FROM THE BEGINNING – Bringing Your New Furry Friend Home

You just pulled into your drive with your new rescue pup in the car…now, what to do?  Maybe it has been a few years since you brought a new dog into your home.  Or maybe the last dog you adopted acted like they had always been a part of the family and “just fit in” from the very beginning.  Or…maybe the last dog was a seasoned adult and this time, you have a puppy in the backseat (or vice versa).

In any case, we want to help you get off to a good start and give this new family member EVERY opportunity to excel from day one in your home.  Our series, “From the Beginning”, which starts with this issue will provide you with ideas, advice, recommendations and perhaps some new perspectives when it comes to adopting a dog.  It is our goal at LCAL, to place our dogs in homes where they can grow old with their new human family, so providing you with support from the beginning is important to us.  So let’s get started.

Our focus this issue is CHANGE.  Bringing a new pet into your home is exciting for all involved but it means CHANGE for everyone also.  Change for you as the human in the picture and change for your new dog.  You have hopefully already given thought to the changes this will bring to your routine and the new responsibilities you will assume.  How will I exercise my new dog?  When will we start working with our trainer?  Should I introduce my new dog to the neighbor’s dog and how?  Many questions to be answered as this change comes to your life.

But what about your new dog?  Have you thought about how this affects him?  He experienced a change not that long ago when he found himself picked up as a stray and never claimed or surrendered to the shelter.  As he started to settle into the routine there, he was pulled by a rescue (LCAL) and now there was a new routine to adopt.  Now, the best thing in the world has happened as you have chosen him to be the special one to come into your home…..but once again, more change. New people, new surroundings, new routines, new smells, new sights, new toys, new food – the list goes on and on.

So, what can we do to help make this transition easier for our new dog?  There are many things we can do and we will elaborate on many of them in upcoming issues but let’s start today with appropriate expectations and patience.  While dogs are very good learners, they don’t read minds.  They don’t know what you want from them until you show them and teach them.  Sometimes, the lesson you are teaching is one they have learned in the past and as a result, your new dog figures it out immediately.  But there will be other times where you will be teaching something very new and it will take your dog much longer to learn that new skill.  BE PATIENT!

Dogs are very adaptable and they are very good pattern learners.  If we can be consistent in demonstrating the behavior we want, they can learn it.  The challenge we face is to be patient while they learn and to lose any preconceived expectations.  So, as you look at that new life you have just brought into your home, remember all the changes he or she has gone through in the recent weeks.  Be patient, think ahead, drop the expectations, and enjoy the process of getting to know your new friend!!