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Dog Adoption Tips
updated: Jan 12, 2013, 2:00 PM

Dog Adoption Tips As You Embark on Your New Life Together

Dear Dog Parents,

Welcome to the New Year! With the paw-liday season being a popular time to fetch a new dog or puppy, I thought it'd be a good idea to share a few helpful dog-training and management tips to help all of you start out on the right paw.

Here are the four tenets of my Mutt Model:

Know Your Animal!

Settling in to a new home and lifestyle takes time for any animal -- human or non-human,--especially when cultural norms vary. We inquisitive canines come with a pre-installed list of species-specific behaviors, such as jumping up to say hello, eliminating where and when we feel the urge, and chewing whatever strikes our fancy. These traits are what make us dogs dogs. If you find them to be more annoying than cute, it'll be important for you to take the time to teach your pooch what it is you want, and where and when you want it.

Whaddya Want?

Do you want your dog to know the rules of the household such as where and when to go to the bathroom, sitting, and lying down? How about walking on a leash? If any of these behaviors, or others, strike your fancy, then plan a routine right away. Puppies, adult dogs, purebreds, rescues; it doesn't matter how old or where they came from, every dog will need to be taught what you want. Just because an animal knows how to behave in one place doesn't mean they'll figure out how to transfer these skills to their new home without a few instructions. You might want to sign up for a class, or take the DIY approach and homeschool. Either way, your dog will learn, plus it'll be a nice way to strengthen your new friendship.

Reward. Reward. Reward.

Whether relocating from a shelter to a high-rise in the city, or from a breeder's home to a ranch out in the country (and everything in between), you'll need to take the time to reward your new pooch for doing what you want, when you want, and where you want. You can never thank an animal enough for making good choices, especially for things like going to the bathroom outdoors in the middle of winter!

Ease Into the Transition:

Dogs in general are social animals. They do better when they're with family, friends and/or siblings-- even those of another species--than when left alone. If you intend to leave your dog alone, help him or her to ease into the new routine by making it fun. Avoid the risk of destructive behaviors and/or isolation distress by taking the time to teach your dog to be independent and to enjoy being alone. This is as important for them as it is for you. Providing enrichment activities, making sure they've been given adequate mental and physical exercise before being left, and starting out with short absences are just a few things to add to your action plan.

Paws and Reflect

From what I've witnessed, it seems that becoming a new dog parent is super exciting, even during those moments of panic when you're asking yourself, "What do I do now?" But before you decide to crawl into a dog-crate and hide, remember that a little planning can make for a smooth transition. Take the time to understand what your dog or puppy needs, go over the house rules, teach any skills that go along with those rules and manage their environment to help prevent mishaps. Soon it'll be as if you've been BFF's --that's "best fur-friend"--all along.


Poncho Mayer is a 10-pound inquisitive canine who knows a lot about human and canine behavior. He and his mom work together running the family business, providing dog-training services to other inquisitive canines and their humans. For additional training and behavior tips, subscribe to their blog.

Let's connect!




Got a question about behavior, training or daily pup life? Email Poncho directly at advice@theinquisitivecanine.com


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