Acclimating Your Rescue Dog

Dog lover tips for your newly rescued dog
Dog lover tips for your newly rescued dog

Opening your home to a rescue dog is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a dog. Whether it’s a puppy or a senior dog, providing a home for them is not only great for them, but it has an awesome effect on the owners.

However, now that they’re in their new home, how are they going to act? The one characteristic about rescue dogs is that you seldom know their history. While kennels and shelters do their best to investigate your pup’s history (medical, housing, previous lifestyle), they aren’t always accurate. In fact, dogs that live in shelters or kennels for long periods of time will often develop different habits that you might not be familiar with. They may have been potty trained, but probably haven’t had the opportunity to practice it.

Old habits die hard

One of the most serious issues with a rescue dog is that they may be hyperactive when you interact with them and they won’t quite be able to settle back down like most dogs would. It could be because they’re just happy to be free and have a home, but the condition often resonates long after they’ve moved in with you.

Additionally, their new environment may cause them stress. Many shelter dogs have accommodated themselves to living within a small area. Consider making them comfortable by surrounding them with something familiar and then gradually introducing them into a larger home. One of the most effective methods is the crate, and while it might seem contradictory to getting them out of the shelter, it does provide them with a place that is familiar while they are adjusting to their new home.

Another situation is the potty issue. Keep in mind that dog shelters aren’t focused on training and working with a dog, especially in this department. Many dogs will potty in their own housings (contrary to their own instincts), which can quickly and unexpectedly become a difficult habit to break. Be cautious about letting your recently rescued dog navigate your home unattended. If you aren’t with them, it’s best to keep them isolated in a certain location, such as a crate or their own room (make sure they can’t jump over doggy gates).

Comfort

Comfort is a big thing for a dog. [tweet this]

While we laugh because they can sleep just about anywhere (and in the strangest positions), dogs are often just looking for what makes them comfortable. The question is: where are they going to eat and sleep? Many shelter dogs are going to be accustomed to eating in the same spot where they sleep, and change can confuse them quickly. It may be necessary to start feeding them close to their crate or sleeping area, then gradually moving their food back to a designated location (kitchen). This should allow your pup to ease into their new lifestyle, rather than just surprising them with a whole lot of change.

One thing to consider is that shelter dogs are often going to be surprised by new objects, sounds, and even people. In order to provide the ideal comfort zone while they adapt, it’s generally good to check your home for anything that would “surprise” your new dog. This might include loud noises, such as vacuum cleaners, clocks, and other strange noises, that could stress out your dog.

Stress on your dog and how to address it

Keep in mind that stress has a physical effect on a dog as well. The introduction to a new environment combined with a change in diet often results in an upset stomach and even diarrhea. This is simply a fact, so don’t be surprised or upset with your pup if he is having stress-related issues, since you’ll only make it worse.

The best way to address this is as soon as your dog is introduced to the home, it’s time to begin potty training. Take them to a pre-designated location (indoor or outdoor) and allow them to take care of their business there. Be sure that this area is obscured from any outside stimuli, such as the neighbor’s barking dog or even elemental factors. The more comfortable and secure they feel in their potty location, the more quickly they’ll begin to accommodate themselves to your house rules.

Providing a home, even a temporary one, for a rescue dog is a wonderful thing. You’re making their life better by simply giving them a chance to make yours just as good. It might be a puppy, a big pooch, a tiny rascal, or even a senior dog, but what matters the most is that they now have a home and a place in your heart.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Warm Winter Party

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure
Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

I popped out this afternoon to see what was going on. My friends came over earlier, so we’ve been busy playing a game of tag inside. But the situation for our companions has been a little different. In and out they’ve been moving. I once even caught a whiff of something yummy, but it went out the back door as well. And that’s what had my attention.

The weather has been much nicer this last week, not completely warm, but not too cold for my paws either. For the most part, it’s been quite enjoyable, which is probably why all our people are out enjoying the outdoors today.

The old man and Debbie are organizing a table with bottles and plates, while Christie and Marty’s companions (whom we have dubbed “the joggers” since they’re always out jogging in the mornings, rain or shine) have been preparing something around the outside cooker. And I might be just a dog, but as far as I’m aware, that device is only used during the summer. But when there’s food concerned, who am I to ask?

So we dogs are now quietly observing from a set distance. Containers move from one table to the cooker, which is opened to reveal the smell of something wonderful. What’s in the container goes into the cooker and it’s closed again. But that part doesn’t interest me as much as what happens next. One, two, three and four drops hit the ground, the splat echoing clearly in our ears. We all see it. Marty, though young, has excellent restraint, which waivers for only a brief second as his eyes twitch and his nub wiggles a little. But, none of us move, for we all know that to get involved would only get us banished from the area. We have to be clever about it.

“I want to see what it is,” Marty whispered. “It smells so good.”

“No!” Izzy warned. “Wait until they’re not looking.”

Buck simply nodded, his previous encounter having made him all the wiser. We would have to wait, then go in for a taste and sniff. So we waited. Christy returned inside with her container, so Buck followed to investigate further while we three sat and waited. The joggers had joined the old man and Debbie, paying strict attention to whatever was on that table.

