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paw print Living With Your New Dog paw print

What to expect when you get a new dog:

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

  • dog foodwater dish

  • 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.)
  • Toys
  • Crate
  • 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.

  • terrier eatsdog drinks

  • 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

Yellow dog wonders

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.

Dog and man

Help your dog become a welcome member of your neighborhood and community:

    dog peeing
  • 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!

Food Facts

Recommended Ingredients:
  • A good quality protein source that is specifically named and should be one of the first two ingredients.
  • Whole, unprocessed grains and vegetables.

Ingredients to Avoid:
  • The use of multiple fragments of a single food, such as brewer's rice and wheat bran, which are the by-products of another food manufacturing process. Brewer's rice is a waste product of the alcohol industry. Wheat bran is the fibrous hull removed from the nutritious wheat kernel.
  • By-products
  • Generic fats and proteins
  • Artificial preservatives (such as BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin)
  • Artificial colors
  • Propylene glycol (used to keep chewy foods moist)
  • Sweetners (such as corn syrup, sucrose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin)

It may be beneficial to switch your dog's food every few months. This should be done gradually over a few days to help prevent stomach upset, gas, or diarrhea. Only feeding one food may result in excessive levels of one nutrient and deficient levels of another. Changing foods may help to prevent the development of food allergies.

AAFCO Definitions of Dog Food Ingredients
(AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials)

  • Meat: "Meat is the clean flesh derived from slaughtered mammals and is limited to that part of the striate muscle which is skeletal or that which is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus; with or without that accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels..."
  • Poultry: "Poultry is the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails..."
  • Meat Meal: "Meat Meal is the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except is such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices..."
  • Poultry Meal: "Poultry Meal is the dry rendered products derived from a comnination of clean flesh and skin with our without accompanying bone derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails..."
  • Meat and Bone Meal: "Meat and Bone Meal is the rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices..."
  • Meat By-Products: "Meat By-Products is the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines..."
  • Poultry By-Products: "Poultry By-Products must consist of non-rendered clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera..."
  • Poultry By-Product Meal: "Poultry By-Product Meal consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices..."
  • Animal By-Product Meal: "Animal By-Product Meal is the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of any added hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents... This ingredient definition is intended to cover those individual rendered animal tissue products that cannot meet the criteria as set forth elsewhere in this section..."
  • Animal Digest: "A material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves, and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed."
  • Animal By-Product Meal: "The rendered product from animal tissues, exclusive of any added hair, hoof, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices."

Harmful Foods

  • Avocados
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Onions and onion powder (can cause anemia in some animals)
  • Garlic
  • Grapes and Raisins (can induce kidney failure in some animals)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Xylitol (sweetener that is toxic for dogs)

Hazardous Household Plants

Aloe, Amaryllis, Andromeda Japonica, Asian Lily, Asparagus fern, Australian Nut, Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Belladonna, Bird of Paradise, Bittersweet (American and European), Black Locust, Branching ivy, Buckeye, Buddhist Pine, Caladium, Calla lily, Castor Bean, Ceriman, Clematis, Cordatum, Corn plant, Cycads, Cyclamen, Daffodil, Daylily, Devil's Ivy, Dieffenbachia, Dumbcane, Easter lily, Elephant ears, Emerald fern, English Ivy, Eucalyptus, Ferns, Fiddle-leaf philodendron, Gold dust dracaena, Florida Beauty, Foxglove, Glacier Ivy, Gladiolas, Golden Pothos, Heavenly bamboo, Honeysuckle, Hurricane Plant, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Iris, Jerusalem Cherry, Jimson Weed, Kalanchoe, Lantana, Lilies (all Lilium species), Lily of the Valley, Lupine, Marble Queen, Morning Glory, Mother-in-Law, Mountain Laurel, Narcissus, Needlepoint Ivy, Nephthysis, Nightshade, Oleander, Panda, Peace Lily, Philodendron, Poison Hemlock, Precatory Bean (rosary pea), Privet, Red Emerald, Rhododendron, Ribbon plant, Sago Palm, Satin Pothos, Schefflera, Striped Dracaena, Sweetheart Ivy, Tulip, Water Hemlock, Wisteria, Yew, Yucca.

Healthy Dog Checklist

  • Always SPAY or NEUTER your pet unless your veterinarian recommends not to due to health reasons.

    For more information about the benefits of spaying and neutering Click Here.

    For more information about low-cost spay/neuter programs Click Here.

  • Use flea and tick treatment monthly as needed.
  • Use heartworm prevention, such as Heartgard or Interceptor, monthly or seasonally as recommended by your vet. Heartworm is easily prevented, but can be life threatening to treat, and can kill your dog if left undetected.
  • Non-shedding dogs should be professionally groomed on a regular basis. Matting is painful for your dog. Shedding dogs should also be bathed regularly. Regularly scheduled grooming is a great way to detect the onset of skin problems, growths and lumps, ear infections, and ticks and fleas ("flea dirt" which looks like pepper in your dog's hair, is an indication of a flea problem). In addition, nails should be clipped, ears cleaned, and anal glands expressed.
  • Your dog should visit the vet at least once a year for the following: heartworm test, fecal (which tests for parasites, Lyme, and Giardia), vaccine titers (see info below regarding vaccinations), Rabies (make sure you know if your dog received a 1 or 3 year shot), Bordetella (this is an intranasal drop that should be given every 6 months to be effective against kennel cough), and depending on the age and health of the dog, bloodwork may be recommended. A bi-annual check-up is recommended for senior dogs, including bloodwork. Early detection is the best prevention!
  • A good way to keep your dog healthy is to have a regular dentistry. Excessive tartar build-up causes tooth and gum decay and possible infection, as well as puts a lot of bacteria into the dog's system. Your dog needs to be put under anesthesia for the dentistry, so there is always some risk. Bloodwork is recommended before this procedure. Your vet can recommend when this needs to be done. If done regularly, the cleaning should be quick and easy. However, older dogs with significant tartar may be placed on antibiotics prior to the procedure, and may also be at risk for extractions.

