Indie dogs are adorable. But most dog lovers are hesitant to take them in as they don’t know how to adopt a stray dog.
Many believe that adopting street dogs is difficult as they can’t be house-trained. However, these dogs are highly adaptive and make excellent pets.
Here’s a simple guide on how to adopt a stray dog:
Step 1: Make sure the dog isn’t someone’s pet
A lot of people in India are now warming up to the idea of community dogs — dogs that live on the streets but are cared for by the neighbourhood. Walking off with one can upset a lot of people so make sure that the dog is a stray.
You could also check local Facebook groups to ensure it’s not a lost dog.
Step 2: Assess the dog’s temperament
Not all dogs are suitable for a life indoors. Adopt street dogs that are friendly and sociable or when they are puppies.
If the dog displays aggressive behaviour or is a part of an existing pack, it is most likely comfortable with its life on the streets and wouldn’t do well as a house pet.
Step 3: Get friendly
Interact with the dog or puppy regularly. This bit on how to adopt a stray dog needs a lot of patience. Leave food for the dog and back away, squat at his level when interacting, face sideways when in close proximity — these actions help build trust for the dog. If it starts sniffing you, makes eye contact or displays friendly body language pat him on the shoulders and chest and move on to the head over time. Repeat these activities regularly and before you know it, you’ve adopted a street dog!
Step 4: Visit the vet
Indie dogs are hardy and are more resistant 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.
If you’re adopting a puppy, remember that they shouldn’t be separated from their mother until they are 8 – 12 weeks old.
Step 5: Prepare your home
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, play and hanging out. Then introduce the dog to your home and let him explore. Also, stock up on supplies like food and water bowls, collar or leash, brushes, soap, shampoo, toys and treats as well as a bed with blankets.
Step 6: Setup a routine
Adopted stray dogs will take a while to adapt indoors. Gently and consistently reinforce a routine — take him for walks, provide meals at regular times, put him on leash for short durations.
Indie dogs are highly active and need tons of exercise, so make sure he has plenty of walks, stimulation and off-leash time.
Step 7: Basic training
Indie dogs are highly intelligent with a strong independent streak. Training them might be more challenging than pedigree dogs. Stick to the basics such as potty training, sitting, stay etc.
Enforce basic discipline when training street dogs before moving on to tricks like handshake, rolling over etc. With enough time and trust, your indie dog will be able to adapt.
If you still face challenges on how to adopt a stray dog, consult a canine behaviourist to help you out. 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 indie dog.