COMMON FAQs AFTER ADOPTION
IMPORTANT: There are exceptions to every rule and these are our best guess suggestions for common problems. For any behavior problem, you should always consult your veterinarian first to rule out any medical problem that might be the A-cause.
Q- What should I expect in my two in the first couple of weeks.
Shelter dogs make incredible pets. They can be loyal, grateful, and generous with their affection. They can also have some special issues that make parenting them a little more complex than dogs with simpler origin stories. The key to being a successful rescue dog owner is understanding – and being compassionate to – these challenges. Here is a helpful article focusing on all they have gone through before arriving here and what to be aware of.
Q- What about food?
At NEW PAWSibilities we work with an organization called Rescue Bank, think food bank for pets. The food is donated by many manufacturers and so we don’t have just one food to tell you to purchase when you walk out with your bundle of joy. There’s a good chance that your dog is eating a combination of foods based on what’s been donated. As always, we do suggest doing your research, talking to your vet or a reputable pet food store, and buying in the smallest quantity to start. Once you find the right food you can buy a larger bag. Here are some sites to learn more about feeding your dog at different stages of their life.
Q- My dog won’t stop chewing on things in my house!
“Exercise Frustration” is a real term and a common reason for behavior issues. For the average healthy dog, try two thirty-minute walks a day. Let them stop and sniff along the way and they’ll be even more content with life.
Q- Why is my new dog acting differently now that I have her home?
A- There’s a saying in the dog rescue world: “Three days, three weeks, three months.”
3 DAYS: The first three days your dog is home she is usually just trying to cope with being in a new place (again). Who are these people? What am I doing here? What’s going to happen next? You probably won’t see her personality start to come out until around the fourth day home.
3 WEEKS: By the end of three weeks your dog has usually figured out she is going to be living with you. She probably understands who else lives there, when/where she eats, sleeps and goes potty, etc. She’s starting to settle in.
3 MONTHS: After three months she has usually blended into your routine and lifestyle. She’s become part of the family. Welcome home, new dog!
Q- Isn’t my dog house trained?
A- At NEWPaws most dogs and puppies spend their days in a playgroup and have access to a doggie door they can use to go potty outside. At your house, they need to learn where you want them to go potty and how to tell you they need to go.
Here’s a web page where you can learn how to house train your puppy.
Here’s a web page where you can learn to house train your adult dog.
We get a ton of questions about dogs and potty training. This site really breaks it down in one of the best ways I’ve ever seen. Even if your dog has lived in a home before it does take time to adjust your schedule and cues to his. This is a great resource!
Q- My new dog doesn’t get along with my old dog.
A- Even if it went well when they met at the rescue, now there might be toys and treats to squabble over and people paying lots of attention to the new dog. It might not be going so well at home.
Here’s a web page where you can learn to introduce your dog to a new dog.
Q- Can I change my dog’s name?
A- Yes. Teach the new name by saying the name and giving your dog a treat when she looks at you. If she ignores you try making a “kissy sound” (technical term) or patting your leg along with saying the name.
Q- My dog was fine and then she turned two and now she’s a maniac!
A- She’s probably out of the puppy stage and into adolescence. As in “teenager.” Full of energy. Out of control. She needs training and exercise. Find an obedience class. Give her more exercise. She needs you to help her become a well-behaved happy adult dog.
Q- My dog is misbehaving for no reason.
A- Always look for a medical problem first. Take your dog to the vet. (Because no amount of training is going to fix an ear infection, toothache, etc.) Once your dog’s been declared healthy, if the problem doesn’t disappear, find a certified trainer, behaviorist, or behavior consultant to help you figure out what’s going on.
The Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT) has a list of certified trainers and behaviorists. Use the list to find one nearby.
Q- My dog needs training but I can’t afford to hire a trainer.
A- Ideally, when your dog is having behavior issues you should get advice and training from a certified dog trainer, behaviorist or canine behavior consultant. Some of them can seem expensive, but usually, they are worth it. (One training session probably costs less than the shoes your dog just chewed up.) Plus getting professional help will hopefully get you a decade or more of joy living with a well-behaved dog.
If a private trainer/consultant just isn’t in the budget, try enrolling in a group obedience class. At the very least, try to educate yourself by reading or searching for advice online. Be careful to choose competent sources. We think one good place to start your search is the ASPCA’s pet care web page.
Here are a few more helpful training links.
Training and Behavior
Books We Love
- Love Has No Age Limit-Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home by P. McConnell and K. London
- Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor
- On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugass
- The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
- The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell
- The Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell