of Blue Ridge, Georgia
What to expect after you bring home your new dog
Bringing a new pet into your home is a wonderful and exciting time for you and your family but just like bringing a new baby home there are adjustments that need to be made by everyone. Trainers have told us for years that a family bringing home their new dog should “not set themselves up for failure.” Don’t be surprised if it takes a few weeks for them to learn who is who in your pack and what the rules are. Have a fun time but this also means not challenging your new dog in the first few weeks when he doesn’t know you and when he is still uncertain about his new surroundings. Avoid situations that place undue stress on your new pet. Try to avoid cornering him in a closed space, allowing your children to play with his food while he’s eating, taking him to a dog park where he may be confronted by dozens of strange dogs, or trimming his nails. Give him time to adjust to one new situation each day. Give him plenty of affection, but also give him plenty of room, and time to settle into his new routine.
“Don’t leave me!”
Your new dog may be a little needy or a little possessive of you in the first few weeks. Try to understand how your new dog feels. He or she suddenly finds themselves in a new environment, with strangers, and if they cling to the first person who is kind to them, it is understandable. This will lessen in time as your new dog feels more secure in his new home.
“Let’s go for a Walk”
Walk your dog on a leash inside your enclosed yard for the fist few weeks. Walk him until he feels comfortable and knows where he belongs, and you are certain he can’t jump your fence.
“I have to go potty”
Take him in and out through the same door to go to the bathroom and walk him to the place in the yard where you want him to go and praise him when he does. This will help your dog understand which door he should go to if he needs to go outside and where to go in the yard. Place signs on your door warning visitors to be careful not to let your new dog outside while not on a leash.
“Give that back to me, now!”
Avoid giving your new dog rawhide or bones in the first few weeks, especially true if there are other dogs in the family A dog coming out of a kennel, or a dog who may never have had a bone, may become possessive or protective of rawhide and may growl if you try to take it away from them. The same dog will be less likely to growl in a few months time after he knows you better, respects you and has learned to obey you. What seems like a simple special treat to us could end in a big argument between you and your dog.
“Not on the sofa fluffy”
After bringing your new dog home, do not allow him or her on your furniture. Some dogs will try to establish dominance in the first few weeks and they do that by trying to get physically higher than the members of your family by climbing up on sofas and beds and looking them in the eye or looking down at them. Dogs are pack animals and in the beginning your new dog must figure out his position in his new “pack.” You must help him understand that he is below your youngest child, below every member of your family, in your family’s pecking order. Not allowing him to control your furniture will help establish this order. If he does have a tendency to curl up on the sofa or your bed and growl when you try to remove him, leave a nylon leash on him so you can safely pull him off and a cookie in your hand to reward him once all four of his feet are back on the floor, then make him stay there. This behavior will quickly pass once he understands the rules.
“Geez, the 4th of July again…”
If you are adopting your new dog shortly before a holiday celebrated by the use of fireworks, then please make sure your dog is securely confined inside during the festivities. Every year shelters across the country are flooded with dogs after the Fourth of July. Dogs that were frightened by loud fireworks may jump their fences or break through screen windows and run away. The problem is compounded if the dog is new to his home and is already feeling uneasy.
“I have a belly ache”
It is never a good idea to switch your new dog’s food right away. An abrupt change could cause diarrhea and stomach upset. A little Pepto Bismal will help set things right.
What to expect after you bring home your new cat
A newly adopted cat may need a week or more to become acclimated to their new home. Adoptive families should understand that their new cat may hide or go off by themselves in the first few days, please do not take this personally, in most cases they will quickly come around and will soon become the perfect pet. But this process cannot be forced or rushed. Patience is the order of the day.
“Ah, a new home with my own litter box”
In the first few days, close your cat in a room with their new litter box so they understand where you want them to go. Ask us which litter your new cat is using at the shelter so you can purchase the same brand. If you would like to switch litter, mix it gradually. Be especially careful with kittens NOT to use clumping litter since it may cause intestinal blockage if digested.
Be sure that your new cat can get to his litter box without having to run past your dog (that he may not know all that well in the first few weeks and may not want to look at), a room full of company, or your other cats without fear of intimidation.
“I may run and I may hide”
Place a sign on your front door telling people to be careful not to let your new cat outside.
Close off or block heating and air conditioning ducts. Several years ago, MLAR placed three cats with a very nice woman living in a three-story townhouse. The cats climbed into her air conditioning ducts and we had to cut holes in her walls to get them out. A frightened cat will search for the smallest place to hide. Make sure grating and covers on all ducts and vents are secure.