Adopting a Dog Getting Off on the Right Foot with Your Shelter Dog

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Adopting a Dog Getting Off on the Right Foot with Your Shelter Dog

by Rena Murray

You took your time in adopting your shelter dog. Your heart went out to many of the rescued dogs, but you were careful to evaluate the subtle (and not so subtle) signals of each prospect's dog body language. Now it is up to you to create the perfect pet and to avoid unnecessary bad dog behavior. You must establish your authority as the rescued dog's new pack leader and bring him home right! It's all up to you now.

When you take the dog home, you want her well exercised. It is a lot easier to teach a tired dog new rules, especially the first day. She needs to see that you are the pack leader right away. Give her a final cool down walk for a few minutes before you take her inside, and make sure she has been able to relieve herself.

Inside the house, decide in advance which areas are off limits for her. Correct her by removing her from an off-limit area by the scruff of the neck, making her submit (sit or lie down) and surrender (turn away). Instinctively, she understands what you are doing.

If this seems a little harsh, let us think in dog terms for a minute. A new dog is taught the rules by the pack, and is frequently corrected by a mouth on the neck. Insecure dogs or unstable dogs need good pack leaders.

A good pack leader invites a newcomer into the pack. He scent marks the newcomer by releasing the fluid from the gland at the top of his tail, and sometimes lays him down and grooms him to remove any trace of the scent of his former pack. If you have other dogs, it is a good idea to wash the newcomer, then wipe him down with a towel that has the scent of the others so he smells like one of the pack.

It is really best not to feed the dog the first day you bring him home. It is easier for him to acclimate, to relax. Should he get nervous, he is much less likely to throw up all over the place. Give him a good workout the next morning and cool down time, then feed him. Make that his daily routine: work then food. (This is especially important if you have other dogs. Never introduce food the first day if you have other dogs. They need at least twelve hours to acclimate to each other before food enters the equation.)

For the next few days, the new member learns the laws of the pack. The Alpha male is a little rough on him as a matter of fact. The newcomer expects you, as his pack leader, to tell him what to do. If you have other dogs and do not take control, you will have dog fights. If you do not have other dogs, the newcomer will still be insecure without your direction.

Remember that dogs do not have their feelings hurt when you give them and enforce boundaries. If you do not establish boundaries, they have frustration and anger because they do not know what to do.

Naturally, you want to love on your new pet. However, give affection to your rescued dog only when he is respecting you. Do not pet him when he is doing a behavior that drives you bananas! Even those cute little nudges and whimpers will not be so cute when they become repetitive and demanding, so do NOT reinforce them. You would regret it.

After about ten to fourteen days, your rescued dog will be one of the family, fully one of the pack. You can have an awesome dog, or a dog that is your worst nightmare. If you chose wisely when adopting a dog, then the rest depends on you? So adopt a dog wisely, and bring that special rescued dog home right!

GET HELP from Rena Murray at the Dog Obedience Training website. Proven Dog Behavior Modification Expert-Dog Obedience Trainer-Platinum Expert Author, Rena debunks Dog Training Myths in hands-on Articles, free "Best Ezines" newsletter - PAW PERSUASION POINTERS, and blatant Blog to help you better understand, communicate with, control and enjoy your dogs. Rena boldly addresses all your Dog Training and Dog Rehabilitation needs - whether puppy house training, destructive dog behavior, obsessive dog behavior, dog instinctive behavior, or cool dog tricks. Get your FREE Newsletter Subscription at where you also find Dog Products, Dog Houses and Crates, Dog Lover Gifts, and all things dog-related. Need more help? Contact Rena for Coaching .

Return to Index


Cannot find it here? Search the internet with the power of Google: