Congratulations on Adopting Your Dog!
Choosing to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue is a wonderful thing to do, as I and most of my students have found.
Even though this may be one of the happiest moments of your life, understand it can be a very challenging and stressful one for your new dog.
For the majority of rescue dogs we do not know their history or what kind of life they have had. All dogs, regardless of breed, go through various stages of development. Most dogs who end up in shelters are returned during their adolescent period of 8-10 months. It can be a difficult time for puppies that missed establishment of boundaries, socialization and training. But with proper guidance you can help your new dog have a happy and healthy life with you.
Here are few steps before the dog comes home:
Buy an appropriate sized Crate, for most dogs a wire crate is fine. Some do better in more enclosed "travel" type crates.
If the dog is not potty/housetrained put away all the rugs
Research a quality kibble or raw diet
Pick up some Kong Toys to stuff, and comfy dog bed for outside of the crate as well.
Find a local dog walker to help even if you work from home, it's a great to have a dog walker that your dog is comfortable with for any emergencies or extra busy days.
Find a local trainer that can help guide you and your dog, and set you both up for success. Even for one session.
Find a local Veterinarian and have a scheduled check up within the first week of getting your new dog.
Learn About Your Dog's Body Language and What They Are Trying To Tell You.
Understanding your dog's body language is one of the most important things we as humans can do to help on our dogs.
Our dogs can’t tell us in words what they’re thinking, so once we learn how to understand their body language better, a whole world of communication with our dogs opens up and in turn a better relationship.
It's important to understand dogs have 4 responses to any stressful situation fight, flight, avoid and acceptance. Dogs will rarely learn to accept without our help.
Play The "Name Game"
A great way to start your relationship with your dog once is to teach them their name. When you are training your dog it's most important that you have their attention. Work on their name recognition in many different environments. Have some fun with friends, family and or your roommate standing or sitting in a circle and practice the name game.
Here are few videos playing the "Name Game";
Dogs Thrive On Structure, Rules And Boundaries
Continue to set your dog up for success by establishing clarity in communication and helping your dog learn what is expected of them in our crazy human world. From my experience, as well as my mentors, structure, rules and boundaries are needed to help create a calm well-adjusted dog in the home.
Start with some rules to set clear boundaries until you get to know your new dog better and especially until after their "honeymoon period". This will create a better relationship for all.
A few examples I recommend while you get to know your new dog are not allowing your dog on the furniture, keeping their leash on in the home to help guide them to make good choices, proper use and rest in the crate and structured walks.
Training your dog helps close the communication gap between our species. On this page are some short training tutorials to get you started like by playing "Crate Games" the "Name Game, "Leave It" and the ever important "Place" cue.