After Adoption

Help your dog transition to his new food by using boiled white rice and boiled chicken breast or ground beef.  Prepare enough white rice and meat to last a  minimum of ten days.  Rice should be the primary ingredient. 

Example of daily feeding:

Day 1 – 100% boiled white rice and meat mixture

Day 2 – 90% boiled white rice and meat mixture with 10% kibble

Day 3 – 80% boiled white rice and meat mixture with 20% kibble

Day 4 – 70% boiled white rice and meat mixture with 30% kibble

…and so on.

It’s a good idea to warm up the rice and meat mixture before adding kibble.

Note: some dogs may need to transition more slowly.  

First 30 Minutes

KEEP THINGS QUIET AND CALM.  The moment you arrive home with your new dog, introduce him to the backyard first.  Head to the area of the yard that you would like to designate as the potty area.  Spend several minutes in this area until he goes potty or marks his territory.  Upon the act of doing his business, say a command such as “hurry up” or “go potty”.  A command should not be given prior to your dog knowing what it means.  Like all new training commands, the verbal command is said at the same time the dog is performing the act.  Eventually your dog will make the connection.  When that happens, you can fairly command your dog to perform. 

After your dog has relieved himself in the potty area, walk around the rest of the yard and give him plenty of time to sniff and take in the new scenery.  Try not to let him go potty or mark along the way.  End the backyard tour at the potty area for a final chance to eliminate before heading inside.  

Next, while your dog is still leashed, introduce him to the inside of your home starting with the first floor.  Walk him from room to room allowing just enough time to check things out.  To avoid an accident, be sure to keep moving forward.  Sniffing a new environment often stimulates an urge to urinate so once he has seen each room, immediately take him back outside to the designated potty area, giving him the opportunity to eliminate.  Repeat this process with the second floor.  

(Helpful hint: use the backdoor for potty training/breaks and use the front door to go for walks or rides in the car.) 

First Two Weeks

Feed your dog a minimum of two times a day.  Be sure he has access to water 24/7.  Always use the back door to go out to the designated backyard potty area and exit thru another door when taking him for a walk or a ride in the car.  Your dog will eventually distinguish the difference between the two exit areas; one is for potty breaks and the other is for pleasure.  Keep walks brief and close to home.  

Determine where you want your dog to sleep.  Be considerate of the fact that your dog has often shared sleeping time and space in the company of other dogs.   Therefore, a room with another dog or a person is recommended.

Umbilical cord training is a constant supervision based method where you have your new dog permanently attached to you by a 6’ leash and a martingale collar or a no-pull harness.  This method offers a lot of benefits such as:

– housebreaking; potty training

– teaches your dog to follow you, rather than you follow the dog

– gets your dog used to a leash and collar in a low-distraction environment

– creates awareness and attention; calmness; self-discipline and impulse control

Most importantly, this method develops a bond by allowing you to discretely become the alpha or pack leader.  In addition, focus on communicating with your dog by using non-verbal queues such as making gentle eye contact, avoiding a staring contest, and body language; hand feed treats, kneel or sit on the floor along side your dog, keep hands and arms at your side and below your dog’s head, and give pets on his lower neck or chest. Turn your back on attention seeking behaviors such as jumping.  

The umbilical cord method is a safe way keep a close eye on your dog, however, it’s still a good idea to dog proof your house; no wires, shoes, small ingestible items, etc.  

Lastly, determine your dog’s special place.  This should be a safe, quiet place that he can call his own.  


Necessary Considerations

You’re about to remove your dog from a place that’s become familiar and take him somewhere entirely new.  The following are necessary considerations as you transition your new dog into his new life.  When you pick up your new dog, everyone must remain calm.  It can be tempting to greet your new dog with excitement, but this is not the time to do it.  The following are appropriate ways to smoothly help transition your dog to your home.  

  • Bring the dog straight home.  Do not make any stops on the way home.
  • No welcome-home parties.  Limit/discourage visitors for the first several days so that your new dog isn’t overwhelmed.  Accept the dog into your space and only give him a minimum amount of attention or affection.
  • Introduce your dog to your family members one at a time.  Keep it calm and low-key.  Let the dog be the one to approach, sniff and drive the interaction.  Offering a treat can help the dog to associate family members with good things (food!).  No hugging, kissing, picking up, staring at, or patting on the top of the head during the initial introduction as these things can be scary for some dogs.

Establish Daily Routines

  • Sleeping – The crate or bed should be in a part of the bedroom where he can see you. The area should be safe, dog-proofed, cozy and quiet.  Do not put your new dog in an uninhabited area.  
  • Feeding – Check with your vet about what the recommended food and amounts should be for your dog based on breed, size, age, activity level, and health.  Feed two meals per day rather than one large meal.  You may need to reduce the meal size to allow for treats during training.  Make sure the dogs food dish is in a safe, out of the way area.  A slow-feeder bowl is beneficial for proper digestion.  
  • Walks – Keep the walks short at first (5-10 minutes) until you get to know your new dog’s behavior and how it responds to different stimuli.  Keep to relatively quiet places.  Avoid interaction with other dogs and unfamiliar people until you and your dog are comfortable.
  • Chew Toys/Interactive Toys – Use of the crate and appropriate toys are great ways to keep your new dog out of trouble.  Management of your dog and the environment prevents problem behaviors. Chew toys are a great way to direct your dog’s attention to appropriate toys, and away from objects that you don’t want your dog to destroy.  Keeping the mood calm and relaxed, redirect any chewing or grabbing of personal objects with a “leave-it” and offer an appropriate toy.  With a new dog, avoid interactive toys as well as rough and tumble, wrestling, and chase games when playing with your dog.
  • Prevent separation anxiety – Use a crate and a treat-filled Kong in combination with leaving for short periods and coming back several times a day.  Don’t make a big fuss of coming or going.

Relationship Building

Patience – Have patience with your new dog’s behavior, level of training, and the time it takes to establish a bond with you.  Give your new dog time and space to adjust.  Commit time the first few days to get to know your dog’s habits and personality.  Establish a routine for the dog and balance interaction and down-time.  This is a period of trust-building, so don’t scare or yell at the dog or try to force close contact.  Watch your dog’s postures and expressions.  Learn to read him.  It may take several weeks for you to get to know your dog’s true nature.  And don’t forget, your new dog is trying to do the same with you!

Training – Physical and mental stimulation are necessary parts of your dog’s well-being.  Training helps your dog settle into a new home, teaches your dog how to fit in to a new family, and strengthens the relationship between you and the dog. Once your dog has settled in and you are familiar with your dog’s responses, take a positive reinforcement style training class (avoid dominance-based methods).  

Remember to manage your dog’s environment so that you set him up to succeed

Be proactive, not reactive.  In other words, prevent inappropriate behavior from happening, and then you won’t have to correct it.

3-3-3 Rule