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Tips for the First 30 Days of Dog Adoption

The first few days in your home are special and critical for a pet. Your new dog will be confused about where he is and what to expect from you. Setting up some clear structure with your family for your dog will be paramount in making as smooth a transition as possible. Before You Bring Your Dog Home:
  • Determine where your dog will be spending most of his time. Because he will be under a lot of stress with the change of environment (from shelter or foster home to your house), he may forget any housebreaking (if any) he’s learned. Often a kitchen will work best for easy clean-up.
  • If you plan on crate training your dog, be sure to have a crate set-up and ready to go for when you bring your new dog home.
  • Dog-proof the area where your pooch will spend most of his time during the first few months. This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards; storing household chemicals on high shelves; removing plants, rugs, and breakables; setting up the crate, and installing baby gates.
  • Training your dog will start the first moment you have him. Take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use when giving your dog directions. This will help prevent confusion and help your dog learn his commands more quickly.
  • Bring an ID tag with your phone number on it with you when you pick up your dog so that he has an extra measure of safety for the ride home and the first few uneasy days. If he is microchipped, be sure to register your contact information with the chip’s company, if the rescue or shelter did not already do so.
First Day:
  • We know moving is stressful — and your new dog feels the same way! Give him time to acclimate to your home and family before introducing him to strangers. Make sure children know how to approach the dog without overwhelming him.
  • When you pick up your dog, remember to ask what and when he was fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part new food to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to half new food, half old, and then one part old to three parts new.
  • On the way home, your dog should be safely secured, preferably in a crate. Some dogs find car trips stressful, so having him in a safe place will make the trip home easier on him and you.
  • Once home, take him to his toileting area immediately and spend a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area and relieve himself. Even if your dog does relieve himself during this time, be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new home with new people, new smells and new sounds can throw even the most housebroken dog off-track, so be ready just in case.
  • If you plan on crate training your dog, leave the crate open so that he can go in whenever he feels like it in case he gets overwhelmed.
  • From there, start your schedule of feeding, toileting and play/exercise. From Day One, your dog will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Don’t give in and comfort him if he whines when left alone. Instead, give him attention for good behaviour, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly (Source: Preparing Your Home For A New Dog).
  • For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your dog, limiting too much excitement (such as the dog park or neighbourhood children). Not only will this allow your dog to settle in easier, it will give you more one-on-one time to get to know him and his likes/dislikes.
  • If he came from another home, objects like leashes, hands, rolled up newspapers and magazines, feet, chairs and sticks are just some of the pieces of “training equipment” that may have been used on this dog. Words like “come here” and “lie down” may bring forth a reaction other than the one you expect. Or maybe he led a sheltered life and was never socialized to children or sidewalk activity. This dog may be the product of a never-ending series of scrambled communications and unreal expectations that will require patience on your part.
Following Weeks:
  • People often say they don’t see their dog’s true personality until several weeks after adoption. Your dog may be a bit uneasy at first as he gets to know you. Be patient and understanding while also keeping to the schedule you intend to maintain for feeding, walks, etc. This schedule will show your dog what is expected of him as well as what he can expect from you.
  • After discussing it with your veterinarian to ensure your dog has all the necessary vaccines, you may wish to take your dog to group training classes or the dog park. Pay close attention to your dog’s body language to be sure he’s having a good time — and is not fearful or a dog park bully.
  • To have a long and happy life together with your dog, stick to the original schedule you created, ensuring your dog always has the food, potty time and attention he needs. You’ll be bonded in no time!
  • If you encounter behavior issues you are unfamiliar with, ask your veterinarian for a trainer recommendation. Select a trainer who uses positive-reinforcement techniques to help you and your dog overcome these behavior obstacles.
Congratulations! If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to having a well-adjusted canine family member.
