Holi brings joy and colour to everyone. This year, let's celebrate Holi in a different way. Time for you to start something and surprise yourself- Why not adopt a dog? Well, this is not a discovery but certainly can mark a new beginning for you.
We often believe that adopting a street dog is difficult as they can’t be house-trained. Contrary to popular belief, they are easier to bring up and being managed as compared to exotic breeds which have a huge financial burden, time, efforts, responsibility limited adaptability to the climate of India. Stray dogs are highly adaptive and can make excellent pets.
You can go to the shelter and rescue center and apply for adoption. However, you can also adopt a stray dog living in your area whom you have already seen a number of times and placed in your heart.
Here is how you can adopt a stray dog directly from the streets:
Firstly, you need to ensure that he/she is not someone else’s pet. Sometimes pets runaway or forget their way to their house and they get lost resulting in separation from their owner. It will be emotionally hard for both the pet and his/ her owner. You can check Facebook groups (local area) to check if he/she is not a lost dog or you could check with neighbourhood local clubs/ groups as well. Many people use Facebook and are actively engaged in it.
In addition, as the idea of community dogs are warming up in India, people feed their neighbourhood dogs and take care of them. It is advisable to check that he/ she is not being taken care of by anyone else, living on the street is not enough to consider that a dog is abandoned. It is better to check and share your intention to bring that dog in your home with community members/ neighbourhood.
Puppies are more adaptable
Not every dog is suitable for living indoors. As a precaution, it is best to adopt a puppy as a puppy is easier to train and gradually learns to adapt to your home environment. If you’re adopting a puppy, remember that he/she shouldn’t be separated from their mother until he/she is 8 – 12 weeks old.
Check friendliness and social habits
You can also adopt a stray/ street dog that is friendly and sociable. Make sure you assess a dog’s temperament before bringing him/her with you in your home. If the dog displays aggressive behaviour or is a part of an existing pack then he/she is most likely to be comfortable with his/her existing life on the streets and wouldn’t do well as a house pet.
Be patient and take small steps
Adopting a stray dog needs a lot of patience. You need to try to interact with a dog or puppy regularly in his/her existing environment. Leave the food for the dog and back away, squat at his level when interacting, face sideways when in close proximity. These actions will be helpful in building trust between dog and you. Most likely he/she will try to sniff you or makes eye contact or displays friendly body language then do not try to touch instantly. Let your hands near to the dog and let him/her approach you and only then pat him/her. It is better to repeat these activities regularly and before you know it, you have adopted a street dog!
It is advisable to consult the nearest veterinarian. Street dogs have better resistance to diseases than pedigrees but they still need regular medical attention. Unknown medical history, malnourishment and common diseases like tick fever, mange, etc. should be looked into and dealt with quickly.
Bring him/ her to your home
It is possible that older dogs that have been on the street for a while and puppies adopted from a pack will display a tendency to go outdoors regularly. Set up a space for sleep in your house then introduce the dog to your home and let him/her explore. The adopted dog will take a while to adapt indoors. Gently and consistently reinforce a routine. Take him/her for walks, provide meals at regular times, put him on the leash for short durations.
Indigenous breed dogs are highly active and need tons of exercise, so make sure he/she has plenty of walks, stimulation and off-leash time. Stick to the basics such as potty training, sitting, stay, etc. Enforce basic discipline after adoption before moving on to tricks like a handshake, rolling over, etc. With enough time and trust, he/she will be able to adapt to your home environment and routine. Remember that some dogs behave the way they do because of what they’ve been through, just like you and me. With time and patience, you will be able to develop a lasting bond with your dog.
It is time to spread colour, joy, love, and warmness around you and you can start by adopting a stray dog!
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