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What A Pet Advisor Wants You To Know Before Adopting A Dog During Self Isolation

Between working from home and self isolation, now might seem like the perfect time to welcome a four-legged friend into your home.

If you live alone, the extra company in the form of a pet is probably a welcomed distraction from what is going on in the world right now.

Undoubtedly you'd also be helping out by giving a fur baby a second chance and contributing to clearing out the animal shelters that are currently under strain.

But how do you know if it's the right time to adopt? Pet Advisor Helen Prestage works with dogs every single day and is set to appear on the new series 'The Dog House'.

Helen gets to be surrounded by dogs all the time. Image: Supplied

The show steps inside Wood Green, a British dog rescue centre and follows some adorable doggos on their journeys to finding a forever home.

And Helen explained since the lockdown in the UK was imposed, more people are visiting the rescue centre looking for dogs, especially puppies.

"They feel they have the time for a dog because they are home all of the time," Helen told 10 daily.

"Whilst this is certainly a good time to settle dogs into a new home if you were already committed to getting one, we are urging people to think about what will happen when they resume their normal lives."

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Helen said while you might have time for a dog or puppy now, you need to think about what will happen when you return to work and your 'busy life takes precedent.'

"These dogs could be left for prolonged periods. This isn’t suitable for every dog, and certainly not a puppy," Helen said.

"This dramatic change of circumstances could result in unwanted behaviours and these dogs being handed into rescue centres."

Here are all of the things to consider before adopting:

How do I find the right rescue dog?

Every dog, every person and every family is different, so matching a pet with a human isn't an exact science, according to Helen.

"We have to consider things like garden size and security, time spent home alone, the age of the children in the home and other pets," she said.

"But what is just as important is what people are looking for in a dog, and what that dog needs to be happy."

Some of the stars of 'The Dog House'. Image: Supplied

How do I know if I'm ready?

At Wood Green, the staff believe that most people can own a dog, providing they are committed and dedicated to caring for that dog and have the suitable set-up.

"In terms of qualities, it completely depends on the individual dog: some require a more patient owner whereas others need an energetic, training-minded owner," Helen explained.

"I think if you are kind, caring and empathetic, that’s a good start. Everything else we can help you with."

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What should I think about before making a decision?

For Helen, the number one thing to consider before making deciding if you will adopt is whether or not you have the time to dedicate to a dog.

"Do your research and go with a reputable rescue or responsible breeder who will support you through the process," she said.

It’s not an easy road and the first few weeks will probably be challenging while the dog settles into a new home and a new routine.

But it's also worth remembering you won't be doing it alone. Shelters will be there to support you.

"They will be on hand to help you through any issues that may arise so you can enjoy a positive relationship with your dog," Helen said.

"It’s so rewarding giving a dog a second chance in life, so please consider rehoming if you can."

What if it's not the right fit?

Helen said that Wood Green is fortunate that they do not have too many dogs come back to them. But it is part of what they do.

"We don’t always get it right and people can change their minds once they get the dog home, especially when the reality of taking on such a big responsibility sets in or when the initial excitement dies down," Helen said.

"There are also no guarantees when rehoming dogs. Our assessment process is very thorough but dogs are sentient beings and react differently in different situations so we cannot account for every possible scenario."

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Yet with the help of a team of behaviour and training specialists who are on hand to support anyone going through difficulties with their dog, they can usually iron out any initial teething issues.

"This often results in owners getting the support and advice they need so they don’t have to bring the dog back to us."

Featured image: Supplied

The Dog House Premieres On Saturday, May 16 At 7pm. Only On 10 And WIN Network.