So, you just brought home a new dog! What should you expect?

The Rule of 3

The common milestones your new dog or puppy will go through will be the first 3 days after bringing your dog home from the shelter, then 3 weeks, then 3 months. If you’ve ever started a new job or moved to a new school, you should know this feeling. The feeling of being in an unfamiliar place, new surroundings, new people, new rules

You can expect that it will take your dog some time getting used to the new routines and adapt to his new environment. The ‘Rule of Three’ means that you can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, and three months.

At 3 days… The first 3 days are the initial “detox period” as the dog transitions from the shelter to your home. Your home is new and exciting, with more stimulating activity and space and freedom than a shelter can ever provide. It can be overwhelming for many dogs, especially those who have been in the shelter for weeks. Your new dog may sleep a lot in those first few days or – more likely – he may be so amped up on excitement that he is easily aroused and difficult to settle down. He will want to check out all the new smells and investigate his new digs. He won’t know what you expect from him, where to go potty, or whether he’s allowed on the furniture; he won’t know that your shoe is not actually a chew toy, or that the kitchen trash is not where he is supposed to find his dinner. These first few days require an immense amount of patience on your part. Take a deep breath and remember that your home is like Disneyland for a shelter dog. He will settle in to your routine if you give him time and patience. It won’t happen overnight, and he will probably still need to attend positive-reinforcement training classes to help him learn better manners, but take comfort in knowing that it gets better!

At 3 weeks… After 3 weeks, your dog is probably getting used to your comings and goings, learning the daily routine, and starting to figure out when the next meal is coming. He’ll learn that you walk at the same time every morning, and that he gets to go out for regular potty breaks. You’ll start to see more of his true personality and less of his initial response – whether that was fear, excitement, stress or a combination of all three. You will have narrowed down his behavior problems (if any) to the ones that are likely to remain unless you attend training classes or get help from a dog training professional. It won’t be completely smooth sailing, but the bumps in the road will be less frequent and less stressful.

At 3 months… At 3 months, most dogs know they are “home.” It’s a process to get there, but with patience and a sense of humor, the two of you can scale the mountain together and enjoy the journey toward a great relationship.

Puppy Socialization: Raising A Friendly, Well Balanced Dog

Do you want a dog who’s friendly and trustworthy around both people and other dogs? Of course you do! You might think all you need to do is adopt the right breed, and your job is done. But how you care for your canine–and socialization training in particular–plays a big role in how they respond to people and other pooches, especially if you’ve adopted a puppy.

There is a short period in a puppy’s development, from early puppyhood to three or four months of age, when their experiences have a big effect on their entire approach to life. So what happens if you do not socialize your puppy?

Puppies who are not socialized can grow up to be fearful of other dogs, people, and just about anyone and anything outside of their routine—and that fear can lead to aggression. Studies show that poor socialization is a major factor for dogs with aggressive tendencies.

Although puppyhood is the prime time for socialization, it is not the only time. Even a dog who had a thriving social life in their youth can become less friendly over time if they’re isolated during adulthood.

If your adult dog did not get enough socialization growing up, you may still improve their social skills; although, an adult’s personality is more fixed than a puppy’s.

You’ll have to move slowly and cautiously, and if you see signs of aggression or timidness, get help from a professional trainer or behaviorist right away.

How Can You Use Socialization to Raise A Friendly Dog?

If you are considering adopting a puppy, socialization should begin almost immediately after you bring them home.

Ask the shelter or rescue you adopted from for tips on how to start the process. You may also wish to get some recommendations for doggy daycare and obedience classes that will let your pup learn and meet with other people and dogs. These classes are also an excellent way for you to bond with your pup.

Here are a few tips for starting the socialization process with your puppy.

Puppies Should Learn from Mom

Interactions between moms and siblings teach young puppies a lot about getting along with other dogs. If you take your puppy away from their canine family too early, you may do permanent damage to their social skills. This is why puppies must stay with their mother until 8 weeks of age.

Meet New Dogs

Give your dog plenty of positive early experiences with other dogs.

Obedience classes, dog park romps, and playdates with your friends’ dogs will help your pup learn how to get along with other canines.

If you have shelter-in-place orders or the dog parks and canine classes near you have closed, consider fostering an older, more relaxed dog who has more experience. They may provide your puppy with some companionship, but always make sure the dogs meet first and get along.

For puppies, playing with other pups has another, even more important, benefit: it teaches them not to bite humans.

Meet New People

Give your dog plenty of happy experiences with all kinds of people.

If you can, have your dog meet big kids, little kids, running-skipping-yelling kids, tall men in boots, women in hats, and people of every shape, color, and size. If your dog gets regular exposure to humans of all types, especially in puppyhood, they are less likely to be fearful or aggressive.

Experts recommend throwing “puppy parties” to expose a young pup to lots of different people when they are learning how to behave around humans. You can also have your dog make friends with the mail carrier and your neighbors and take them to cafes or to work.

Again, if meeting new people is difficult or unsafe at this time, you may have to get creative. However, this may be a good time to introduce your pup to people wearing gloves and face masks.

It may be hard to socialize during a pandemic or any other situation where there are new dangers. But be responsible and keep up with social distancing when possible while still training your dog.

Make Your Dog A Part of The Family

Almost all dogs want to be a part of their “pack.” You and your family are that pack, so include your dog in as many activities as possible. I regularly take my two dogs with me to run errands. It gives them a chance to see the outside world, and then of course we stop for a puppacino at Starbucks!

