If you have adopted a dog from a shelter, congratulations and                                            Thank You for giving her a chance at life and love. 

Remember when you first bring her in your home to keep her on the leash and “introduce” her to the people, the rooms and the new environment she will be living in. Show her the
backyard, “her” things and let her smell her new world. If she seems fearful,
reassure her and continue the tour until she seems comfortable. Remember, it
could take about a week to a month before she realizes that she is home and fully believes this is her house.


Help your new dog feel welcome in his new home by setting aside a place in the house that will be his own. A quiet corner can allow him to be out of the lane of traffic, yet let him see what is going on. Have a dog bed
or crate ready for him where he can keep all his toys. Show him his food and
water bowls. Stainless steel or ceramic are better as they are easy to clean,
durable and do not harbor germs as easily as plastic. Of course, you should already
have a collar or harness and leash, to take him on walks.


It is very important to always, keep her leashed when she is outside the house in a non-fenced in area, especially for the first few months. It is very common in the first days for a dog to “bolt” from a new home that
she has not bonded to yet. Sadly, many of these dogs are never found or worse.
Remember that she cannot have enough identification, especially in the
beginning. A tattoo or microchip is an excellent permanent ID but a tag with
your phone number will get her home to you even faster. Make sure you keep the
registry current when you move or get a new number.


What to Feed?


There are several schools of thought as to what you should feed your new dog, including this site. You might want to spend some time reading the discussions in What’s for Dinner? Something you might want to keep
in mind when you first bring him home is that he probably was not eating Filet
Mignon at the shelter and abrupt changes in diet could cause stomach upset.
Find out what he was eating at the shelter then introduce new food gradually
over several days.


You also want to choose a food that is age appropriate. Puppies have different nutrient needs like more protein and calories, as is found in growth formulas, whereas senior dogs need much less of both to maintain
youthful health. Spend some time and do some research on canine nutrition
before you decide what you will feed you canine companion.


What to do Next?


One of the first things you should do when you bring your new dog home, is schedule a visit to the veterinarian. Make sure you bring any medical records with you as well as a fresh stool sample. Make it a spa day by
having a check-up, grooming and a nail clipping. Make sure you discuss spay or
neuter with your vet. Spaying your dog will not only prevent unwanted
pregnancies but it will also protect your dog from mammary tumors and uterine
infections. Neutering your male dog will protect him from testicular cancer and
prostate problems. These procedures are safe and give your dog a longer,
healthier life.


You might want to enroll your puppy in “puppy kindergarten” classes at 11 to 20 weeks to get a start on socialization and behavior training. Enroll in obedience or socialization classes for your older pooch to
set the tone for appropriate behavior. These classes will give you a chance to
bond with each other and if you can work at it with the children, it will teach
them how to behave near their new family member, too.


Remember that every dog needs plenty of toys to keep boredom from leading to chewing on the wrong things or constant barking. Allowing him to chew, tug, carry, shake, toss and “kill” toys is an important way to keep
things interesting and him out of trouble. Rotating toys can also keep things
interesting and exciting.


Remember, that with patience, time and love your rescued dog will be the most loving family member. 


Lynne Fowler

OoD Admin.



Views: 737

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Very interesting. I had a very good friend who help me so much when I got Thalie. Thanks Lynne!

Many of the dogs that come into rescue will have one or more of the following common behavior problems. In fact, the previous owner's inability to deal with these problems may have led to the dog's surrender. Your rescue dog will become more loving if you work diligently to correct these behaviors

____________ The Ten Day Rule, or the "Honeymoon Period _____________

It's a good idea to remember that is takes at least two weeks to truly evaluate his temperament (as well as to make sure he isn't harboring any illnesses). It is not unusual for a new dog to be very quiet and timid at first. Don't be surprised if new behavior problems crop up after about 10-14 days. This is actually a welcome sign, because it means that the dog is beginning to feel relaxed and letting his true personality show. Try to withhold judgments of the dog's temperament until this initial period has passed.

• Not Housetrained
o Rule out medical problems (intestinal problems, bladder infections, etc.)
o Supervise the dog constantly. Don't let him out of sight. (Use doors, gates or leash)
o Confine the dog whenever he can't be supervised (use a crate)
o Reward correct behavior: Give praise and treats when he does it right
o Feed on a set schedule. Don't just leave food in his bowl all day.
o Remove water several hours before bedtime
o Go outside on a schedule. Do not rely on the dog to tell you he needs to go.
o Go out frequently to figure out his schedule. Gradually eliminate unnecessary trips.
o Watch for signs like circling, sniffing, and whining.
o Interrupt the dog if you see him start to go (clap hands, "no, outside!")
o If it's too late, don't punish. The dog probably won't make the connection.
o Clean with enzymatic cleaner to remove odor.

