The First Few Days With Your New Dog

Life has been very scary for your rescue dog. Likely, he or she was wandering lost for a few days before being picked up and taken to the pound. After staying at the shelter for a week, he was picked up by a volunteer and taken to the vet before being transferred to his foster home. In some cases, the dog may have had more than one foster home. He may even have been adopted and then returned back to us. Even the best dogs need a few days to adjust to a new environment. Please read through the following possible problems and suggestions before considering returning your dog to us.

Housetraining: Even a housebroken dog may have a few accidents in a new environment. Keep a careful eye on your dog his first couple of days in your home. Take him out frequently whether he seems to need to or not, especially if he has just woken up or recently been eating or drinking. Praise him when he does his business outside. If he does have an accident inside, give him a loud 'no' and take him immediately outside. Consider crate training for when you cannot be with him.

Other dogs: Some tension between the new dog and your dog(s) is normal while your new dog finds his place in the pack. If there is any food aggression, try feeding them separately. Make sure there are plenty of toys for both. Consider buying new toys even if your other dog has plenty. If your current dog(s) have rawhide or pigs feet, consider removing them as they may promote fights. Don't leave the dogs alone together until you are absolutely sure they get along. Don't forget to give your other dog(s) plenty of attention.

Boredom: Boredom and lack of exercise is one of the biggest reasons dogs get into trouble. Boredom can lead to aggression, escaping, and destructiveness. Make sure your dog has plenty of toys to play with. Remove anything that might be mistaken for a toy, such as shoes, cell phones, and remote controls. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Take him or her for a walk or play fetch in the yard.

Left Alone: When you have to leave your dog at home alone, consider crate training. With proper training, most dogs like their crate. Crate training can help with separation anxiety. It can prevent damage to your home and harm to your dog. You can leave your house knowing that everything will be just fine when you get home. If you decide not to crate train, restrict the dog's access to your house. Close doors, and put up baby gates. Make sure he has access to his toys, but that there is nothing else within reach. For big dogs or dogs who can jump or climb, this may include clearing off tables and counters.

Bedtime: Decide where you want your dog to sleep and start that the first night. If you are tempted to let the dog sleep in the bed 'just that first night,' don't. It is much easier to train a dog if you begin how you mean to go on. Many people prefer to leave the dog in the crate at night. The first night the dog will very likely cry, but once it has accepted that as routine, he will likely go in and sleep. Dogs live for routine, but it will take a few days to learn this. If not in a crate, usually, lights and quiet is enough to tell the dog it is bedtime. If your dog is wound up and playing, try rubbing his belly or head to calm him down, then go back to bed and ignore him. It make take a couple of nights, but if you are consistent, he will soon learn bedtime.

Dogs function best with a stable routine and being in a new home can be just as confusing to him as it can be disruptive to you. Establish set times for eating, playing and sleeping and you will be surprised at how quickly your dog will catch on. Please remember that rescues have had a difficult and uncertain life and that he or she just needs a little time and patience to fit in.