Before You Adopt: 12 Rules to Live By.
You have expectations of your new dog. We have expectations of you. Before you adopt a dog from us, or really anyone, consider all of the following before plunging in to adopt that adorable puppy.
1. Adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment…
… and depending on the age of the dog you adopt, that may be fifteen years. Consider carefully if you are really prepared to care for a dog for the next decade. There will be changes in your life and lifestyle over the lifetime of the dog. Younger people may marry and have kids. Can you handle a dog when you have a two-year old? If your answer is yes, are you prepared to keep the dog and then have the dog and the child separated if there’s an issue down the line? You can’t give away kids and dogs always lose. Jobs change, people move and new people will be added and subtracted from your life. If you can’t say in all honesty you will be there for the dog, then don’t adopt a dog.
2. READ THE ADOPTION SURVIVAL GUIDE.
The “New Dog Survival Guide” is there to help you and your new dog be successful.
3. Use a Crate.
We crate train our dogs unless you are told otherwise and we suggest you continue to crate your new dog until he or she earns inside privileges. Crates are not cruel. Crates keep curious puppies safe and insecure dogs more secure. Our links page has some great information on how to crate train your dog. Dogs must earn the privilege of freedom and this could take weeks, months or NEVER. For many dogs, their crate is their safety zone. Changes create anxiety for a dog and the arrival of the dog will be stressful for the new dog. Crates can help.
4. Let your dog decompress!
When you first get your new dog, you can expect him or her to out of sorts for a few days. Moving to a new home is stressful and your dog may be reserved when you get him or her. Your dog may pace or whine which are also normal signs of stress in a dog. This will stop once the dog settles in to the new routine. Your new dog may be thirsty and not hungry, so do not be surprised. Many dogs are anorexic when stressed and this too will pass. We recommend a high-quality, human-grade holistic food, but any quality food is fine. We do recommend that you avoid anything with corn or wheat as an ingredient as both are known allergens.
Your new dog may arrive really tired or wired and ready to play – every dog is different. Your dog is completely vetted unless we tell you differently and your dog should see the vet within a week to have a base line well-dog visit. If you have a puppy, you will likely need to see your vet to continue shots as are age appropriate and to follow up with more fecal exams. Puppies should never ever be on the ground in public places until they are past the risk for parvo and you need to talk to your coordinator and veterinarian about this for your puppy’s safety. Your dog’s medical records should be in the packet. We will let you know when the dog’s last flea treatment and heartworm preventative was given. We generally use and recommend Advantage Multi for heartworm prevention and Seresto collars for flea and tick prevention or Advantix monthly topical. The key to a successful transition is to let them ‘chill out’ for a few days. Remember that the dog is in a new place with new smells, new people and a whole new routine. This is scary for a dog. The dog will figure it out, but dogs like to watch and observe to learn the lay of the land.
Most Important Rule: Be patient and do not expect instant perfection.
5. Do not leave the dog outside without supervision.
Remember you adopted an “inside” dog and until they are comfortable and have bonded to you, they may try to dig out, climb the fence, or find some other way out. In most cases, this period varies from dog to dog but you need to be on your guard for at least a month or more.
6. Your new dog will dart out of an opened door.
Never open the door to an unfenced area if the dog is in the room and not crated or on leash. While obedience training is good, you can never, ever trust the dog not to bolt. Teach your children to never, ever open a door. Children are notorious for leaving doors ajar. Plan accordingly.
7. Never leave children unattended with any dog.
No matter how well behaved your child or the dog is, if you must leave the room, either the dog or the child goes with you. If a child bites someone at day care, he goes home with a note. If a dog bites someone, he goes to a 10-day quarantine and then a possible euthanasia. It’s that simple. Don’t put a dog in a situation where he could be at risk. The dog’s life is in your hands.
8. Your adopted dog needs to see a vet …
… within a week of coming home for a base line well visit. Puppies may need additional boosters; all dogs need heartworm preventative. We generally send dogs with a dose of either Advantix and Heartgard or Advantage Multi, but you will need a prescription from your vet.
9. ID your dog ASAP.
Your dog should have a dog tag with your name and number on it. Your dog is microchipped, but without that tag, the average person won’t be able to scan for the chip. Keep your contact information current with us and with the chip company. We are always your back up contact for emergencies and if the pet recovery company cannot locate you, they always call us and that is why it’s important that we are notified of any contact or address changes.
10. Dogs need training.
We work with them from the moment they come to us and you need to continue to work with them. If you experience a behavior issue, we want to hear from you. Most things are easy to address, but some need a trainer and you need to be prepared to hire one.
11. Dogs are expensive.
Really expensive. Monthly, dog food for a big dog will run between $75 and $150 depending on brand. We do not consider “Ol’ Roy, Beneful or Purina Dog Chow acceptable quality foods. Every month of the year, your dog will need heartworm and flea preventative. That runs about $35 a month on average. Annual vet visits are expensive. As the dog gets older, vet care gets more expensive. Consider your budget and decide if you can afford a dog before you get one.
12. What not to do when you bring your dog home:
- Do not feed your new dog around your existing dogs until you know what they will do.
- Don’t put out high value treats with your new dog and your existing dogs. This causes fights.
- Don’t leave out your kid’s toys or your other dog’s toys. This can cause fights and also lead to the untimely demise of your child’s favorite stuffed animal.
- Do not simply open the door on arrival and walk in with the new dog. Introductions are the key to survival.
- Do not expect that just because your existing dog likes other dogs that he or she will love the new one. I am still not sure I forgive my parents for my little sister.