When people add a new pet to the family, they often head out to the pet store to set up their home for a smooth transition for their dog or dogs. Crates, leashes, beds, toys, food and bowls are just a few items on the top of the list to help your new dog or dogs settle in with as few bumps as possible.
When shopping for the doggy “stuff,” people often forget some of the most important basics that will help their dog settle in for good – dog training, dog walkers and veterinary care. They may get recommendations on the fly or wait until there is a behavioral issue or sick pet before really checking out their options.
“If you’re adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue, you have a much greater chance of a successful match if you have the right resources to start,” says Tracey Gold, Chicago’s Canine Concierge. “It’s hard, even if it’s not your first pet, to know where to turn. I find out the issues and expectations and send pet parents several options to help get them started in the right direction.”
Making a match
You can call Gold a matchmaker for pet families. Through her referral service she connects pet owners – new and experienced – with service providers for their pet based on needs, budget, experience, location and more. It does much more than provide for a more peaceful home for everyone, it can be a lifesaver for a pet.
Currently only about 30-35 percent of dogs adopted out as puppies remain in their original home. One of the main reasons dogs get relinquished to shelters is because of behavioral problems. Getting on track from day one can prevent that from happening.
“I work with people at any step along with way to help them figure out what type of training and care fits best with their situation,” says Gold. “Some people call me before they rescue for some advice. Others will call because they have a dog and they want to make the right moves before adding another pet to the house.”
Dogs and trainer assessments
One of the smartest things to do from the start is to have a trainer assess your dog in your home to see how your dog interacts on a daily basis. If you are adding to the pack you already have, Gold strongly recommends an in home assessment to better match your current dog or dogs to a potential new dog. Many rescues already have done assessments and have a training plan in place in order to set your dog up for a smoother transition and less of a chance of a failed adoption.
If you’ve recently added a dog or are considering a new dog, here are just a few of the services that are good to line up as soon as possible. Gold says the more she knows about you and your situation – your personality, your schedule and your pet’s disposition – the better match she’ll make.
- Training – With information about your dog’s temperament, ability to get along with other dogs and people and other basic information, she’s able to match you to an obedience program that’s a good fit. That could range from basic training with doggy playtime to very structured classes or one-on-one instruction in your home.
- Dog walkers – Some dogs need to go out once a day for a long walk and others may need a couple of short breaks during the day. The more Gold knows about your schedule, how your dog does when alone for long periods and how much energy he or she may need to burn, the better information she has to connect you with the right dog walker.
- Doggy day care – If your dog has separation anxiety or just needs to burn a lot more energy during the day, doggy day care is a good option, even if it’s just a few days a week. It’s important to be frank about how your dog reacts to other dogs of all sizes and being in a kennel for Gold to match you up with the best situation.
- Boarding and in home pet setters – If you travel a lot or vacation without your pet, you’ll need someone to take care of your pet. There are regular dog kennels (and cat kennels) and boarding operations where your pet stays in someone’s home. You may even want to consider a house sitter or a pet sitter that stops by a couple of times a day.
- Nutrition and pet products – More pet owners are focusing on a healthy diet to start. There are a lot of great pet boutiques in Chicago and the suburbs that have great selections and a well-trained staff to point you in the right direction for food and other items.
“I highly recommend working with a good rescue organization when adding a dog to your home,” says Gold. “Dogs in rescues are in foster homes and their foster families have worked on behavior and have a good feel for how a dog is around adults, children and other pets. They truly have a good feel for what dogs need an experienced home and which ones are a better fit as a first dog.”
Chicago Canine Concierge is free to pet families and she receives referral bonuses from the companies that get new business from her recommendations. Also, don’t let her company name fool you, Gold also has a lot of great referral information for cats and other pets as well. Her pack includes to rat terriers, two pit bulls and a senior kitty and a new kitten.
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