“Go,” Izzy nudged Marty. The pup waddled over to the spots, detecting a few elements of something tasty indeed which he proceeded to engage feverishly with his tongue. But I could tell that Debbie was losing interest in the table, and possibly getting ready to turn about.

“Come back, hurry!” I yipped as quietly as possible. But Marty wasn’t listening. I’d have to take action quickly or we’d all lose access to the event. I trotted nonchalantly over to him and wacked him with my tail to initiate a chase, which worked. Marty nipped at me and followed me just far enough away as not to raise any unnecessary attention.

Success. No one was any the wiser. We would just have to be patient and wait for the next window of opportunity. And as luck would have it, that wouldn’t be too long. Debbie and the old man each carried something back inside. Once the door closed behind them, we knew that was our chance. I watched the joggers carefully to see if they were watching me. But they were focused on that table for some strange reason.

The spots were still saturated with enough flavor to offer a sample of what might be to come. My tongue told me it was quite tasty, while my ears were deaf to the warnings of my friends.

“Rocky, they’re coming!” Izzy announced, but I didn’t hear. At least not until the old man was standing over me, arms crossed and displaying that look in his eye told me I wasn’t supposed to be doing exactly what I was doing. The old man swept some dirt over the spots, eliminating their flavor forever. Saddened, I returned to my friends as Buck and Christie emerged from the house with more containers.

“Oh well,” Izzy said in a disheartened tone. “It was good while it lasted. Just wish I had gotten a taste.”

“Don’t you worry about that,” I said confidently. “Every time we eat outside, our people are always messy eaters. Just wait and see.”

And sure enough, it took little time for Christie to drop her plate, much of which tumbled here and there and everywhere. Being the helpful pups that we are, we decided to assist her in the act of cleaning up such a mess. After all, what are good friends for?

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own “rocky” adventures.

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Reunited – How to Ease Back into Routine

Shy dog
Tips for dog owners that are reunited with their pets

Many dog owners feel comfortable leaving the pup at home while away at work. And while you’re away, your pup might find occasion to romp around the house or play with their toys (squeaking that squeaker while you’re away). Some might simply laze around, simply eager to get you back home so you can play with them.

But have you ever been separated from your pup for a long time? Perhaps you’ve promised your hometown a long visit to ensure its safety and to reunite with family, or maybe you’ve been in the hospital for a long period of time. There are even those whose dog was lost but found, and a reunion is set to happen. Regardless of the reason, seeing your pup again is a great experience for the both of you.

And while you both may be excited to see each other, things at home might be a little different now. Consider the fact that you’ve been separated for a long period. During this time, it’s easy to develop new habits and behaviors, even for a dog.

Different behaviors and habits

Initially, a dog may want to do things differently. They have likely been accustomed to a different schedule and perhaps a different number of people in their home. Don’t be startled if your dog is occasionally surprised by your presence. They may even mistake you for a stranger at times (standing in the shadows or dim area) and let out barks.

The best thing to do is spend time with your pup. Take turns feeding them, walking them, and playing with them. Upon your return home, it’s likely your dog is going to want to do all of these things anyway, but may still want to engage with those that took care of them while you were away. It’s important to understand that just because you’ve returned, it doesn’t mean your dog is going to go right back to feeling comfortable with you all the time.

This normally means that their habits won’t be the same as when you left. They may want to play at certain times or even need to do their daily business differently or in a new place. They may have even learned a few new tricks while you were away (ringing a bell to alert that they need to go out). Spend time with your dog and their caretakers together, so that you can catch up on any changes in your dog. This will help you adjust to caring for your dog so that your arrival won’t surprise him, but rather make him more comfortable in your presence.

Post-return and a little anxiety

Then there are situations where the dog knows what happened the last time you left. They know that you didn’t come back for a long time and this time might not be any different. Unfortunately, this can quickly develop into separation anxiety. They’ll want to follow you around everywhere and be with you. This can result in either destructive issues such as chewing on the rug or scratching on the door. But many times, it results in howling, depression, and just being downright sad or even scared because you might not be coming back for a long time again.

Dealing with post-return separation anxiety can be tough, but not impossible. While you may want to spend a lot of time with your dog now that you’re back, it’s going to be important that they be able to let go of you when you need to leave, without endangering their health or your home. Remember that this is likely a new habit developed, so you don’t want to let it endure or develop into something that is harder to break.

Desensitizing

In most cases, desensitizing them to your leaving is the simplest practice. Start by walking out the door and waiting a few minutes. Then return- but try a different door (garage door to front door). The idea is that you’re changing position and breaking your dog’s habit of waiting by the door for you to return because they don’t know where or when you’ll be arriving. Do this in longer increments until your dog begins to comprehend that you might leave right now, but you’ll be back soon enough.

There are times when owner and dog will be separated for long periods of time. But as long as you understand how your dog needs to cope with the situation, you can ensure that the experience is the best thing that has happened since you invited them into your home.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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