Bringing Your New Dog Home

The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being patient. It can take anywhere from two days to several months for you and your pet to adjust to each other. The following tips can help ensure a smooth transition.


Prepare the things your dog will need in advance. You'll need two collars and a leash, - One collar is a non-slip collar for walking only (martingale or loop) – and is removed when you get home or when left alone (like in the car) – the other is a quick-release snap (not a belt buckle style) – that remains on ALWAYS and carries his ID information.. Also food and water bowls, food, a comfy bed, and, of course, some toys. And don't forget to have an identification tag already with two contact phone numbers.

Welcome home

Try to arrange the arrival of your new dog for a weekend or when you can be home for a few days. Get to know each other and spend some quality time together. Don't forget the jealousy factor—make sure you don't neglect other pets and people in your household!

House rules

Work out your dog-care regimen in advance among the human members of your household. Who will walk the dog first thing in the morning?  At midday ? At night? Who will feed him breakfast ? and dinner? Will Fido be allowed on the couch, or won't he? Where will he rest at night? Are there any rooms in the house that are off-limits? Make sure you all agree and follow the same rules so your new roommate doesn’t get mixed messages.

Training and discipline

Disclipline is freedom – not punishment. A dog that knows how to behave has the freedom to go everywhere with you .Dogs need order. Let your pet know from the start who is the boss. When you catch him doing something he shouldn’t, don't lose your cool. You have 2-3 seconds to correct him - after that he will not be able to connect what you are doing with what he has done. Stay calm, and let him know immediately, with a special sound, or a strong disapproving voice, that he has misbehaved. Reward him with praise when he does well, too! Sign up for a local dog obedience class, and you'll learn what a joy it is to have a well-trained dog.

Housetraining (see details below)

Assume your new dog is not housetrained, and work from there. Even housetrained dogs often have indoor accidents when they are moved to a new home. If its a puppy, read over the housetraining information that is easily found in training books and the internet. Plan to devote a day or two for taking your puppy outside every hour so they understand they will have frequent access outdoors so its worth waiting and not peeing inside !! NEVER hit your dog for an accident – or rub his nose in it. When they go inside your house its because you don’t know their schedule and you don’t get them outside. Besides the normal time when nature calls, they will tend to pee when they get excited or anxious – so let them out after they play, after they eat, when you get home, when visitors. Be consistent, and maintain a routine. Just because a dog can survive 10 hours without going outside doesn’t mean they are happy or healthy with waiting that long – there are health consequences to making your dog consistently wait more than 6 hours (except overnight) to relieve themselves.

A crate may look to you like the canine equivalent of a jail cell, but to your dog, who instinctively likes to den, it's a room of his own. It makes housetraining and obedience training easier.  Of course, you won't want to crate your dog all day or all night, or he will consider it a jail cell. Just a few, regular hours a day should be sufficient.

The crate should not contain wire where his collar or paws can get caught, and should be roomy enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably in normal posture. Make sure it has a soft surface for sleeping - and drape a blanket over the crate (if it is a wire crate) to make him feel safe inside a den, and not on display in a cage.

Don’t force your dog in – lure him on with treats, toys, meals so it is a “happy” place for him.

If a crate isn’t an option, consider some sort of confinement to a dog-proofed part of your home. A portion of the kitchen or family room can serve the purpose very well. (A baby gate works


Walking (see details below)

Walking isn’t just a quick chore to get your dog outside to pee – its bonding time together, its exercise ( for both of you), its social time (for both of you) – For a dog, having a yard is not the same as going for a walk – just like for you, if you just want some sun,   tanning on your driveway is not the same as going to the beach…

Let the games begin

Dogs need an active life. That means you should plan plenty of exercise and game time for your pet. Enjoy jogging or Frisbee? You can bet your dog will, too. If running around the park is too energetic for your taste, try throwing a ball or a stick, or just going for a long walk together.  Dogs quickly learn how to trot along next to you when you bike.  Be careful not to have him jog too far (bad on the paws and joints) and dogs can overheat even when you are comfortable. When you take a drive in the country or visit family and friends, bring your dog and a leash along.


Make the transition smooth for your new friend. It can be intimidating to be faced with new sounds and sights – babies crying, motorcycles, skateboards, vacuum cleaners, cats, even other dogs. Even an innocent act like a stranger bending down to pick him up can be very scary.  Don’t set him up for a bad experience by forcing unwelcome stimulation on him too fast. Be patient  and respect his space. Let him approach strangers and unfamiliar objects at his speed and his comfort zone so all his new encounters are positive. As the weeks or months go by, even the most shy dogs will slowly adjust to their surroundings and accept new experiences.


