Top 10 Dog Adoption Essentials

Dog Adoption Essentials

When we think of essentials, we usually think of the cutest collar, leash, and dog bed that matches our décor. Those things can wait! Let’s talk about how we can make adopting a dog as smooth as possible, none of which costs you much if anything.

The first 5 Dog Adoption Essentials were mentioned in the latest podcast.

You can listen to it here:

Here are tips 6-10!

Dog Adoption Tip - No company


It is exciting to adopt a new pup, and of course, you want to share it with all of your friends and family. Stick to sharing photos and videos online instead of inviting people to your home. Remember,  the rescue pup’s life has been turned upside down. The dog has come out of the shelter and into a new home with new people, which is stressful. Adding more strangers into the strange home can put any dog over the edge. Wait until the pup has had time to acclimate and has had time to get to know you and his/her new environment.

Give the pup time to know the neighborhood and where home is in relation to the neighborhood. You can do this through regular walks. Dogs have escaped out a door on the first weekend they arrived as company was entering the house. This is frightening because that pup has no idea where home is and doesn’t know you are their person. You haven’t established that yet! This situation can be avoided by just waiting a bit longer to have company visit. Paint social media with pictures of your pet, and it will be as if your friends and family have met him/her already. Waiting will set you and your new pup up for success!

Dog Adoption Tip - Stay Home

#7 Stay Home

You may have been looking for a new pup for ages or adopted on a whim. Either way, stay home for the first few days AT LEAST! Many pups are returned after a weekend because they snapped at a person at a friend’s BBQ. They are not ready to face the whole world and your friendship circles until they have acclimated to their new environment, your home. Going to a friend’s BBQ is way, WAY too much for one pup to handle right out of the shelter. They do not know you, your home, much less another new home and more new people.

That is what is called trigger stacking. You are stacking too many stressful things on top of one another resulting in the pups getting so overwhelmed they will nip or hide. It is as if they are screaming out for some quiet time. This is NOT a dog problem; this is a human problem. Set your new loved one up for success by staying home the first few days, or better yet, for weeks. Let your pup come out of his/her shell and unwind without the pressure of the outside world. Stay indoors, watch Netflix, and cuddle to set your new pup up for success.

Dog Adoption Essential - Potty Train

#8 Reward The Potty

You should not assume a rescue pup is potty trained even if it is 2 years old. It is also unwise to assume the dog is potty trained even if the foster home said it is. Rather,  assume your new pup is not potty trained and reward for the potty outside. Put 5 treats in your pocket and take your new pup outside. Follow your pup around the yard. When your pup eliminates, say, “YES! GOOD POTTY!” and start feeding your pup one treat right after the next. You are reinforcing going outside to potty is a good thing.

Sometimes a change of environment can cause a setback and even promote marking if you had a dog previously. Getting a male wrap or diaper can be helpful if you notice marking (even from altered dogs). Typically, a dog will not want to mark in a diaper. You will be preventing the habit from forming and instead rewarding where it can mark and eliminate, outside! Teach it where you want it to potty, and it will avoid messes and frustration for all.

Dog Adoption Essesntial - Slow Intros

#9 Slow Intro To New Dogs

Introductions can be a source of tension. Make the best of it by taking it slow. If you are developing a relationship between the new dog and your existing dog(s), try taking them for walks together. Walk the dogs parallel to one another. Let them relax and sniff and enjoy each other company without the pressure of play. If you are by yourself, ask a friend to come over and handle the resident pup while you handle the new pup. It is a great way for your new pup to bond with both you and your resident pup. Remember, keep the pups walking parallel to one another. They can smell one another even if staying a few feet apart. By practicing slow intros, it keeps everybody safe and sound and allows for a gentler, successful integration into the home.

Dog Adoption - Bond will be Strong by Taking Classes

#10 Classes

Spending time with your pup, no matter what you are doing, is valuable. Have you ever wondered how homeless people have dogs off-leash, hanging out right next to them as they panhandle next to a freeway? Most likely, the homeless person did not train the pup, but what they do is spend all hours together. We have work and other things that prevent us from spending every minute with our pups.

Classes are a great way to spend time together. Classes are a great way to give your pup some skills, and with the time you spend together, you will create a lasting bond. Classes give you specific things to work on at home so you won’t wonder what to do together. Classes are also an appointment, built-in accountability, to ensure you are spending time doing an activity with one another. It’s like hiring a personal trainer at the gym to make sure you go.

I suggest spending three minutes, three times each day, practicing the skills you are learning together in class. Your new pup will be very well trained, which will encourage you to include your pup in more family activities. You will enjoy your new pup to the fullest, and your new pup will be happy.

Questions? I'm always here to help! Feel free to reach out anytime.

~ Stephanie

Reactive Rover Dog Training Class


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