When we adopted our dog, we had prepared, but only after we brought Cleo home did I realize how much I still didn't know. Part of my adoption theory was that at some point, you just have to do it. You can't know everything, nor can you plan for every contingency. You need to have an open heart, ready to set your new dog up for success in their new life with you. You can prepare your household and life for this new family member, but at some point in the planning process, you need to trust your instincts and open your home.
Our dog has become a family member, blossoming into a happy girl over the past six years with us. However, with that said, I wish I had known some of these great tips for creating a well adjusted dog. We had a few avoidable mishaps in those first days. The first thirty days in a home are special and critical for a dog.
We got lucky with Cleo, and she is resilient. She knows that we love her unconditionally, and now if there is ever a question, she seems to give us the benefit of the doubt and pause before she reacts to a situation. In celebration of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, and to help you avoid some of our mistakes, I've shared a few highlights from Petfinder, followed by a link to the entire list.
Pass on these tips to new adopters to ensure a harmonious home..
Before you bring your dog home:
Training your dog will start the first moment you have him. Take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use when giving your dog directions. This will help prevent confusion and help your dog learn his commands more quickly. Not sure which commands to use? Check out How to Talk to Your Dog.
If you plan on crate training your dog, leave the crate open so that he can go in whenever he feels like it in case he gets overwhelmed. Also, be sure to check out the dos and don'ts of crate training your dog.
If he came from another home, objects like leashes, hands, rolled up newspapers and magazines, feet, chairs and sticks are just some of the pieces of "training equipment" that may have been used on this dog. Words like "come here" and "lie down" may bring forth a reaction other than the one you expect.
Or maybe he led a sheltered life and was never socialized to children or sidewalk activity. This dog may be the product of a never-ending series of scrambled communications and unreal expectations that will require patience on your part.
People often say they don't see their dog's true personality until several weeks after adoption. Your dog will be a bit uneasy at first as he gets to know you. Be patient and understanding while also keeping to the schedule you intend to maintain for feeding, walks, etc. This schedule will show your dog what is expected of him as well as what he can expect from you.
For more information and the entire list with links on Petfinder.com visit: Tips for the First 30 Days of Dog Adoption