Be careful which behaviors you encourage by mistake. If your dog is anxious, barking, whining, or upset, our natural human tendency is to soothe them with affection. But for a dog, heaping affection upon undesirable behavior only serve to reinforce that behavior, not extinguish it. If your dog is nervous when a stranger approaches, giving him space and ignoring him or redirecting him to a desired behavior is more effective at changing (helping) him than hugging and patting him. There is plenty of time left in the day when he is calm to smother him to your heart’s delight.

Overcoming Separation Anxiety

For many dogs, even the slightest change in daily routines can be upsetting. In response, poor Fido may start acting disruptive or destructive, especially when left home alone. He may resort to urinating and defecating indoors, howling, chewing, pacing or trying to escape from the house or yard. When these issues are accompanied by signs of panic, distress or depression, they may indicate your pooch suffers from separation anxiety.

When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the underlying issue by teaching him to enjoy—or at least tolerate—being left alone. We  have put together a list of top tips for helping your pooch overcome separation anxiety.

Doctor Knows Best: The first step in tackling behavior issues is to rule out any underlying medical problems that might be causing your pet’s behavior. For example, if your pet is urinating in the house, he might be suffering from a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, diabetes or kidney disease—all of which can cause urinary incontinence in dogs.

Conquer Fear: If your pooch suffers mild separation anxiety, counter conditioning—or helping your dog associate being alone with something good, like a tasty treat—might reduce or resolve the problem. To develop this kind of association, offer your dog a food-dispensing toy every time several minutes before you leave the house.

Dogs Need Jobs: Providing lots of physical and mental stimulation is a vital part of treating many behavior problems, especially those involving anxiety. Exercise can enrich your dog’s life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal behavior. Plus, a tired dog doesn’t have much excess energy to burn when he’s left alone!

Prepare for Departure: Many dogs know when you’re about to leave the house and will get anxious or prevent your departure altogether. One way to tackle “pre-departure anxiety” is to teach your dog that when you pick up your keys or put on your coat, it doesn’t always mean you’re leaving. For example, put on your boots and coat, and then just sit down and watch TV instead of leaving.

Take Baby Steps: If your dog’s anxiety falls more on the severe side of things, try getting your pooch used to being alone by starting small or “desensitizing” him to the cause of his fear. Begin by introducing several short periods of separation that don’t produce anxiety, and then gradually increase time spent apart over the course of a few weeks.

Together We Stand: Any treatment for separation anxiety requires that your dog never experiences the full-blown version of whatever provokes his anxiety or fear. Avoid leaving your dog alone except during desensitization sessions. If possible, take your dog to work or arrange for a family member or dog sitter to come to your home during the day.

Keep it Mellow: All greetings—hellos and goodbyes—should be conducted in a very calm manner. When saying goodbye, just give your dog a pat on the head, say goodbye and leave. Similarly, when arriving home, say hello to your dog and then don’t pay any more attention to him until he’s calm and relaxed.

Say No to Tough Love: Anxious behaviors are not the result of disobedience or spite, so please don’t scold or punish your dog if he doesn’t overcome his fear quickly. If you punish him, he may become even more upset and the problem could get worse. Be patient, and work with your pet until he feels comfortable and enjoys spending time alone.

The Adult Dog

There are many advantages to adopting an adult dog. You already know the size and  disposition of your pet, something not known of a puppy. However, you do not know your pet's past. You do not know if he is housebroken or trained. He has had to adjust to different situations so it is imperative you be patient with your new pet and let him know and understand your patterns.

The First Day Home

Avoid your new best friend from getting diarrhea from a diet change, continue the food he’s eating then slowly change over to a new brand (if desired) over a few days -  give boiled potatoes or rice with the new food. Staying with “grain- free” foods tends to make the transition so much easier.

