Welcoming Your New Rescued Sweetheart

Proper dog care for your adopted dog

Adopting a dog is a wonderful feeling, especially when their happy tail and bottom wag around to find that they’ve finally joined their new family. But while the initial introductions are an awesome experience, adjusting to their new environment and new friends will still take a little time. That’s why it’s important as your dog’s new and loving owner to ensure that you welcome your dog into their new home as smoothly as possible.

Know who your dog is

Start out by getting as much information from the shelter as possible. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t take just their words to heart. A trip to the vet is your next step which needs to be done as soon as possible. From there, you’ll be able to get an idea of the health and condition of your new friend. This is because most animal shelters are overwhelmingly populated and as dogs come and go, information can be lost or simply misled. An initial visit to the vet will give you an in-depth look into your dog’s care, age, and present health condition which you’ll need to address with a particular diet and other specific needs.

A special place in your home

The next stage involves your home and everyone in it. Family members should be introduced first, and then any other pets you might have. When introducing dogs to each other, it’s always a good idea to set up a neutral meeting zone where they can sniff and inspect one another so that there are no “violation of territory” issues inside the home.

After that, it’s time to arrange household duties concerning dog care. Make sure that everyone knows what responsibilities they are supposed to take care of to ensure the proper care of the new family member. Feeding times should be arranged, as well as a potty training orientation. This is why it is crucial that everyone is aware of the boundaries within the house, such as no access to the bathrooms, kitchen, or particular living areas. This should also incorporate a familiarization with feeding areas and sleeping quarters.

Because your new family member’s habits will be unpredictable, don’t let them run free so soon. Keep them leashed and watch them with a careful eye. Many newly adopted dogs may prefer a crate in order to help them feel secure, especially if they’ve spent a lot of their life in a kennel. If that is the case, giving them a crate to designate as their own special private place in the home will ease their transition into their new lifestyle.

Getting to know each other

Be sure you have the time to spend with your new dog. If you bring them home without being able to spend the time handling and training them, they’ll have a far more difficult time adapting to their new home. These first few days and the proceeding weeks will be the foundation that your relationship will be built on for the rest of your lives.

Start out by getting to know each other through regular activities you would normally do, or used to do by yourself. Go for walks through the park and regularly interact with other people and their dogs (there is an increased likelihood of squirrel chasing during this time of year so be sure you use a leash at all times). You’ll need to focus on basic training, which is an especially effective method for teaching your new dog the basic tricks, such as “stay” and “return” while continuously developing a relationship. These are the basics for safety, and even if they’re familiar with the commands already, it’s important that they become accustomed to hearing your voice and listening to you. Also be sure to frequently use their name when addressing them so they’ll get used to knowing when they’re supposed to be involved in your conversations.

It’s also popular practice taking obedience classes together. Many local pet stores and professionals will work with dogs and their owners, providing helpful hints and covering the basics so that you can teach your dog to learn. This experience also gives the both of you a chance to spend quality time together while associating with other dogs and their owners.

Be patient with them. You don’t always know how your dog lived before they met you and their old habits may still be deeply imbedded. But with a lot of love and plenty of attention, your newly adopted dog will learn that they are here to stay.

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Dog Behavior Modification Takes Consistency

Everyone wants their dogs to behave. They take the time to train them and teach them the basics, like potty training. But there is a step beyond training. This is called behavior modification and it is the basis on which training is best developed.

Behavior modification is an extremely valuable tool that helps both dogs and their owners, providing a platform in which a dog can easily learn and develop future skills. The only problem is that behavior modification demands consistency, or else it will become counterproductive to the process. If you begin teaching using an outside source such as a trainer and then take them home and contradict or neglect what they’ve learned, your dog won’t be able to learn properly.

Continuing the behavior modification process

The first and most effective lesson you can learn is the act of teaching your dog how to learn. This process is simple, but provides the basis by which all other training is done. From here, it is your job, regardless of whether you have a trainer or not, to constantly solidify your dog’s teachings. Always start by isolating them from distraction. If they receive outside communication, even if another person is trying to help, it can confuse your dog and distract him from the lesson. Your own house is ideal for this, since the outdoors can produce numerous sounds and scents, and a new environment can be confusing and more interesting all on its own.

An ongoing experience

Even though you may be using an outside professional trainer, it is imperative that you continue the work that is being done. Like a student coming home from school, there is always homework that needs to be done and discipline that is required. Spend time affirming what they’ve been taught. Remember that young puppies can easily get bored or frustrated, so you may consider including games in the learning process.

Rewards are something should be given when they are deserved. This is one of the biggest problems in contradicting the learning process. Owners are renowned for giving their dogs treats, like rawhide or toys, without reason. While it may seem that a dog would definitely deserve it (they are the epitome of affection), it is definitely a contradiction to the behavioral training process. Rather than simply giving your dog a treat, have them give you full attention prior to giving it. Don’t be fooled by their supposed attention when they may likely have their attention targeted towards the treat. Have them “see” you first. You can confirm this by offering a variable command (change it every time so they don’t get used to one). When they succeed, give them the treat.

