How many of us, when going to an animal shelter or adoption event, can relate to this scenario:

You approach the kennel of a dog or in the ‘meet and greet’ room expecting the dog to lay themselves down at your feet or greet you with joy and trust immediately – and the ones that don’t acknowledge you in those ways are immediately a ‘no’ for you.

Do we humans have unreasonable expectations of how a dog should behave and what we expect of them right out of the shelter doors? Or even still inside the shelter or adoption environment? Are we giving up too quickly and passing wonderful potential family dogs by that need some time and understanding?

Are we willing to have patience, an open mind, or compassion for those afraid, stressed out, hiding in the corners, or barking and lunging at the kennel doors? 

Do we expect them to be perfect? Most notably, are we willing to put in the effort to ensure their and others’ safety and set them up for success right away – especially by offering them decompression time (please refer to our decompression page for an excellent explanation of what it means and why it will make or break the new adoption of your dog). 

Before anyone adopts a dog, you should consider these things very carefully:

1. Dogs take work, commitment, devotion, and patience. 

2. Having a new dog confronts us with our internal self-discipline and personal willingness to do the work. 

3. Are we willing to follow the carefully and strategically laid out instructions in the decompression packet? 

4. Will we wait to bring our dogs to public places and avoid letting other animals interact with the new dog too quickly?

5. Are we willing to let our new dog out to potty several times a day until they are in a routine and comfortable with their new environment? Or can we have patience with potty accidents in the home?

If you answer no to these questions, you should reconsider your intention to adopt a new dog.c

It’s unfair and unrealistic to expect a dog to immediately know what you expect them to do and how they should behave in a new home. 

Dogs offer so many beautiful things, too, and are worth the efforts needed to set them up for victory and inner confidence that so many lacked before you adopted them! 

A paradoxically yet powerful concept to remember is this: Discipline=freedom!