The first months after taking your new friend home are going to be a mix of joy and difficult learning experiences. If you have owned a dog in the past, the learning curve will not be as steep as someone who is new to owning a dog, but there are still many factors that differ between bred dogs and rescue dogs. In this post, I will cover 5 tips that will make the first 5 months of adoption a bit more stress-free.
#1- Learn any small cues or triggers
Most of the dogs in animal shelters were brought there because their previous situation was not optimal, and sometimes dogs in animal shelters were beaten or starved by their previous owners. In any case, it is important to look out for any triggers that your new friend may have, such as being afraid of certain objects or being afraid of being put in a cage at night. In those situations, try to slowly develop a trust between you and your dog and try to avoid those triggers.
#2- Establish set eating and bathroom times
It is crucial to establish a routine for meals, walks and going to the bathroom with your new dog. This will not only prevent going to the bathroom inside but also may prevent begging for food. Along with that, it is important to be wary of how often your dog tends to go to the bathroom, and base walks off of that. In terms of eating, 2 meals a day with snacks mixed in is recommended.
#3- Be diligent during training
Training after the adoption is going to be a long and tedious process, but a necessary one. When training your dog, utilize all the resources you can such as online posts (like this one) and in-person classes with a trainer. Also, when training your dog you must make sure to not give into begging or whining. Not giving an inch will show your dog that you are the master and what you say goes.
#4- Experiment with different food and treats
In order to develop the best possible relationship with your new canine friend, it is important to make sure they're happy and healthy with the food and treats that you give them. Be sure to ask friends or colleagues what they use for their dogs, and also experiment with different treats to see what your dog likes the best. Also, make sure to avoid foods and treats with an excessive amount of processed ingredients.
#5- Be patient and develop trust
The most important trait that needs to be developed between you and your rescue is trust. It will take a long time, and will require a lot of patience. However, once you develop trust you have accomplished the most difficult part of the adoption process. A trust between owner and pet is essential for a happy and healthy relationship, and a massive step-up from the dogs experience at the shelter.