Keep your new dog on a leash. Show him where his water and food dish are kept. Show him where he is to sleep. When he is indoors be sure and keep him confined with you, taking him outdoors at frequent intervals to relieve himself. Take him to the same spot each time and praise him heartily when he goes. Until he learns this new routine he will have to be watched closely. Please do not assume he is not housebroken – how would he know where you think is the right place to go ???  He must get accustomed to his new home and his new routines.   NEVER hit your dog if an accident occurs. NEVER push your dog’s nose into an accident. Praise, not punishment, is the key to a well behaved pet. Trying too hard to "correct"  a dog who had an "accident" often leads to unintended consequences -  the dog may learn to think it's bad to go when you are near him and then he won't want to go when you take him out on a leash! You’ll regret your actions when you are standing out in the rain at night waiting for him to find someplace to hide so you won’t yell at him when he pees near you.

Period of Adjustment

The first couple of weeks you and your pet are "getting to know one another". He doesn’t know why he has come to your home nor what is expected of him. Please be patient with him and anticipate problems before they occur. Don't leave tempting shoes, clothing, or children's toys within reach of your dog. DO NOT just leave him out  alone in your backyard while you leave the house -  please understand the first few days will be rough on him and his anxiety may cause him to try to escape or become destructive and injure himself or your property.  Often he will be very restless for the first few days – pacing, panting, crying, staying close to the doors – the first night in his new home is usually the most stressful and often these behaviors will quickly disappear. Have him stay someplace that is safe and secure. Try to leave the home with as little fanfare as possible. Tearful goodbyes do nothing but add to your dog's anxiety.

Things to Watch For

When he's first settling in, your dog may experience shyness, anxiety, restlessness, excitement, crying or barking. He may exhibit excessive water drinking, frequent urination, or diarrhea. His appetite may not be good. If any of these symptoms last more than a few days, call your veterinarian.

Be Consistent

Your new dog must learn a whole set of new rules. Be patient and be consistent. If you want him off the furniture, don't allow him to sit on the couch "sometimes". Don't allow him to do something one time and forbid it another.

A New Member of Your Family

Within a week or two, your dog will have settled into his new home and his new routine. Some will take a little longer. Very few are unable to adjust at all. In most cases the dog will be a well-adjusted member of the family within a month. And well worth it, it will be. In fact, you will probably have trouble remembering when he wasn’t one of you.

Occasionally, things just don’t workout. We do our best to find the right home for a dog – but their behaviors can change as they grow up ( in the case of a puppy),  or settle in and get more comfortable/confident/dominant in a household.  Our goal is not to force a pet to spend its life in a home that is not right for him. Destructive dogs that are banished to the back yard, poorly socialized dogs that are not being walked or interacting with strangers, aggressive dogs that terrorize other pets or family members are not success stories. We will always take back any pet that is not happy, or making you happy – sometimes life circumstances just  change – and sometimes  it was our fault for placing him in a home that wasn’t a good match.

A friend for life

Finally, be reasonable in your expectations. Life with you is a different experience for your new companion, so give him time to adjust. You'll soon find out that you've made a friend for life. No one will ever greet you with as much enthusiasm or provide you with as much unqualified love and loyalty as your dog will. Be patient, and you will be amply rewarded.

Remember, you may have spent weeks or months or even years waiting and preparing for your new pet to join your house - but your pet had no warning and made no decisions – this huge change in his life was just  forced on him suddenly today. He is in a brand new world, one full of strange people and strange smells and sounds. Help him make a smooth transition.

10 Truths About Walking Your Dog  

excerpted from

The Dog Ain’t Gonna Walk Itself

Look, the sad truth is that dogs refuse to take responsibility for their own health. While I’m at work, my dogs have all day to play and run around together in the backyard.  But do they do it?  No.  When I come home 9-10 hours later they jump up, suddenly energized, expecting me to entertain them.  I have explained to them numerous times the importance of diet and exercise to their overall health and have encouraged them to be proactive.  They always act like they’re listening very attentively, but then later I’ll see them snacking on a cat turd before falling asleep in the dirt.  Next day: same thing.  So here’s a simple rule I live by: if it licks its butt, you are the boss of it. Be the boss. Make it walk.

If Your Dog is Overweight, You’re Not Getting Enough Exercise

About a year ago, I suffered a traumatic injury to my ankle and was laid up, off on and on, for months. Guess who gained weight besides me? Scout aka Chubby Bunny and Boo the Boodozer. I was painfully aware that I had gained weight, but didn’t realize my dogs had until I took Scout in for a check-up and the vet tech called her “Chunky Monkey”. You, too, may be living in denial. You see your dogs every day so you may not have noticed their widening girth. Here’s a quick way to tell if your pooch is packin‘. Dogs, like humans, can suffer health problems due to excess weight.  Vets are seeing more instances of overweight pets as our lifestyles become more sedentary.  So do it for you; do it for Fido.  Walk off the pounds, together.

