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Our Adopting a Pet Experts

Diana L. Guerrero

Diana L. Guerrero

Animal behaviorist and author of Blessing of the Animals...

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Dr. Robyn Jaynes

Dr. Robyn Jaynes

Pet care expert for PetSmart

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Warren Eckstein

Warren Eckstein

Pet trainer and author of Pet Aerobics

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Animal Attraction

Home Sweet Home: Settling In With a New Pet

It takes a lot of effort and discipline to care for, train and get to know your new pet. Dog trainer Vera Wilkinson, owner of The Pet Needs Company, emphasizes how much time it takes. “People are always looking for quick fixes,” Wilkinson says. “But we must teach our pets how to live with us.”

One of the biggest concerns of new pet owners is housetraining. Cats tend to be easy—most of them accept their litter box as soon as you put them in it. Dogs take more effort, and many vets and animal behavior specialists consider crate training to be an integral part of housetraining. For an introduction to crate training, see The Humane Society’s web site.

For Dawn Friedman of Columbus, OH, crate training was essential for her new pet. When she brought her terrier mix home, all Peanut did was cry. “We crate trained her right away,” Dawn says. “She was much calmer and happier once we wrapped a blanket around the cage so it was more closed in.”

As you teach your new pet the rules of the house, consistency is key. Choose your rules and stick to them. Language is important, as well, so use the same words repeatedly. Above all, adds Meyers, “Everything has to be positive and reinforcing.”

New Pet Paranoia: Is It All Worth It?

When faced with the reality of the time, expense and effort it takes to bring a new pet into your home, you may wonder if you’ve goofed. Max did, at first, but she soon realized it was worth it. “I thought I had made a terrible mistake getting a dog, but you just have to get through the first few months and learn how to adapt your life to having a dog,” she explains.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, turn to the professionals for answers, and keep the lines of communication open with family members.

Like millions of happy pet owners, Dawn says, “I can’t imagine life without Peanut, and neither can my children.” Pet adoption can be thrilling, challenging, frustrating and rewarding, so take your time and enjoy the fun and foibles.

Posted: 1/21/08
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simsuwol

Thanks for this article about the joys of adopting a pet. After not having a pet for ten years, I adopted a cat from Friends of the County Animal Shelter. One of the first things I noticed is how she constantly brings me back to the present moment. If I sit at the computer too long, she'll interrupt me, etc. She's brought playfulness, beauty and warmth into my life and I'm so glad to have her! Adopting from FOCAS is a real life saver since they take animals from the county facilities that would otherwise be euthanized. They pay for medical care and keep them at adoption sites (here at the Encinitas PetSmart) for as long as it takes to find them a good forever home!

grammyat50

I adopted a dog from Dachshund Rescue 4 years ago. What a wonderful dog he is. He is such a wonderful companion for me. I got him about a year after my divorce. I have a new man in my life and we got married and Digby loves my husband. We all get along just great. I would recommend to anyone wanting a dog to type in the breed of dog and then add rescue to the end and you can find a great dog. There are too many puppy mills. In fact, there was a dachshund puppy mill in my state, which I never knew about until last week, that was shut down because it had 1,000 dogs and puppies!!!! Most have never even felt human touch! My dachshund came from the Eastern Panhandle of WV. He was a young dog and house trained. If you want a dog, please check out the dog rescue sites. You will be happy to find a great a loving new friend and family member.

grammyat50

I adopted a dog from Dachshund Rescue 4 years ago. What a wonderful dog he is. He is such a wonderful companion for me. I got him about a year after my divorce. I have a new man in my life and we got married and Digby loves my husband. We all get along just great. I would recommend to anyone wanting a dog to type in the breed of dog and then add rescue to the end and you can find a great dog. There are too many puppy mills. In fact, there was a dachshund puppy mill in my state, which I never knew about until last week, that was shut down because it had 1,000 dogs and puppies!!!! Most have never even felt human touch! My dachshund came from the Eastern Panhandle of WV. He was a young dog and house trained. If you want a dog, please check out the dog rescue sites. You will be happy to find a great a loving new friend and family member.