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.