A Tired Dog is a Good Dog

Ok, I stole this one from Cesar Milan and there is no doubt that The Dog Whisperer knows from whence he speaks. Does your dog bark excessively/chew/dig/run away/jump on people/talk with his mouth full/leave the seat up – oh wait a minute. The point is; any unwanted behavior that your dog exhibits is very often borne out of frustration and boredom. A bored dog will find things to do to amuse herself. These things will most likely not amuse you. Luckily, your dog is beautifully easy to entertain – no complicated Russian novels or marathon rounds of Words with Friends needed. Simply take her for a walk.

A Wolf in “Sheep’s” Clothing

Your dog comes from good stock. Wolf stock. No matter how small, coiffed, cute and domesticated – all dogs share one origin – the very undomesticated, wild wolf. Wolves are nomads by nature and spend up to one-third of their time on the move, sometimes covering over 100 miles in a day in search of food. This wanderlust is deeply engrained into your dog’s DNA. Does your dog get crazy excited before a walk? This is “pack” behavior similar to what wolves do to work up adrenalin before a hunt. Wolves wander, hunt and eat, in that order. Your dog wants to walk. Your dog needs to walk. Bonus: if you walk your dog before feeding him, you are fulfilling his elemental psychological drive to “work” for his food.

This Land is Your Land, But I’m Gonna Pee on It

It is important to dogs that they know their “territory” and are able to leave evidence that they were there.  With each sniff in the grass or at the base of a tree, the dog’s nose is communicating to him a rich history of what and who passed by that way before.  When a dog pees and/or “peels out,” that is his way of “bookmarking” the spot for himself later while at the same time letting others know he belongs there too.  A walk around your neighborhood lets your dog have the opportunity to get to know, by scent, the players in his stomping ground and keeps his mind active – just as important to your dog’s health and happiness as keeping his body in shape.

These are the People in Your Neighborhood

A walk with your dog is an excellent exercise in socialization.  She will get to know all the sights and sounds of her neighborhood by meeting other people and other dogs, encountering small animals such as birds and squirrels and becoming familiar with common noises.  Cars, motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards, horns, lawn mowers, you name it – the more your dog encounters on her walks with you, the less likely she will be scared or nervous of new sounds in the future.


Walk On, Fearless Leader

Dogs need constant reinforcement of pack hierarchy in order to feel secure.  In your dog’s mind, you are the pack leader (at least, you’d better be).  As pack leader, it is your job to rally and lead the rest of the pack in the hunt — even if the hunt is just for a good place to do some “business.”  A walk is an ideal time to exert your leadership and reinforce your position.  You are Alpha, so use this opportunity to step up and prove it.  Make your dog sit and wait a few times or give him other basic commands to let him know you’re still Top Dog.

The More I Know You, the More I Love You

One of the best benefits of walking your dog is that it cultivates bonding.  Your dog loves you and your dog loves walking, so walking your dog is like a mini lottery win for Rover.  Spending time with your dog discovering new places and  sharing experiences strengthens and enriches your relationship.

Hello, My Name is Boo Boo and I’ll Be Your Poster Child Today

You obviously love dogs or you wouldn’t be spending time reading this.  You are also probably a rescuer or an adopter, or at least a proponent of rescuing or adopting (as opposed to purchasing) companion animals.  One of my favorite things to do when I walk one or all of my three rescue dogs, is to take time to talk to people I meet along the way.  If they comment on how nice, pretty, handsome, well-behaved or cute my dogs are, I always thank them and mention that Boo Boo was a stray, or Scout was from an unwanted litter, or Big Duke was dumped at the shelter as an 8 year old because his parents were divorcing.  In other words, show people how great your “secondhand” dogs are.

If I Could Put Time in a Bottle…I’d Still Whine, Moan and Complain About Not Having Time

Alright, so this one is actually about overcoming those obstacles that prevent us from walking our dogs like we should.  “I don’t have time.”  Those four words have derailed the loftiest goals and best intentions more than any of us would care to admit.  If we are being honest with ourselves, though, is it really true?

In my list of daily priorities, was texting back and forth with my friend, composing a political tirade on Facebook or watching “Real Housewives” really more important than walking my dogs?  Of course not. My dogs didn’t lobby to come live at my house – I sought them out for my own gratification.  Now that I have them, it would be unfair to treat them like an inconvenience.

