Bridget sat down with dog expert Cesar Millan to get some advice about adopting a great dog. Cesar offered five simple tips to get off on the right foot (or paw) with your new friend:
1) Pick a dog with the right energy for you
Look for a calm, low-to-medium energy dog. The highest energy dogs can be too much for you to handle in a home and are better suited to police work and search and rescue. Think you can tell the energy of a dog by its breed? Cesar says you can't. He demonstrated with the two dogs (one big, one little, both calm) that he brought with him to our interview. Energy level, he says, is more important than breed.
2) Be the pack leader
Your dog wants a leader! If you don't lead your dog, your dog will lead you and that leads to problems. Loving your dog (and showing it is important, but don't prioritize affection over leadership.
3) Introduce your dog to its new home properly
Get your dog accustomed to his or her new surroundings immediately. A long walk around the neighborhood as soon as you get your dog home will introduce your pet to the new environment and allow him or her to adjust to new smells and sights. And after that long walk, your dog will be ready to settle in calmly to your new home together.
4) Decide if you're ready for a dog
Getting a dog is a big commitment! Make sure you're ready for it: are you ready to exercise with your dog, to commit to disciplining and leading your dog? Are you in it for the long haul and willing to give the time? Cesar says this is the most important tip.
5) Adopt from a rescue group or shelter
There are millions of dogs in this country looking for homes. One of them could be at home with you!
Cesar's leading Pack Walks to promote his Millan Foundation and adoption, rescue and spay and neuter programs. There's one coming up in Washington, DC on September 29, and you can find out more about the Millan Foundation here.
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