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WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ADOPT A SHELTER DOG

Puppy proofing, socialization, potty training and basic training takes time, effort and patience.  Your new family member has undergone a lot of stress.  He came to the shelter as a stray or his family relinquished him.  When coming into your home, he has no way of knowing what’s next – even for the friendliest, stable dog.

ADJUSTMENT PERIOD

  • Try to limit your time away from the dog for the first few days – he needs consistency and calm.
  • Dogs are den animals so having an appropriate crate creates a safe place for your dog to rest.  Place a blanket in the crate for his comfort.
  • Limit your dog to one room or area to allow him to get used to the sounds and smells of the new home
  • NEVER let your rescue dog alone in the house with existing pets until you have carefully monitored and controlled interaction for a period of time
  • Closely monitor the dog outside.  Do not leave him alone in the yard without adult supervision until you feel he can be trusted with children and won’t dig under or climb over the fence.

ESTABLISH ROUTINE AND RULES

  • Send consistent message.  Decide the rules as a family and gently enforce from the beginning.  If it’s not going to be cute at age 10, don’t let him do it at 10 weeks
  • Just like people, dogs need structure and leadership.  Dogs respond well to routine – try to keep meals, walks and bedtime as consistent as possible.
  • Practice obedience training calmly and consistently.
  • Praise good behavior – you will be amazed how quickly dogs learn what is acceptable with positive reinforcement.

EXPECT HOUSE TRAINING ACCIDENTS

  • Your dog is in a new territory and is establishing a new routine, so ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN.  Learn his cues.
  • Prior to bringing your new dog into the home, take him to his potty area on leash.  Praise him when he goes.  This routine should continue until he understands.

SOCIALIZATION

  • Give the dog time to acclimate to his new environment before meeting strangers
  • Although you may want to keep your dog quiet for the first couple days, it is very important for him to meet new people as well as new dogs.   Introduce initially slowly and quietly – remember EVERYTHING is new to him.