• Marking in the house
o Neuter the dog
o Keep the dog on a leash tethered to your waist
o Interrupt the dog as he starts to lift his leg
o Crate the dog when you cannot watch him
o Tie a towel or "bellyband" around his waist to catch any leaks
o Spray any marked areas with an enzymatic cleaner

• Chewing
o Supervise the dog constantly
o Confine the dog whenever he can't be supervised (use a crate)
o Provide appropriate chew toys
o Use a bitter tasting spray (found at pet supply stores) on inappropriate items
o Puppyproof the house. If you leave your socks on the floor and the dog chews them, whose fault is that?

• Barking -- Dogs bark for different reasons. If the reason is...
o Boredom: Provide exercise and mental stimulation. Teach games like "find it" and provide challenging, food-dispensing toys like buster cubes and kongs.
o Loneliness: Bring the dog into the house with you
o Separation anxiety: Gradually teach the dog to tolerate being alone for longer periods
o To get attention: Ignore the dog. Reward quiet behavior.
o Stress: Ignoring won't work if dog is barking to relieve stress. Refocus the dog with obedience commands (sit, down, watch me, etc.) or move away from the source of stress.
o Guarding the neighborhood: If you can't supervise the dog to correct the behavior, confine him in a quiet area away from windows and doors so he won't be overstimulated by everything going on outside.
o If all else fails, consider a bark collar. Two types: shock and citronella spray. Collar choice depends on dog's temperament. Effectiveness depends on quality of the collar and consistent, correct collar use. Both types are humane and effective if used correctly, but consider the dog's temperament first, and watch for side effects (for example, generalized fear of the place where the collar went off).

• Jumping
o Ignore the dog when it jumps. Instruct every person the dog meets not to reward jumping with *any* attention. Remember, even shouting "no" is a form of attention. No need to kick or knee the dog in the chest; just turn away.
o Train an incompatible behavior: sit or "four on the floor." Dog can't jump and sit (or stand) at the same time.
o Be consistent!

• Dashing through doors
o Teach an incompatible behavior, eg: "wait." Dog must sit (or stand or down or make eye contact with you) before door opens, and must wait to go through the open door until given permission. Start with the leash attached, and practice until you can open the door and the dog doesn't budge.

• Pulling on leash
o Clicker training -- Click and reward (treat) every time the dog is walking beside you with a loose leash
o Be unpredictable -- Abruptly change direction any time the dog stops paying attention to you.
o "Be a tree" -- Don't move forward unless the leash is slack (personally this has never worked for me but may work for some)
o "Penalty yards" -- Return to the starting line each time the leash gets tight
o "Walking with a goal" -- Choose a goal that your dog will find rewarding (put some chicken on the ground several feet away, or choose a favorite smelly telephone pole). The dog must keep a loose leash in order to reach the goal.
o Targeting -- Teach the dog to touch your hand for food rewards. He can't pull if he is walking beside you.
o Management -- Use a special collar or harness for short-term management, while also continuing to work on long-term training solutions:
 Gentle Leader headcollar -- Fits around the neck and muzzle, like a horse's halter. Gently and effectively reduces pulling by giving you control of the dog's head. Do not jerk the leash because you could injure the dog's neck. Also make sure you keep the dog on a fairly short lead so that he can't get a running start and hit the end of the lead, twisting his neck. Disadvantages: There is an adjustment period, during which most dogs will try to paw or rub the collar off. Dogs can learn to pull with this type of collar.
 Prong or pinch collar -- Gives immediate, effective control for dogs that object to a headcollar. Some people refer to the pinch collar as "power steering." Collar must be fitted correctly to be effective. Advantage over Gentle Leader is that there is no adjustment period. Some dogs are more sensitive to the pinching sensation than others, so use with caution and consult an experienced trainer for assistance.
 Front-attach harness -- Makes it difficult to pull by putting the attachment point in front of the dog's chest, thus pulling the dog off balance. There are several brands on the market. Very effective if the dog's only issue is pulling. Not a good choice for dogs with other issues (such as lunging and barking at other dogs or people) since you have no control of the dog's head.
 Flexi (retractable lead) -- Most dogs enjoy the extra room to maneuver and will trot happily back and forth, rather than running to the end of the lead and continuing to pull. Please practice using your flexi before going out in public. In inexperienced hands, dogs on retractable leashes can be a nuisance or even a hazard. Read the instructions that came with your flexi and practice using the brake and retracting the lead in a quick, fluid motion.

