Dog’s Eye View: Adoption — The best advice ever
October 26, 2018
When I work with families and their pets, I usually recommend a book or two that are relevant to their situation. One that I find myself referring back to time and again is, "Love Has No Age Limit" by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen B. London, Ph.D. The subtitle to this book is, "Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home.”
Referencing this little book is like sitting down with your grandmother who successfully raised and nurtured 10 children on a budget, all of whom are happy and well-adjusted adults. My own copy of this book is shop worn, highlighted, underlined and bookmarked. It's only 95 pages long including notes, acknowledgements and resources. When I adopted my little terrier mix, Lawrence, I went back to it and kept it at hand.
Reading the table of contents gets you started on the right foot. For me there was nothing I didn't want to revisit. The chapter on preparing for the new dog to be in your house is thorough and full of sound advice. Take a look at your home with a view towards a brand new dog running around. Dog proofing is a must, and thinking ahead about what you might want to avoid rather than have to address in an inconvenient time is pretty smart. The authors address setting up house rules as well as thinking twice about a welcome home party.
The first day is a detailed account from where to put your dog in the car and going directly home to taking her to go potty on leash — even in a fenced yard — before you even go into the house. They advise to refrain from bathing your dog right away unless her condition is desperately dirty. They point out that most dogs do not really enjoy bathing, though they might tolerate it and that it might not be the best introduction to you.
Behavior problems 101
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Where'd my perfect dog go? This chapter offered a most intriguing bit of information on acclimation. Three days, three weeks, three months is a general amount of time it takes a dog to acclimate to a new situation. As an aside they say that not coincidentally, it takes people about three days to settle into a new environment.
Remember this tenet of understanding dog behavior, "behavior is context dependent."
"All social animals behave differently in different environments." This will help you to look at your dog with a new mindset.
Have I convinced you to get this book? I hope so. Your adopted dog will thank you, too.
Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training, LLC with over 30 years of experience.