Fortunately, dogs don’t keep score.  If you truly can’t carve out 30-60 consecutive minutes of walking every day, what can you manage?  15 minutes of running?  20 minutes of hiking?  10 minutes of hide and seek?  5 minutes of chase?  Aim for a longer walk every day, but on the days you can’t do it, be creative!  Your dog doesn’t care if his exercise is unorthodox and he won’t criticize your ideas.  He will just be happier and more “balanced” because you’re spending time caring for his wellbeing. And so will you.

This year I resolve to be more like the person my dog thinks I am (a person who walks!).  Do you?


Housetraining Hints

If you think about it, its amazing that dogs learn to go outside – and that outside doesn’t mean the hallway, your friend’s house, the grocery store, the car – its a pretty cool concept . So lets make it easier on both of you..

Housetraining is just like catching the bus downtown – it’s a lot easier when you have a bus schedule !!! Imagine yourself in a new town – no signs for  the bus stops, no schedules – Are you just going to stand on a random street corner and wait for hours just  in case you happen to be in the right spot and the right bus happens to drive by ????   No – you’ll start walking when you feel  its time to head into town ….  But if you knew that every hour at the minutes past the hour the bus came by, you’d wait and go to the right place at the right time.

Well it’s the same for your new dog – if they don’t know where to go and don’t know they will be there soon, why are they going to wait ???

To start – take your new dog out EVERY HOUR – this is like you discovering that every hour the bus goes past your corner …. They will likely pee every time – which makes it more likely for them to go the next hour without HAVING to go --- If they don’t HAVE to go, they don’t HAVE to wait ..

When your dog pees outside, gives them lots of praise and treats to reward  them -  they will quickly learn that peeing outside makes good things happen (TREATS)…

Now for inside ---- If you see them starting to squat, distract them and get them outside ASAP – and praise them when they pee outside. You caneven teach them “go potty” and they will pee in command. A handy trick on a cold winter night.

When your dog pees inside, do nothing. Its your fault you didn’t get them out often enough. That’s like you yelling at the busdriver for being late when there’s no bus schedule. Yelling/screaming only scare them – NEVER HIT YOUR DOG FOR AN ACCIDENT– NEVER RUB YOUR DOG’S NOSE IN PEEP/POOP. They have no idea what you are doing or why !!!! You don’t rub a baby’s face in its dirty diaper ( I hope …) Punishing them for going in front of you in the house may not teach them its wrong to pee in the house – it may only teach them its wrong to pee in front of you. … They will forever be nervous to pee when you walk them on a leash because you can see them – you will regret teaching them that lesson on a cold rainy night when they are searching for a safe place away from you to pee.

It is very old-fashioned teaching that rubbing noses in pees teaches a dog anything – well, anything good.  You only have a few seconds after a dog has done something to correct them to that behavior – after that they are being punished for something they have no connection to. Think of yourself  suddenly dropped into schoolroom in Russia.  The teacher passes back the History tests you took the day before. As you reach out to get yours, she yells at you in a Russia, and rubs your face in the paper and smacks your knuckles with a ruler. Is that behavior going to make you learn History better ???? or just make you afraid of your teacher and nervous the next time there’s a test ????

Give it some time – they will get better and better – it is up to YOU to recognize signs they want to pee – you’re the one who opens the door !! They will tell you -- they start sniffing and exploring corners, run off to another room, start to get restless and pace, start to whine, go to the door, etc.. They don’t yell at you – or rub your case in it- when you’re not smart enough to figure out their signals !! They are patient with you – be the same with them.

Confine your dog to small spaces until they understand to go outside – they want to pee outside of their own space – but to them, outside “their space” may mean their crate or the kitchen - not upstairs, on the carpet in the living room - not outside “Your” space.

Often shy dogs will not pee on a walk – but pee as soon as they get home. That’s because to them  peeing outside is like you leaving your picture and phone number at a public bar. It might be okay if the right person finds it, but could be dangerous if the wrong person finds it. The shy dog doesn’t want to announce where they were, so they wait to get home where it is safe to pee. With time and confidence, this behavior will go away.  Find an outdoor spot where your dog feels safe, then take them right there everyday – they have already shown you its safe for them, so make it easy on both of you.

Almost every dog  ( and owner) figures it out – just give it some time, relax, be patient.

Remember, its only pee ….. 

and you pooped in your pants for 3 years ….


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