What to expect when you adopt:
Before the arrival of your new pet you should have the following:
- Collar, leash, and harness (A harness is more secure than a collar as there is less chance that a dog can break free. It is also better for the delicate necks of small dogs.)
- Identification tag (Have an extra tag with a vacation address and cell phone number if you take your dog with you when you travel.)
- Bowls for food and water
- A good quality dog food and treats. (A good quality food, not brands sold in supermarkets, will help to keep your dog healthy. It is also important to maintain your dog at his/her proper weight.)
- Bed (Add a soft blanket/towel. Small dogs frequently like to snuggle under a blanket to keep warm.)
- Potty pads if necessary
- Pooper scooper bags (Plastic newspaper bags work great! Stick them in every pocket so you will always have one, or get a bag holder that attaches right to the leash.)
- A warm coat or sweater for the winter.
- Dog shampoo
- Car seat (Many are now available that are raised and cushioned, and allow a small dog to see out the window. A harness and attachment keep the dog safely restrained.)
Be prepared with the following:
- Find a place for the food and water bowls.
- Find an easily accessible place for the potty pad if necessary.
- Find a quiet place for the dog's bed.
- Find a place to keep the crate, or other means to confine the dog when you are not home, such as gaiting off the kitchen or bathroom. (A sturdy gait works better than closing the door, which can make the dog feel too confined.)
- Find an acceptable place where the dog can go to the bathroom outside (preferably not on your neighbor's lawn).
Patience, Fair and Consistent Rules, Training and Rewards
You must be patient with your new dog while he/she learns the rules of your home. Remember, this dog may have never been properly trained, may have been treated harshly, may have been left alone for lengthy periods of time, may have already been in several homes, and may even have spent time in a shelter. The dog may be confused and unsure of what is expected, and may be frightened by his/her new environment. Behavior that may have been allowed or even rewarded by a previous owner or caretaker may not be approved of in your home. The foster home makes every effort to provide the rescued dog with structure and stability, and consistent rules which are reinforced through positive behavior modification. This will assist your new dog in making a smooth transition into your home. However, continued training while in your care will definitely be necessary. It will take time for your new companion to settle in, and for the two of you to feel comfortable with one another. Housebreaking accidents and some urine marking should be expected during this adjustment period. Patience, reasonable periods of confinement, supervised freedom, and training, will help your dog's behavior to become trustworthy. However, you should be aware that there may be issues that may never be fully corrected.
Help your dog become a welcome member of your neighborhood and community:
- Always clean up after your dog.
- Don't let your dog urinate on your neighbor's well manicured lawn.
- Don't let your dog be a nuisance barker. Barking is a natural behavior, but should not be excessive or constant.
Things to be cautious about:
- Small dogs can easily injure delicate knees, and should not be allowed to jump off of anything high, such as a bed or sofa. Provide easy and safe access by using a ramp or stairs designed for dogs. Use non-slip rugs to cover tile or wood surfaces where a dog would be getting down.
- During the winter beware of salt on the street or sidewalk, which can irritate paws. Wipe the paws off when coming in doors. Baby wipes work well. Ingested salt from licking the feet clean could make the dog very sick.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a car. During the summer a car can heat up to deadly temperatures in minutes. A small dog can also easily be stolen. It is never worth the risk of having your dog sold to an experimental laboratory or used as bait to train dogs for fighting. A good rule is to never leave a dog in a car if he/she is out of your eye-sight.
- Electric/Invisible Fencing does not prevent your dog from being stolen from your yard or from being attacked by another animal that can easily enter your property. There is also concern regarding the shock that the dog receives to provide a negative consequence for crossing over the boundary during the training period. This can be emotionally damaging for some dogs. If the dog does leave yard, possibly ignoring the shock if chasing a squirrel for example, he/she may not return to the yard due to the shock received.
- A Dog Door poses similar dangers as indicated above. Are you sure that your property is securely fenced? Another animal could enter your property and endanger your dog. Another animal, or wild animal (racoon for example) could enter your house. Some dog doors are opened by the use of an electronic collar worn by the dog. As a general rule, dogs should NEVER be left outside unsupervised!