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Caring For Your Adopted Dog
Essential Care Items
Food & Water
Collar & Leash
Brushes & Nail Trimmers
Kennel or Crate for Potty Training and Travel
Special Care - Dogs that are adopted from shelters or rescue organizations may suffer from some form of behavioral problem due to the stress of these situations. Some of these behavioral problems include separation anxiety, barking, digging, chewing, and inappropriate elimination. With lots of love, patience and training most dogs can overcome these problems. Please see below for the tip sheets on how to correct these behavioral problems.
– Adoptive dogs may have trouble transferring to a new food at first and may
experience bouts with diarrhea. Be
sure to find out what food your pet has been fed in the shelter.
Mix the shelter food with the food you plan to feed for about one week to
help your pet's digestive system adjust to the change.
Feed your dog the best quality food you can afford. Poorly balanced diets can
result in obesity and a shortened life span. High quality food is more easily
digestible. Therefore, you use less and it also helps to decrease the
amount of times your pet goes to the bathroom. Young dogs should be feed a
growth formula until they are at least a year old. Growth formulas have more
protein than the maintenance formulas, essential for growing puppies.
Mature dogs should be fed a maintenance formula to maintain a healthy
Young puppies should be feed three times per day until they are at least six
months old and then feed twice daily thereafter. Vitamins are great for
growing puppies and adult dogs.
They are a good way to treat your dog instead of giving table scraps. Your
always have access to clean, fresh water.
– Grooming is a great way to bond with your adoptive dog.
Your dog should be brushed frequently (at least once daily). This helps
distribute the oils in your dog's skin making his coat shiny and healthy.
Bathing should be done as needed with a mild dog (baby shampoo works great!).
Your pet's nails should be trimmed monthly, taking just the sharp tips off. Be
careful not to trim to short or bleeding will occur. If this happens, apply
pressure to the nail tip until bleeding stops.
- There are many types of collars on the market, making decisions difficult. We
do not recommend training collars. They can injure your dog unless you are
properly trained to use them. A collar is necessary to identify your pet
with tags and for walking on a leash. Therefore, a simple nylon or leather
collar is sufficient. A collar should be no tighter than to allow two fingers
between neck and collar. If you need more control for walking your dog, we
recommend a harness style collar. This prevents choking and gives you better
control of your dog's body.
Dog/Crate Introduction: Start
by playing games and leaving treats allowing him to enter but not shutting the
door. When he is comfortable, shut the door for short intervals and do not
leave the crate, always taking softly and calmly. Eventually work up to
longer periods of time with you leaving the room.
Dog/Crate Introduction: Start by playing games and leaving treats allowing him to enter but not shutting the door. When he is comfortable, shut the door for short intervals and do not leave the crate, always taking softly and calmly. Eventually work up to longer periods of time with you leaving the room.
Crate for Chewing,
Crate for Anxiety,
Crate for Chewing,
Crate for Anxiety,teach your dog that he will be safe in the crate. Start by playing games and leaving treats allowing him to enter but not shutting the door. When he is comfortable, shut the door for short intervals and do not leave the crate, always taking softly and calmly. Eventually work up to longer periods of time with you leaving the room.
Check out this video for more information:
- Toys allow your dog to exercise, play and entertain itself. Use a
“toy box” to hold you dogs toys and allow your dog to play with the toys on
special occasions such as play time, when you leave the house, etc.
This teaches your dog that he gets a special treat when you leave, toys
are for playing (not shoes) and that you are the controller of the toys (boss).
You will find that your dog has more interest in his toys when he doesn’t
have constant access to them.
Puppies like children go through a teething stage where they loose their baby
teeth and get their adult teeth. The chewing stage will get better after
six months but can last until they are over a year old. Be sure that
you provide a chew toy such as rawhide bones and hard rubber teethers during the
teething stage. A rope toy soaked
in chicken broth and then frozen makes a great treat for sore gums!