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General Dog Care

BEHAVIOR All dogs are descended from their wild cousin, the wolf, and share many traits seen in wolves. Dogs, and puppies in particular, are denning creatures and feel more secure in small, snug areas with low roofs, thus the success of the training crate. Dogs are pack animals and do not enjoy being alone. Puppies who stay with their litters until eight weeks old easily will become members of human packs/families. Each pack needs a leader. Ideally all human family members should be ahead of the dog in the pack order. Your dog should not be the leader, as this can result in aggression or other dominance displays. Before You Bring Your Dog Home You will need food, water and food bowls, leash, collar, training crate, brush, comb and canine chew toys. Cleaning Up Keep your dog on a leash when you are outside, unless in a secured (fenced-in) area. If your dog defecates on a neighbor’s lawn, the sidewalk or any other public place, please clean it up. Feeding Puppies 8 to 12 weeks old need four meals a day. Puppies three to six months old need three meals a day. Puppies six months to one year need two meals a day. When your dog is one year old, one meal a day is usually enough. For some dogs (such as larger ones or those prone to bloat), it’s better to continue to feed two smaller meals. Premium-quality dry food provides a well-balanced diet and may be mixed with water, broth or some canned food. Your dog may enjoy cottage cheese, cooked egg, fruits and vegetables, but these additions should not total more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily food intake. Puppies should be fed a high-quality brand-name puppy food (avoid generic brands) two to four times a day. Please limit “people food,” however, because it can cause puppies to suffer vitamin and mineral imbalances, bone and teeth problems and may cause very picky eating habits, as well as obesity. Have clean, fresh water available at all times. Wash food and water dishes frequently. Exercise Every dog needs daily exercise for mental and physical stimulation. The proper amount depends on the breed type, age and health status of your dog. Providing enough exercise will improve your dog’s health and prevent household destruction and other behavior problems common in underexercised dogs. Grooming You can help keep your dog clean and reduce shedding by brushing her frequently. Check for fleas and ticks daily during warm weather. Most dogs don’t need to be bathed more than a few times a year. Before bathing, comb or cut out all mats from the coat. Carefully rinse all soap out of the coat, or dirt will stick to soap residue. Handling Small dogs, sometimes referred to as “lap dogs,” are the easiest to handle. The larger breeds, such as German Shepherd dogs, are usually too large to lift. If you want to carry a puppy or small dog, place one hand under the dog’s chest, with either your forearm or other hand supporting the hind legs and rump. Never attempt to lift or grab your puppy or small dog by the forelegs, tail or back of the neck. If you do have to lift a large dog, lift from the under-side, supporting his chest with one arm and his rear end with the other. Housing You will need to provide your pet with a warm, quiet place to rest away from all drafts and off of the floor. A training crate is ideal. You may wish to buy a dog bed, or make one out of a wooden box. Place a clean blanket or pillow inside the bed. Wash the dog’s bedding often. If your dog will be spending a great deal of time outdoors, you will need to provide her with shade and plenty of cool water in hot weather and a warm, dry, covered shelter when it’s cold. Licensing and Identification Follow your community’s licensing regulations. When you buy your license, be sure to attach it to your dog’s collar. A dog license, ID tag, implanted microchip or tattoo can help secure your dog’s return if he becomes lost. Training A well-behaved companion animal is a joy. But left untrained, your dog can cause nothing but trouble. Teaching your dog the basics”sit,” “stay,” “come,” “down,” “heel,” “off” and “leave it”will improve your relationship with both your dog and your neighbors. Start teaching puppies basic sit and stay commands. Use little bits of food as a lure and reward. Puppies can be enrolled in obedience courses when your veterinarian believes they are adequately vaccinated. Contact your local humane society or SPCA for training class recommendations. Start teaching your puppy manners NOW! HEALTH See a veterinarian if your dog is sick or injured. Take him for a full check-up, shots and a heartworm blood test every year. Dental Health Puppies replace their baby teeth with permanent teeth between four and seven months of age. Clean their teeth with a dog toothpaste or a baking-soda-and-water paste once or twice a week. Use a child’s soft toothbrush, a gauze pad or a piece of nylon pantyhose stretched over your finger. Some dogs develop periodontal disease, a pocket of infection between the tooth and the gum. This painful condition can result in tooth loss and is a source of infection for the rest of the body. Veterinarians can clean the teeth as a regular part of your dog’s health program. Fleas and Ticks Daily inspections of your dog for fleas and ticks during the warm seasons are important. Use a flea comb to find and remove fleas. There are several new methods of flea and tick control. Speak to your veterinarian about these and other options. Heartworm This parasite lives in the heart and is passed from dog to dog by mosquitoes. Heartworm infections can be fatal. Your dog should have a blood test for heartworm every spring, because it is important to detect infections from the previous year. A once-a-month pill given during mosquito season (which varies in different areas of the country) will protect your dog. If you travel south with your pet during the winter, your dog should be on the preventive medicine during the trip. In some warmer regions, veterinarians recommend preventive heartworm medication throughout the year Neutering Females should be spayed (ovaries and uterus removed) and males neutered (testicles removed) by six months of age. Spaying before maturity significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer, a common and frequently fatal disease of older female dogs. Spaying also eliminates the risk of pyometra (an infected uterus), a very serious problem in older females that requires surgery and intensive medical care. And spaying protects your female pet from having unwanted litters. Neutering males prevents testicular and prostate diseases, some hernias and certain types of aggression (which differ from protectiveness, which this surgery won’t affect). Medicines and Poisons
  • Consult a veterinarian about using any over-the-counter or prescription medication.
