had health issues and died much too young. I had one stray that I took in and she was one of the best dogs I've had. I had one dog from a good breeder. He was a beagle, so there is a different set of standards for "good dog." I've had two owner surrenders. One was the best dog I will ever have, despite a history of extreme abuse. The other I still have and she is affectionate, but neurotic. My other current dog came from a very good rescue that transports dogs from high-kill shelters - mostly in Texas - fosters them for as long as it takes and them places them with carefully selected homes. The application process was arduous, but I understand it and appreciate it. He is a joy to us every minute of every day.

Any emotional baggage usually belongs to the previous owner - not the dog. With patience and kindness, nearly any dog can adapt to a new, good home and thrive.

I've had just one puppy since I became an alleged adult. Puppies bring nearly unimaginable baggage just by virtue of being puppies. They require constant supervision to prevent them from damaging themselves or your household. You will be up at night with a frequency you would have thought impossible and accompany the dog outside - frequently in the rain or in freezing temperatures. If/when the mission is accomplished, you must heap enthusiastic praise that you might not be feeling. The world is explored by taste. Puppies don't like to be alone. Ever. If they weren't so frickin' cute, nobody would ever have a puppy.
 

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I would suggest a rescue. They work to find the best fit for a home and are open to rehoming if it isn't working out. There are many specific breed rescues as well.
 

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If you are going to get a puppy, you may want to consider it now. The nature if things means you have more free (or at least available) time for all that rudimentary training. I am also a first time dog owner, (5 mo apt-boxer atm) and I am not sure I would have managed 1/2 so well if I had been on my normal routine. I'm greatful I did, but if you cant give the same amount of time you'd give a new baby you re better off with a older dog.
 
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