A dog that
barks continuously and for prolonged periods of time has a behavioral problem
that can be corrected with time and patience. Generally, barking problems
start from loneliness and can become an obsessive condition. When barking
develops into an obsession, the barking is harder to stop because it has become
a way for the dog to soothe itself. Dogs that are prone to obsessive
barking are also experiencing separation anxiety.
step towards stopping barking is to understand separation anxiety. Dogs
that have been in shelters or abused are more apt to suffer from separation
anxiety or a fear of being left alone.
Obviously, our dogs would like to be around us all day, therefore, when we are
gone for prolonged periods of time, they get lonely and can develop bad
behaviors. To combat separation anxiety do not make a big deal about
leaving or arriving home. This means no excited hellos or goodbyes.
Ignore your dog for about 5-10 minutes before leaving or arriving.
Prolonged goodbyes only signal the dog that you are leaving and heightens their
anxiety. Below is a link with more information about
separation anxiety associated with barking.
step is to break the cycle of obsessive barking and soothing. Get a soda
can, fill it with some rocks or pennies. Plan a training session by
letting your dog know you are leaving. Sneak back into the
house and stay hidden. When your dog starts the barking, shake the can
vigorously to distract him. Distract him every time he barks, until you
are ready to "return" (return when not barking). You can even have a
neighbor participate with another can, or noise maker. When you are
home, use the terms "no bark" when training. Give this command when
leaving the house. Leave for short periods at first, slowly
extending the time away. Try leaving a radio on or tape with
soothing sounds of your voice.
The third step is to keep your dog occupied when you are gone for long periods of time. Give them something to do when you leave such as a special toy and special treats that are only given when you leave. Treats should be something that occupies their time. Try a game such as hide-n-seek with toys and treats or have a surprise visit scheduled from a neighbor or friend (a walk) to break-up the day. Exercise is also a great way to keep your dog from barking. A tired dog is a sleepy dog. Go for an extended walk or run prior to leaving the house.
Watch this video on barking tips:
Dogs dig for coolness, boredom, anxiety and smells. If your
dog only digs during the hot months of summer, try supplying a shaded area or a
child sized pool to cool off in. Try making sure there are no odors
attracting your dog such as animal odors (gophers, cat feces, etc.) or gas
lines. To deter your dog from a favorite spot, you can purchase dog
and cat repellent spray at your local pet store.
We have also heard of putting dog poop in the favorite hole.
Exercise is a great deterrent because a tired dog does not have the energy to
dig holes. If you would like to try distracting your dog from bad
behavior, shake a soda can filled with rocks to get his attention and then
redirect his attention elsewhere.
have a breed that is a natural digger, try building a sandbox or mudbox for
playtime! Hide various treasures such as bones, chew toys, balls, and
treats. Be sure to use a specific word for the approved digging box such
This creates an "approved" digging spot for your dog and keeps him
challenged and exercised. This
can also help dogs with "separation anxiety" problems giving your pet something
to do when you are not available. Be sure to monitor his digging so he is
aware that this is the acceptable play area and not to dig in some other place
in the yard.
New Pet Introductions
introducing a new pet, slowly make the introductions through a door, kennel,
Let the new pet sleep or play in the other pets sleeping area (when they
are not around) prior to bringing them together. Another good idea is to
let the new pet play or sleep on some of your dirty clothes to make the new pet
smell like you. This will help the established pets understand the new pet
is part of the family. Dogs are pack animals and if you are the leader and
make it clear that they are not to harm the new pet, they will understand and
respect your rules. This means when introducing them, you hold the new pet
and set the rules about when they can come over to visit and for how long.
Try making them sit and stay far enough away to see and smell each other and
then ask them to come when you are ready. Be in control of their play by
making them back off when play becomes rough or excited.
Keep pets separated whenever they are not closely supervised for about
Remember the best place to find a great mutt is at your local shelter.
Enjoy your new friend and thank you for adopting a shelter dog in need!