  • Do not give your dog chocolate.
  • Make sure your dog does not have access to rat poison or other rodenticides.
  • Call your veterinarian or The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA/APCC) for 24-hour animal poison information if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance. The numbers are: (888) 4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435), or (900) 680-0000. A consultation fee applies.
Vaccinations
  • Vaccines protect animals and people from specific viral and bacterial infections. They are not a treatment. If your pet gets sick because he is not properly vaccinated, the vaccination should be given after your companion animal recovers.
  • Puppies should be vaccinated with a combination vaccine (called a 5 in 1) at 2, 3 and 4 months of age and then once annually. This vaccine protects the puppy from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. A puppy’s vaccination program cannot be finished before four months of age. Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers and American Staffordshire terriers/pit bulls should be vaccinated until five months of age. If you have an unvaccinated dog older than four or five months, the dog needs a series of two vaccinations given two to three weeks apart, followed by a yearly vaccination. Do not walk your puppy or your unvaccinated dog outside or put her on the floor of an animal hospital until several days after her final vaccination.
  • Since laws vary around the country, contact a local veterinarian for information on rabies vaccination. In New York City, for example, the law requires all pets older than three months of age to be vaccinated for rabies. The first rabies vaccine must be followed by a vaccination a year later and then every three years.
  • Other vaccines for dogs are appropriate in certain situations. Your dog’s veterinarian can tell you about these vaccines.
Worms It is common for dogs, even in urban areas, to be exposed to worms and possible infestation. Microscopic eggs produced by intestinal worms in infected dogs and passed in their feces provide a source of infection for other dogs. There are several types of worms and a few microscopic parasites that commonly affect dogs. Because most of these cannot be seen in feces, a microscopic fecal evaluation is the only satisfactory way to have your puppy or dog checked for intestinal worms and other parasites. Most puppies, even from healthy mothers in good homes, carry roundworms or hookworms. All puppies should be dewormed by a veterinarian regardless of fecal evaluation. Additional Information:
  • The average life span of a dog varies from 8 to 16 years, depending on breed type, size, genetics and care.
  • For more information, search the dog care section on our web site: www.aspca.org
  • Write to ASPCA Animal Sciences at 424 East 92nd St., New York, NY 10128 for a list of free behavioral materials.
Recommended Reading:
  • “The ASPCA Complete Dog Care Manual”
  • “The ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs”
  • “The ASPCA Pet Care Guide for KidsPuppies”
  • “The ASPCA Dog Training Manual,” Dr. Bruce Fogle
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20 Questions to Ask Before You Foster A Dog

Fostering pets has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and is something I encourage everyone I know to do. But I’ve learned some big lessons along the way.

For the experience to turn out well for the foster parent and the rescue organization (and, most of all, the dog), it’s crucial that all parties communicate and be clear about their expectations and responsibilities. Here are some questions to ask the rescue group or shelter before you sign up to foster (the group will most likely have you fill out a foster-home application as well). Don’t be alarmed if the group doesn’t have answers to all the questions you ask. Each organization has its own procedures. Questions about the dog:
  1. How did he come to be with the shelter or rescue group and how long has he been there?
  2. Why does he need a foster home now?
  3. Does he have any medical concerns or need medication?
  4. Has he been neutered (or spayed, if the dog is female)? If not, when will he be?
  5. Is he up to date on his vaccinations and has he been tested for diseases such as heartworm?
  6. Since conditions such as kennel cough and upper respiratory infections cannot be tested for, how long should I keep him separated from my own pets?