• Running away / not coming when called
o Management -- Make sure the yard is secure. Keep the dog on leash when outside.
o Neutering -- This can reduce the tendency of a dog to roam, but will take some time to have an effect. Don't expect this to completely cure the problem because running away is already an established behavior.
o Practice recalls -- Start with the dog very close (in the house, on leash, or in a fenced area) and reward the dog every time it comes to you. Gradually increase the distance.
o Choose a special recall cue and make sure the dog is always rewarded for responding to the cue.
o Never call the dog for something unpleasant, like getting a bath.
o Don't call unless you are reasonably sure the dog will respond, or are in a position to enforce the command (dog is on a long line). Don't give him the option of not coming until he is reliably responding to the cue in training sessions. Otherwise, you are just teaching the dog to ignore your recall cue.
o Don't repeat your cue. If the dog fails to come on the first cue, go and get him.
o Do lots of repetitions until the dog responds without hesitation, regardless of distance and distractions.
o Remote training collar or e-collar -- This is a very effective tool to gain off leash control if used under the guidance of an experience trainer. For consistent performance, stick with quality brands (Dogtra, Tritronics). Use the lowest level that your dog can perceive. In general, commands should first be taught via another method (clicker & treats, leash & collar) and only then reinforced with the collar. Remember that the dog must first be taught what the sensation from the collar means and how he can stop the stimulation by complying with your command. The dog should be on a long line to begin this training. If your "training plan" consists of strapping on a collar, letting the dog run free, and pushing buttons until the dog magically returns to you, PLEASE do not even consider using an ecollar. This is a controversial issue and The DRRC reserves the right to DISAGREE with the use of ecollars.

• Aggression -- Consult with a trainer for help if your dog...
o Bites or snaps
o Growls or snarls when being handled
o Guards food or toys
o Exhibits any other behavior that would make you afraid to have the dog around other people or animals

Food Aggression - This is a common thing with shelter and puppy mill dogs. Here is one idea that worked:
Was watching the New York Animal Cops on Animal Planet. and when they come across a perfect dog with just one problem = food agression then they have to euthanize it. We had a dog that we loved that had food agression and we started out by filling a bowl with food and for a couple of weeks we hand fed her every bite until it was gone. Then we switched things by putting a bite of food from our hand into the bowl and let her eat that. Why cant the animal behaviorist try that instead of using that fake hand that doesn't smell like a hand? Our method worked amazingly well. No more food aggression.


Thank you all, very good information. I would like to also add please be extra understanding when you bring home a sick pup it may take up to 3, 4 weeks for the real personality to shine. As our Howie had a severe infection from an old wound which took two weeks to clear up, we are now just seeing a healthy, happy, loving companion and playmate for Chloe.

Great point, Ed. I always tell people, even with a healthy dog, to allow a week or two until he feels like he is truly home. Dogs thrive on routine and the sooner he learns a new routine, the faster he will understand that this is real. Especially if he has had a hard past life, it may take a while for him to really feel secure and safe. Love and patience and the two most important things anyone can give a rescued dog when they first come home.


I am so glad that Howie is finally coming around to being a happy guy. You all deserve the credit for being there for both of your rescued dogs.

Another thing to remember (don't think I saw it, haven't had coffee this am!), her name.  It is possible this dog once had a name to which he or she responded, possibly when found or left at a shelter that name was not provided and the shelter gave the dog a new name.  Now she is with you and you might like a different name...hmm, lots of changes.  So if you are going to change the name or name the dog, begin right away at the shelter to whisper and say that name until the dog begins, over the ride home, the first few days, the first weeks the dog associates that name with itself!   I always use the dog's new name in a very gentle and affectionate way when I am patting or playing with the dog.  You will know by tracking the dog's eyes and ears when he or she has made the association, "Me".

Great point, Judy. I always say "Come on, _______", and "Good Puppy, _______" as those are terms/words they have heard before. Anything I say I associate the name with it. They have words that everyone would say that they are used to:

"Good girl/boy"



"Wanna (eat/go out/go in car)"


Then add the name to words they already know. But never yell, soft sweet voice works better. They already have a repertoire of words they have always heard...use them.

Wanted to bump this up.  Found this to have some helpful information for anyone that is bringing home a new rescue or patiently waiting for the right one to come along!  :-)


Thanks, Amy. I do have some good things to say once I find the time. LOL

Thank goodness you have two months free in summer...!


Free? Back to back foster dogs, calling refs, reading apps, arranging transports, pick ups, interviewing fosters, tagging, dog with heartworms, and more. Good thing I have 2 months off in the Summer. LOL

I mean free with no rocks and everyday routine. What you just mention is just fun!!! it is your favourite things!! Remember when you are at school and have to do all that after you end your day of "work"!!! Lov you my friend, so much!!


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