You have just saved the life of a dog who will provide you with years of unconditional love and affection. Along with the rewards of pet ownership come certain responsibilities. You must give your pet a good home, lots of love and care, and the training to become a well-behaved companion.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE NEW ARRIVAL:
If you're adopting a puppy, know that he may be frightened when you first bring him home. The puppy was separated from his mom and placed in the shelter. Now he has been taken to a strange new place. Although everyone will want to meet and play with the puppy, keep the initial interactions to a minimum.
Expect your pup to actively explore and investigate everything he can get into. "Puppyproof" your house (place shoes in a closed closet, cords out of reach, clothes off the floor).
Your adopted adult dog may present you with some challenges. Unlike a puppy, an adult dog already comes with some habits, good and bad. You can never know what his life was like before, so take nothing for granted.
ADJUSTING TO YOUR FAMILY:
The ideal life for a dog is with a family. Dogs are pack animals who need relationships and rules to survive. Your family has become this dog's pack, and it is important for your do to know where he stands. He must listen and respect the word of everyone, even the children. All family members must know the rules and commands for the dog and practice them consistently.
Patience and Praise are key in house training your puppy or dog. DO NOT hit or scream at your dog. He will learn better from love than from fear.
Until a new puppy is house trained, confine him to a small area, like a kitchen. Make this your puppy's domain until he is reliably house trained.
Even an adult dog that is housebroken can forget his training after an extended shelter stay. A dog kept in a cage must eliminate there, no matter how well it was trained not to. Confine your new adult dog to a small area just as you would a new puppy, until he is reliable.
If your puppy or dog sniffs the floor excessively or circles a certain area, he probably has to go out! Take him outside immediately.
Lead him to a designated area outside, and do not, distract him while he sniffs around and eliminates. Praise him when he does his "duty."
Set up a regular schedule for feeding your dog so you can determine when he will need to eliminate. Younger puppies are usually fed three times a day, and older puppies and adult dogs twice a day.
Establish a routine of going outside: First thing in the morning, when you get home from work or school, approximately one hour after you dog eats, just before bedtime, and following vigorous play or exercise. Very young puppies may need to be taken outside as often as every two hours.
If you see your dog in the act of eliminating in the house, say "NO" and quickly take him outside: DO NOT RUB HIS NOSE IN HIS MESS! This is degrading and inhumane and is not effective. Do not reprimand your dog if you did not catch him in the act. He will only associate the punishment with you, not with the act.
PAPER TRAINING FOR PUPPIES:
Puppies that must be left alone for extended periods of time may need to use the paper while you are away.
Keep the puppy in a confined area and place the newspapers away from his food, water bowls and sleeping area. (Dogs are naturally clean animals who are averse to eliminating where they eat and sleep.) Begin with a large area of newspapers. As your puppy begins to eliminate on the papers, you can reduce the area.
When you come home, take your puppy outside immediately! Do not excite your puppy before you get it outside, or he may not be able to "hold it."
While you are home, take away the newspapers and take your puppy outside to eliminate.
Eventually your puppy will be able to "Hold It" while you are away, and then eliminate outside when you come home.
Even after house training, your dog or puppy may have an occasional accident in the house. Don't assume you just have a bad dog.
Ask yourself these questions:
You wouldn't bring a new baby home from the hospital and just "let it loose" in the house without supervision, would you?!!! Just like a baby, your new puppy or dog will need to learn good doggy manners. Teach your new puppy or dog what is acceptable behavior in your house.
Obedience training is a fun way to spend quality time with your dog. There are many good books and videos on obedience training, but it is also recommended that you and your dog attend a class. A couple of good ones in Tulsa are:
K9 Manners and More 451-8446 Puppy Pals 371-MY K9
Dogs can't be happy and healthy all by themselves -- they need your help.
Help your dog stay in shape with regular exercise, such as walks and playing fetch.
Brush your dog regularly - A daily brushing will help keep your dog's skin healthy and give him a more lustrous coat. It loosens dirt and dead hair and keeps your pet cleaner between baths.
Choose an area for your pets "bed" - Use a crate, or put down a pet bed, a pad, a rug, or blankets. This will be his own special place.
Take your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups and vaccinations.
Get an adjustable collar for a puppy. Check it frequently and adjust it as your puppy grows.
Set your adult dog's collar so it is not too tight (or too loose). You should be able to get 2 fingers between the collar and the dog's neck.
Get your dog and identification tag that has the dog's name and your phone number on it.
Register you pet with the city.
Here are some important safety tips to remember to keep your pet safe:
Never leave your pet unattended inside a car -- ESPECIALLY in hot weather. A car (even with the windows open), can heat up like an oven in a matter of minutes. Hundreds of animals die in unattended cars every year.
Some plants are poisonous to your pet (check here for a complete list). Identify toxic plants and make them inaccessible to your pet.
Chocolate can be a POISON!!! Do not feed your dog any amount of chocolate.
Bones can be DANGEROUS to a dog, especially soft bones that splinter easily. Bones can lodge in the dog's throat or stomach and cause fatal punctures. Give your dog rawhide and nylon bones to chew.
Do not transport your dog in the back of a pickup truck! Hundreds of dogs are killed or injured each year from falling out of the back of a moving pickup truck! Even if kept in a carrier, the dog is not protected from extremes of weather.
Keep your pet in a yard with a secure fence, not by chaining or tying him up. A chain or rope can injure the dog, and a chained dog cannot protect itself from other animals that stray into your yard. Chaining also creates frustration in your dog that can lead to behavior problems like excessive barking.
Provide shelter for your outside dog. Protect him from extreme weather, such as hot sun, rain, and cold wind.
Make sure your dog has free access to water...inside the house and out.
Walk your dog on a leash. This is for his own safety and consideration of others.
Most of what owners define as "bad habits" (chewing, biting, digging, jumping, and barking) are natural activities for a dog. The idea is not necessarily to stop the behavior completely, but to direct the activity to an appropriate level.
Give your dog plenty of stimulation and interaction to prevent boredom and loneliness. Some dogs chew, bark, or dig to vent their energy and frustration.
Remove forbidden objects and replace with acceptable toys and treats for your dog to chew.
Confine your pet in a safe place, such as a crate, when you cannot supervise him.
Do not overly excite your dog so he won't jump up, bite, or bark excessively.
Divert your dog's attention with another activity, or have him sit and give you his attention.
If you dog continues to have bad habits, it is in practically every case YOUR OWN FAULT. That is good news, because you can correct your dog's bad behavior by improving your training methods. But remember...breaking your dog of habits formed is far more difficult than training him the right way the first time.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
The best place for a dog is in the midst of the family, in contact with the people he loves and needs. you have made an unwanted or homeless animal a chosen dog. Give your dog lots of love and treat him as a member of the family.