    Use of a good quality dry food (which can act as an abrasive), or special tartar control food recommended by your vet, may help to limit the growth of plaque between cleanings.

    You can brush your dog's teeth if he/she will let you. Just make sure you use a tooth paste that is specially designed for your dog, and never use human toothpaste.

    There is a tartar control treatment that you can add to your dog's water bowl.

    There are a number of chewing toys that can be found in catalogs and pet stores designed to help discourage the growth of tartar.

    As with all things, please use common sense, and discuss with your veterinarian.


  • Be cautious about over-vaccinating. After your dog has had all of his/her initial vaccinations, discuss with your vet about having vaccine titers done during your dog's yearly health exam. If immunity levels are sufficient, there is no need to have further vaccinations.
  • Rabies vaccinations must always be up to date, as per State law. Make sure you are aware if your dog has received a one or three year shot.

Training Tips:

  • Exercise: Take your dog out for a good walk everyday. Placing a dog in a backyard does not meet his/her needs for physical and mental stimulation. Your dog will thank you. A tired dog is less likely to misbehave.

    Lack of exercise and boredom can lead to anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders. Anxiety can take the form of chewing, digging, and excessive barking. OCD's can result in circling behavior, where the dog goes around and around in circles continuously. This can sometimes be seen in puppy mill dogs who have been confined permanently in small crates. Sometimes dogs with OCD do excessive licking of the paws, developing painful sores called lick granulomas. However, this should be brought to the attention of a vet as it could also be the result of allergies.
  • Crate Training: The crate should be large enough to allow the dog to sit, stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Make the crate a positive experience for your dog. Place a few treats inside and/or feed him/her meals in the crate. Leave your dog in the crate only for short periods of time so he/she will learn that he/she is not being left there indefinitely. Your dog will eventually learn that crate time is quiet time for snoozing, and will retreat there on his/her own. Dogs like the security that a crate provides. You can cover the crate with a towel/blanket, leaving the front panel uncovered. This will create the feel of a "den." When a dog is resting in his/her crate, he/she should not be disturbed. Upon returning home, take your dog outside immediately. When he/she goes to the bathroom give him/her a lot of praise for a job well done!
  • Housebreaking: Don't allow your new dog to have full freedom to roam the whole house. Supervised freedom will enable you to catch "accidents" immediately. When you catch your dog "in the act" scold quickly and take him/her outside. Give a lot of praise when your dog relieves him/herself in the appropriate place. NEVER hit your dog for a housebreaking accident, or rub his/her nose in it. It is useless to scold your dog after the fact. People say that the dog looks remorseful or guilty after they have had an accident. However, these are human emotions. Actually the dog is reacting to your anger or annoyance. The dog assumes a submissive posture or behavior in an attempt to appease the pack leader, showing that he/she is no threat - basically saying "Please don't hurt me." A good rule is to take your new dog out frequently, especially after meals and naps, and to try to be consistent with your schedule. Feeding on a regular schedule will help the dog to eliminate more regularly as well. This will also help you to catch your dog going in an appropriate place, and give you a frequent opportunity to praise your dog.
  • Manners: Discourage begging. Never feed your dog from the table. If you want to give your dog a special treat, or some of your leftovers, just add a bit to his/her regular meal.Puppy begs
  • The "Come" Command: Never call your dog to come to you, and then yell at him/her for a bad behavior. You always want it to be a positive experience when your dog comes to you, or he/she will learn very quickly not to come when called.
  • Barking: Barking is a natural behavior, but excessive and constant barking should be discouraged, and may signify that your dog is stressed or bored. If your dog is barking at you for attention, or jumping on you, turn your back on the dog. When he/she is quiet for 3 seconds, turn around and give a lot of praise or a treat. Repeat as needed until the dog gets the idea that only quiet, calm, and respectful behavior will be rewarded.
  • Puppy barks

  • Grooming: Make grooming a positive experience for your dog. Get your dog used to being handled by frequently and gently touching his/her paws, looking at teeth, and checking ears. Praise your dog when he/she allows you to do these things without pulling away. Your dog will learn not to be frightened by this behavior. This will greatly assist your veterinarian in conducting an exam, as well as enable you to handle your dog should he/she become sick or injured. Groom your dog regularly, or take him/her to a professional groomer. Ears should be cleaned, nails clipped, teeth brushed, anal glands expressed, and the coat washed and combed. Matting is painful for your dog. A well-groomed dog looks and feels so much better.

    Poodle in bath

Click here for training information.

running paw prints

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paw prints

TTR logo designed by Sniff Design Studio.
Background and clip art courtesy of Absolute Background Textures Archive.
Additional clip art courtesy of Animation Library.
Animations courtesy of Animation Factory.
Paw prints courtesy of Fuzzy Faces.

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