Bringing Home A New Dog

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Start with a walk: If possible, it is always a good idea to take your newly-adopted friend on a walk before going into the house when possible. If you have another dog, it is recommended that you take them both for a walk, letting them get to know each other a little better. We do require that you bring your current dog to the initial meeting as the dogs should have an opportunity to meet on neutral ground. The walk should be enjoyable for both dogs.

If you have cats, keep the new dog on a leash and take him up to one cat at a time and let them sniff. Do not allow the new dog to try and dominate or bite the cat. You should be able to tell if there is aggression by the dog’s behavior. If they are overly excited you will need to take things slow, initially keeping the dog leashed up when the cat is walking around the house. If a Lucky Day dog has been with cats in a previous home, it does not mean he will do well with all cats.

Entering your house for the first time:  Take the new dog into the house on a leash and walk them through the areas in which they will be allowed in. Initially, It is not a good idea to allow them to freely roam the house. This might cause them to think they can do whatever they want and you could have a struggle correcting any resulting negative behavior.

Your yard:  Take the new dog into the yard and let them sniff around by themselves at first, then with the other dog. They will be able to tell so much about the dog/dogs already living there and this will help tremendously with the transition. Stay in the yard with them and monitor to make sure there are no possession issues or dominate behaviors. If all goes well, take everyone back into the house, keeping them on a leash. Watch for things like jealously, possessiveness over toys or beds or bones/food. Make sure that the new dog does not try to take over. Keep assuring your existing dog that they have not been replaced by petting him first and then at the same time as the new dog. Also, don’t make the new dog feel that he comes before the existing dog. Always stay the leader within the pack.

Dog toys:  Initially, pick up all the dog toys until the dogs have had a chance to get used to each other. Then, you can reintroduce the toys when you are comfortable with the interactions.

Crating:  For the first few days you may want to keep your new dog crated when you are not with them. This will keep both of you more relaxed until you have built up trust in each other.

Mealtime: When feeding your dogs, do not put their bowls right next to each other, but at different sides of the room. Remain with the dogs while they eat, then remove the bowls immediately after they have finished. If either dog starts to approach the other dog’s bowl, block the moving dog and redirect him back to his own bowl. If the dog continues to advance, pick up the new dog’s bowl and feed him in a crate or in a separate, closed-off room. You can also remove the aggressive dog, possibly into the bathroom for a time out, until the other dog is finished, then he can come out and eat.

Water:  Make sure you have extra water bowls around the house, so the dogs will not think they have to protect their water source.

It might take some time for the dogs to get used to each other during meal time or they might always have to be fed separately. It is natural to let the dogs work things out between them, just do not let it escalade into a fight. In the beginning, do not let the play get too rough or their energy to escalate. It is always a good idea to supervise them for the first 2-3 weeks before leaving them alone together. If there is a fight, use water to distract them and then pull them apart, a loud whistle or squirting them with a hose will also work. Never put your hands between them. If you encounter any problems, please feel free to contact us for additional assistance.

Praise and correcting: When they do what they are told, give them praise. When they do something wrong, is it crucial to correct them instantly. Often a short, loud sound such as “UUH” is enough.  Doing a correction one minute later will not make any sense to them.

Changing their name:  If you are interested in changing their name or feel like they might not know their name 100%, teach them their name by saying the name in close proximity with a happy voice, if the dog looks at you, say “good dog!” and give him or her lots of pets. The more frequently you do this, the more the dog will understand that when you say the name, you are looking for his or her attention and that good things, like treats or praise, will come from you when they respond to their name. Next, you can begin to gradually increase the distance from which you say the name and expect a response.

Teach them some new things frequently: ask your new dog for a sit or a down so they begin to learn to listen to you for direction. Have other family members do the same.

If you keep your dog working or playing, they will be easier to manage and they will welcome your commands. Larger dogs require at least 45 minutes of exercise daily.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Lucky Day Animal Rescue of Colorado

mail PO Box 8856
Aspen, CO 81612
phone 970.379.4606
email info@luckydayrescue.org