Behavior is forever

The reason these techniques must be practiced consistently is because dogs are renowned for developing habits. If you tell your dog to “sit” every time, they will always sit when you speak. This is a habit you’ve trained into them. While repetition is essential to mastery, you must include variables into the education process.

It is recommended that a quality training experience last no longer than fifteen minutes at a time. These increments should be scattered periodically throughout the day. During these training periods, incorporate a different task to learn each time or your dog may develop a habit out of the command.

This process helps to develop a dependency on you, rather than simply a reaction. This is the process of teaching to learn. While it may seem simple, it is the basic structure that helps your dog develop behavior modification in a positive light.

Training your dog to perform tasks is slightly different from behavioral training. When your dog develops the right behavior, training is as simple as instruction. This is where behavior modification plays an essential role in dog development. While classes and personal instruction can help, it is vital that you continue teaching your dog how to act and learn.

In order for your dog to succeed, you must be willing to teach and your dog must be willing to learn. This is a fact shared between every teacher and student. Behavior modification helps your dog learn how to learn for the rest of their life. But it takes the persistence and dedication of a good teacher to remain consistent during the process.

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Anxiety Attacks and Goodbye

One of the hardest things that many dogs have to endure is “goodbye.” While we owners know that walking out the door and going to work doesn’t mean we’re gone forever, dogs aren’t always capable of grasping the concept. To many of them, when you walk out the door, you may be gone forever. This is what is known as “separation anxiety.”

There are many levels of this condition. Some result in destructive behavior, while others reflect a dog’s feelings through pacifistic or self-neglecting characteristics. As a dog owner, it is important that you pay attention to not only what your dog does when you’re around, but also to what they’re doing when you’re not around.

A little restless

The most common symptom of separation anxiety is a dog’s destructive behavior. This can target many areas of your home and life. From chewed clothing to damaged doorways, a dog finds ways to cope with their anxiety. Consider yourself when you’re anxious. The mind is worried, but the body is energized. You want to get up and do something. Dogs seldom have ways of coping with these feelings of anxiety in a positive manner. So, they often turn to targeting items in the household that remind them of you. They aren’t just being recklessly destructive—they’re usually looking for things that smell like you. Chewing on the remote control or a favorite pair of shoes is a favorite of anxious dogs. They aren’t purposely destroying the item, just favoring it because it reminds them of you.

Another characteristic of anxiety is the scratched doorway. Some dogs will scratch to be let out when they want to go out, but an anxious dog may wait at the door throughout the day, clawing at it because they believe they can get back to you if they can only get through that door. Remember that a dog doesn’t always realize where you are when they can’t see you. Doors are simply obstacles, blocking their view of a loved one.

Sad to say goodbye

When suffering from separation anxiety, dogs may also exhibit signs of depression, often waiting by the door and neglecting eating, drinking, or even potty cycles. This can be difficult to detect, especially since the side effects, such as depreciating health, can be slow to come. Health may deteriorate over time, especially since they’ll return to their regular habits once you’ve returned home.

Any form of anxiety has detrimental effects on a dog’s health. Whether it’s depression or elevated activities, the stress from the situation wears on the heart and body, which can result in an unhealthy and ultimately unhappy lifestyle.

Say goodbye to anxiety

Separation anxiety isn’t an easy condition to deal with. It is more psychological than physical, making it difficult to diagnose and treat medically. But, as a dog owner and lover, it is up to you to make your dog realize that goodbye is just temporary.

There are many remedies that help anxious dogs. Calming biscuits and even prescription medication can help with less severe cases. These remedies are designed to help a dog relax during the day while you’re gone, so that they aren’t as destructive to your home and their health. The problem with these remedies, however, is that they don’t actually cure the problem. What is necessary is to teach your beloved dog that you are only gone for now, but you’ll always return to them.

The best place to start is a little confusion. Dogs love and rely on a schedule. They wake up, eat, potty, and sleep at a regular time every day. So, you don’t want their anxiety to be included in that schedule. That means you must let them know that when you’re gone, the day goes on. Start with the characteristics that are associated with you leaving. The jingle of your keys, putting your coat on, or even making your morning smoothie can tell your dog: I’m getting ready to leave. Rather than actually leaving when you do these things, practice them intermittently throughout the day. Once your dog has become accustomed to these practices, move on to leaving periods. At first, leave for only a few minutes. Prepare yourself as if you’re going out, but return a few minutes later so your dog can associate you leaving with you returning. It will help make them feel secure about your absence and let them know that you are always coming back. You can progressively prolong your absence to help teach your dog that no matter how long you’re gone, you are always coming home.

While saying goodbye can be hard for any owner, it is often far more difficult for our beloved dogs. They love and miss us when we’re gone, often making them anxious about when they’ll get to see us next. It’s up to us to make sure they’re comfortable at home, even when we’re away for a while.

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