It should go without saying, but let your dog live indoors. There are no good “outdoor” dogs. A dog who lives in the home with their human pack all around them will be more comfortable with people and the bustle of the household, and they will be much happier, too.

Expose Them to New Situations

Expose your dog to all kinds of noises and experiences. Skateboards, bicycles, lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, the garbage truck, thunder, fireworks, and the like can frighten a dog who is not used to them.

Nail trimming, being grabbed by the collar, getting touched on the rump or other potential “hot spots,” and having people around their food bowl will not get a warm response either.

The solution is to expose your dog to all these experiences, ideally during puppyhood.

If you have an adult dog, be sure to move slowly and keep the mood positive with food treats to reward them at each step. This works for puppies, too.

Teaching your pup to be dog- and people-friendly is possibly your most important job as a dog parent. It keeps people safe around your dog, and—since aggressive dogs often get put down—it keeps your dog safe around people.

Giving your pup regular exposure to dogs and all kinds of people, especially during puppyhood, results in a more confident, sociable dog.

Adopting Puppies During the Quarantine

Hi All, dog rescuer here.

I know a lot of you are running out and getting dogs now, because you are around…but please read articles below (and there are more) to prevent some issues that can actually help you out!

Socialization (does not mean playing with either dogs) should happen for a puppy between 8 weeks and 12 weeks old… the window starts to close then and is fully shut by about 18 weeks.

Separation anxiety can occur in some dogs because of genetics… or because situations change. Find a quiet place to crate or put dog for a few hours Completely away from family. They shouldn’t truly get used to fact that you and family are home all day every day when things go back to normal-THEY MAY FREAK.

Here are just a few links. Going forward, we will be sending these articles with every puppy adoption to hopefully cut down on the amount of dogs who will be returned once things go back to normal.

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/behavior/taking-measures-to-prevent-separation-anxiety-related-behaviors/

https://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/puppy-socialization-stop-fear-before-it-starts/

https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/getting-and-raising-a-puppy-during-covid-19

https://www.spiritdogtraining.com/socializingyourquarantinepuppy/

You and Your Dog. Surviving Coronavirus Together!

Let’s face it. Your dog doesn’t know anything about coronavirus or toilet paper shortages.   All your dog knows is suddenly you’re home more. And they think it’s time to play.

My dogs and I have averaged 35 miles this week walking around the neighborhood. It’s been nice seeing all of the neighbors out and about, but I can’t always walk the dogs that far. There is still work that needs to be done during the day, and bills to pay. So how do we make this extra time at home work while maintaining structure, routine, rules and boundaries with our dogs?

I urge everyone who suddenly has unlimited time with their best friend to take advantage of it, but also to be aware of the challenges this change presents. Here are some specific things to keep in mind.

  • Just being home with your dog is not enough. Your dog still needs quality time with you rather than just calmly being by your feet or at your side all day. Even though you are present more than usual, continue to go on walks (if you are not quarantined) and to engage in training and play sessions. Take breaks for your own sake and use them to play with or exercise your dog. Short training sessions can serve as breaks for both of you, and you can work on basic skills such as stay and heel or teach her tricks such as spin and crawl. Youtube has a lot of good videos to watch!
  • Take your dog for a walk before you start work. It is easier for your dog to behave well while you work if she has already had some exercise and some mental stimulation. Don’t shorten the regular morning walk she would take if you were leaving for the day just because you will be home. Even if you do take her out more often, a good first walk starts the day off right and makes it more likely that the day will go well for both of you.
  • If you can leave your dog alone for at least a little while a few times a week, that will help prevent shock when you do eventually go back to working at the office or getting out of your house more often. If you are quarantined, this is not an excuse to leave, but if you can head out for a bike ride or go on an errand from time to time, that will help keep your dog from becoming unable to cope with being left alone. It’s a skill worth maintaining.
  • Don’t let your dog demand your attention all day long. It can become a bad habit and will be a hassle later on. It’s easy to let this happen when you are so excited to be home with your dog all day. It’s fine to give your dog lots of love and attention, but don’t let her call all the shots or insist that you focus on her continuously.
  • Make sure your dog has something to do when you are not interacting with her. Lots of dogs sleep a lot when we are gone, but not all of them will nap as much with us right there. If that’s the case for your dog, chew toys or a stuffed Kong can prevent boredom which in turn can prevent undesirable behavior such as destructive chewing, whining, barking or pawing at you for attention. If your dog is good at entertaining herself with toys, make sure she has access to some of her favorites and perhaps offer her some new ones now.
  • Put a dog bed near where you work so your dog can be right next to you and as comfortable as possible. There’s something so cozy about being together even if you are each doing your own thing—working versus snoozing or chewing on something.
  • Don’t overdo the treats! It’s so tempting to give your dog lots of treats while you are spending so much time together, but an excess of food is not good for our dogs. Whether the extra food is given during training sessions or just because, be mindful of keeping your dog’s food intake in balance with her activity. It would be regrettable if your extra time together translated into extra pounds for your dog.
  • Create challenges for your dog to keep her life interesting and divert her attention from you a bit. Hiding kibble and a few small treats around the house and then sending your dog to find them is a great way to entertain your dog and to feed her in a way that keeps her mind more active than eating from a bowl.

Finally, remember to cherish this moment in which we are able to spend more time with our dogs. The reason we have the opportunity to do so is unfortunate, but that doesn’t mean we can’t treasure this unintended consequence of the global pandemic.