By Marika Bell, WHS Director of Behavior
You fell in love at the adoption center, submitted your application, adopted an amazing dog… now what? Follow these tips to make sure that you are prepared to welcome home your new family member and ease their transition.
Make sure you have all the necessary supplies before you go to pick up your new dog.
- 4-6 foot leash
- Front clip walking harness
- Flat buckle collar (for tags)
- Good quality dog food
- Food and water bowls
- A dog bed or blankets
- Different types of dog toys - I
recommend a KONG or similar toy to stuff food in, a soft/squeaky toy for play,
and a rope toy for a nice game of Tug.
It’s also a good idea to have a crate that is large enough for your dog to stand up and turn all the way around. Crates are useful for toilet training and supervision, and they make great “safe zones” for dogs that need to get away from the family bustle.
2. Have a plan!
Dogs need to be introduced to their new environment slowly. They will likely be anxious and stressed for the first few days.
- Plan on having a very quiet first week.
- Avoid having guests around during this week.
- Allow time for the dog to really get to know their new immediate family.
- Introduce them to the house on leash, showing them where their bed and water are first, then give them some quiet time in the crate or tethered next to you on their bed.
- Do NOT let your new dog off leash anywhere, especially your backyard. The dog may not realize that this place is their home. Losing newly adopted dogs is very common within the first three days, as was the case with Rosa. Thankfully, Rosa was found after a few days and was returned to her new adopters. Not all dogs are so lucky.
3. Back to school time!
Start training your new dog immediately. Consistency is important to dogs. It helps them feel stable and safe. If you change the house rules a week after the dog has been brought home, you risk confusing them, and it will take longer for them to settle in. Set up rules that everyone can follow, and stick to them!
- Practice sitting or waiting before going through doorways. It’s a very polite and useful behavior.
- Practice sitting or going into the crate before dinner.
- Don’t give attention for jumping up, only for four feet on the floor.
- When you leave the dog alone, give them a chew toy, such as a pig’s ear or a bully stick. This will help them learn that being left alone isn’t so bad.
Upcoming New Adopter Workshop - FREE!
When:Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012
Time: 11:45 am - 1:15 pm
Where: Your Dog's Friend Training Center (12221 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852)
A few great reads about dog behavior and training:
How Many Dogs?! by Debbie McMullen
Don’t Shoot the Dog! by Karen Pryor
Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier
Chill Out Fido by Nan Kene Arthur