Tips for a Successful Adoption
Picking up your new dog:
- Bring a leash and a collar for your new dog.
- Utilize a crate or a seat belt harness to securely fasten your new dog into your vehicle. Dogs can be confused and may try to flee the vehicle.
- Don’t stop at stores or visit friends or family on the way home. This is a very stressful day for your new dog. Allow them some time to get to know you for a few days before expanding their world.
- When you arrive home, make sure the dog is leashed and you have the leash in hand before exiting the vehicle.
- Remember it takes a dog days, even weeks to decompress and feel comfortable around you and in your home. Set your expectations accordingly and try to reduce stress for your new dog by minimizing triggers.
Introducing other dogs (and cats):
- Never leave your new dog unattended with resident dogs/cats until you’ve really had a chance to get to know them and their quirks. This could and should take weeks.
- Initial introductions should be on neutral ground, on leash, and should start by walking somewhat near each other and gradually working towards a nose to butt meeting. Hey, it’s what dogs know!
- Start slowly. Take walks, keep interactions short and positive. It’s ok to separate at first and socialize in small bursts. Slow and steady wins the race. CONTACT US IF YOU NEED US! We are here to help! Successful dog introductions can take days or even weeks!
- Know the difference between a correction and an attack. It is not unusual for dogs to set boundaries with each other. They communicate by growling, snapping, etc. This is especially common when introducing a young dog/puppy to an adult dog(s).
- ALWAYS FEED SEPARATELY!
- Do NOT leave bones or high value treats/toys out until you know each dog’s behavior.
- Never assume that a dog’s behavior in your home will be the same as their behavior in the fosters home. Every home has a different energy as does every dog.
- We recommend allowing your new dog to meet and interact with resident cats ON LEASH. Over time, allow slack in the leash once you get a feel for the dog’s reaction to the cat (assuming it’s non-reactive).
Introducing your new dog to to your home:
- Set up a safe place in your home where your new dog can go to that is where they can relax and decompress.
- Remember exercise helps a dog burn off nervous energy. Play fetch, take a walk, get them moving.
- USE CRATES! Crating is a great way to make sure your new dog is safe (and so are your belongings) while you are away. Ask the foster family what their routine was so you can try to make minor adjustments to fit your lifestyle.
- Take your new dog outdoors often at first. It is not unusual for a newly adopted dog to have accidents in the home even if they are house trained.
- Pick up the same brand of food the foster parent was feeding to make a slow, healthy transition to what you intend to feed.
Introducing dogs to kiddos:
- Never leave your new dog unattended with your child.
- Encourage children (especially young children) to interact in a positive way. For example, encourage children to touch gently rather than tug or pat. Never let your child hug, climb on, or pull on your new dog.
- Watch for signs of distress from your dog. Examples include panting, leaving the room, lip licking, pacing, showing the whites of the eyes, pinning ears, tucking tail, growling (never punish a growl, it’s how your dog speaks to you).
- Do not allow young children to eat next to a dog or drop food near a dog.
- Do not allow children to walk the dog without adult supervision. They could let go of the leash, another dog that’s off leash could come and start a dog fight, any number of things could happen.
If you've adopted a puppy:
- Avoid taking your dog to public areas (gas stations, pet stores, walks around the block, parks, etc) until your vet tells you it is safe to do so. Puppies that have not had the appropriate vaccines for the appropriate number of months are susceptible to many deadly diseases. We recommend at least 2 DA2PP vaccines at age 12 weeks plus in order to be fully protected.
- Look into puppy socialization classes in a controlled environment.
- Start puppy obedience training.
- Choose appropriate toys to avoid a bowel obstruction – avoid stuffed toys, squeakers, toys that are too small, etc.
- We do not recommend rawhide for any age dog due to health/choke hazards.