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What to do when bringing a shelter dog home.

If you have adopted a shelter dog recently: Congratulations! You have opened your home to an animal that had lost theirs; I personally think they usually sense your kindness and are forever grateful.

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But shelter dogs may need a little extra patience adjusting to you and their new home, given what they have been through. And you may know little about their background or past experiences. Robin Edwards, a dog trainer from Weston helps pet parents through her Bark Busters business, wrote in to offer these suggestions:

* Hold a family meeting to discuss how the dog will be cared for and what he will be allowed to do in the house. Can he sleep on the bed and couch? Who will walk him? Be consistent or the dog will become confused.

* Dogs like a “den,” where they can sleep and get away from the commotion, so set up a roomy crate for him in the house. But limit the amount of time he spends in it.

* Get everything in advance for your dog before the big move: ID tags and collar, leash, feeding bowls, toys, grooming tools, a crate and bedding.

* Bring your dog home on a weekend or when you will be home for several days. But before he steps through your door for the first time, give him a long walk to tire him out a little.

* Make sure your dog sees a veterinarian within a week after his adoption for a health checkup.

* Limit visitors for the first few days, while your dog adjusts to his new family. And when you do have guests, tell them they can help train your pooch by ignoring him when they first arrive until he calms down.

* Dogs need a pack leader, or they’ll try to become the leader themselves. That leader should be you, and the humans in your home over age 12. Learn obedience skills and your dog will see you as the leader – and be happier, and better behaved, for it.


Here’s more from the Humane Society of the United States on easing your shelter dog’s transition to his new home.

Rescue. Raise. Love!

PS: Want to see if your pup's behavior makes the grade? Take this Bark Buster quiz and find out if he's an A student or in danger of flunking out.

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Comments (1)

So many questions come up when you adopt a dog - especially rescued dogs whose background you may know little or nothing about. Kudos to anyone who adopts rather than buys. These are special animals with so much love to give.

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