  7. Does he have any behavioral issues or concerns? How are they dealt with?
  8. Do you know how he is with kids, cats, dogs and/or strangers? Can my children or pets meet him before I commit to fostering him?
  9. Do you know how he does when left alone? Is he crate trained?
  10. Is he housetrained?
Questions about the fostering process:
  1. How long will I be expected to foster this dog? If it’s until a suitable home is found, how long do you expect that to take?
  2. What happens if I can no longer care for the dog?
  3. Who pays for medical bills if they arise? Does that include treatments for my pets if they catch something from my foster dog?
  4. What should I do if there’s a medical emergency?
  5. Who is responsible for communicating with potential adopters, screening them and introducing the dog to them?
  6. Will I be required to bring him to adoption events and, if so, where/when?
  7. Will you provide food, litter, supplies (such as a leash or a litter box), medications, etc., or will I be expected to?
  8. If I have a problem, whom can I contact? If I leave a message, how quickly will that person get back to me?
  9. Could my foster dog be deemed unadoptable and, if so, what happens then?
  10. Can I adopt him if I choose?
Even the best-prepared foster parent should expect the unexpected. But it’s so worth it. Like Marge, the cat with cerebellar hypoplasia whom I planned to keep for two weeks as she recovered from an upper respiratory infection — but who stayed for four months when it became obvious that she wouldn’t do well in the shelter. Marge had to be isolated and needed daily physical therapy and enrichment work. She was one of my greatest challenges, but that just made it all the more rewarding when she found the perfect home, a devoted couple who continued her physical therapy. Last I heard, Marge is able to climb and descend stairs like a champ — something we never thought possible when she first came to the shelter.
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Preparing Your Home For A New Dog

Bringing home a new puppy is truly one of life’s joys. Thoughtful pre-puppy preparations and a well-planned first 24 hours can give your new best friend a head start and make your dreams of the perfect family dog come true. Before the Big Day

Once household discussions have established that everyone wants a dog of a certain age and breed, use globalpetsfinder.com to search available pets for adoption.   Also, take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use. If Mom says “down” when Puppers climbs on the couch, Dad says “down” when he wants him to lie down, and Junior utters “sit down” when he expects the pup’s rear to hit the floor, the result will be one confused dog! Putting the schedule and vocabulary list in writing prevents confusion and will help dog walkers, nannies, and others involved in raising Puppers. Next, draft a shopping list and purchase supplies: food and water bowls, chew toys, grooming supplies, bedding, collar and leash, identification tag, crate, gate, and odor neutralizer. Pre-puppy shopping allows you to order from wholesale catalogs or visit the pet superstore in the next county without the pressure of Puppers needing it right now. You’ll need to puppy-proof the area where the youngster will spend most of his time the first few months. This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards; storing household chemicals on high shelves; removing plants, rugs, and breakables; setting up the crate; and installing gates. Once you think you’ve completely puppy-proofed, lie on the floor and look around once more to get a puppy’s-eye view. If you have children, hold one last meeting to lay down the rules: Don’t overwhelm Pup the first day, and don’t fight over him or create mob scenes showing him to the neighborhood. Now you’re off to get Puppers. Getting Off on the Right Paw When you pick up your pup, remember to ask what and when he was fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part new brand to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to equal parts; and then one part old to three parts new. From the start, consistency is important. On the way home, Puppers should ride in the back seat, either in one person’s arms or, preferably, in a crate or carrier. Once home, folks who plop the excited newcomer on the Oriental and let the kids chase him will be mopping up in no time—and regretting the lesson they taught their new pup. Instead, take him to his toileting area immediately. From there, carry out your schedule for feeding, toileting, napping, and play/exercise. From Day One, your pup will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Solitude may be new to Puppers, so he may vocalize concern. Don’t give in and comfort him or you may create a monster. “Gee, if making noise brought them running once, maybe more whimpering is needed to get their attention again,” reasons the pup. Give him attention for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly. Doing things correctly from the start prevents confusion. Through puppy preparedness, you are one step closer to your Dream Dog.
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