The Dog Adoption Network

Adopt a dog, and give them a second chance...
The definitive online resource for information about dog adoption

paw print I’ve Adopted A Dog, Now What?

dog rescueNow that you have adopted a dog you are probably wondering what’s next. It is important to know that the first months in a new home are crucial for any dog. During this time, its development and behavioral patterns are determined. Hence this is the perfect time to establish rules, boundaries and limitations you expect of your new pet. You will be teaching your dog the basic commands such as sit, stay, and down, along with many others. Most importantly you will teach them about their roll in the household and let it know that you are the “pack leader”.

Instead of spoiling your new adopted dog with tons of toys, hugs and attention, give the dog the time to settle in to your home. A great way to do this is by going for a 30 minute walk/run around the neighborhood before going in to the house. This will help your dog to release energy and to be calm. Once you get home keep him or her leashed until the whole family has been introduced to the dog. Do this by letting him/her smell each member of the family without them rushing up to the dog to pet him/her or give him/her any kind of affection. This will come later. Introduce each family member to the dog one at a time. It’s very important for the dog to approach the person first and not the other way around. The reason for this is because the dog doesn’t know you, and if he doesn’t feel comfortable enough he might react negatively.

Once you’re done introducing the family members, lead the dog through the house with the leash. Don’t let him or her roam around the home because you are not letting the dog claim this as his or her territory. Giving them too much freedom at this time may cause problems later when the dog, for example, claims a certain space (such as a couch) as his or her territory and won’t let anybody near. Show him your home room by room; by doing this you’re letting the dog know that this is YOUR territory and he must respect it.

Another aspect every dog owner should know before adopting a dog is that in order to keep your dog healthy and happy they need to get plenty of daily exercise, food and water. By exercise I don’t mean running back and forth in the back yard, but daily walks that last no less than 20 minutes. Exercise is the key for success for a healthy dog. When you exercise your dog releases energy. If you don’t exercise your dog, energy accumulates and it creates obsessions and anxieties in your dog.

Another great way to get your family involved and become responsible dog owners, is to get them involved in grooming and bathing which is very important to keep a dog healthy and looking good. Bathing should be done every other week depending on the dog’s fur and how often it gets dirty. You can bathe at home or at a grooming place, but either way there is no excuse not to.

Finally, when you take home your new dog from the shelter don’t forget to get it’s history. This includes if it has had a past of neglect or abuse from previous owners or if he or she has any traumas, or obsessions. If you feel that you need more help to understand you’re dog’s behavior visit Dog Pro or contact the adoption center where you originally adopted the dog.