paddling with pups

Thank you to everyone who has welcomed a new furry member into your family!

…Whether by foster or adoption—old or young—from the streets or a not-quite-right home.

Lisa Rockland has been supporting dogs and animal shelters for forty years, including Buddy DogForever Home Rescue, Lucky Lab Rescue, Last Hope K9, and Shultz’s Guest House. Buddy Dog recommends Lisa and AAMD as its exclusive trainer. (See our video: Lisa Rockland at Buddy Dog.) Jordan, her daughter and a trainer at AAMD, rescued and rehabilitated dogs during her college years in Alabama. She is a forever mom to Titan and Leroy, two rescued pit bulls. Trainer Jamie Whitbeck’s forever babies, Charlie, Eddie and Desmond, are rescues as well. At All About My Dog we’re all about adoption and fostering.

Here are five tips to help transition your adoptee/foster baby into a loving family member.

Time to Decompress

Dogs need time to get used to their new surroundings. Whether they’re seniors, adults, adolescents or puppies, dogs live in family units centered around a den. It’s easy to see that shelters can be a family, and that changing families, changing dens can be a shock. Signs of shock are biting, barking, hiding, failure to eat, diarrhea, shivering, shaking, sleeping excessively. Dogs need time to adjust.
  • Give your dog 24 – 48 hours to adjust. Some dogs need a week.
  • Promote the bond between you by taking the time to sit quietly with your dog.

A Safe Den

New surroundings means making sure your dog has a safe den, an area where your dog can decompress without interruption and without getting into trouble. In the same way that you close off areas of your house to your dog, cordon off an area for your dog.

Here’s what you need for a safe den:

  • A crate, appropriately sized.
  • An exercise pen (an ex-pen) to promote appropriate play and rest time in a safe and enclosed space.
  • Cuddle toys.
  • A soft bed.
  • Bones for gnawing. 100%! An absolute must!!!! (Read our post: Dogs Need To Gnaw!)
  • Locate the den in a quiet corner where your dog can see, hear, and smell his new family.
Important! Don’t allow your dog to roam your entire house. Too much freedom can be overwhelming and will lead to behavior and potty problems.

Questions about your safe den? Reach out to Lisa for a virtual home visit. She will ensure that your new family member is primed for success.

Alone Time

Give your dog alone/down time in its den—each day for a period of time, make sure your new baby has the personal space to acclimate to his new home.
  • Playtime? Yes, absolutely. But balance an appropriate amount of play time with an environment of calm and quiet. You wouldn’t throw a party for an infant.
  • Don’t overstimulate your dog with excessive hugging and playing every time you see them.
  • Alone time doesn’t mean ostracizing your dog by putting them in a place where they can’t see, smell or hear you.

Walking and Housebreaking

Leaving the den takes courage and confidence. While some dogs come house broken, others need encouragement. Some love going for walks, others might not welcome time away from their new safe place.
  • Start off small. Take potty breaks at natural intervals; take short walks, maybe to the end of the driveway. Build your dog’s confidence. Leave the den; come back. Leave the den; come back.
  • Use a long leash! We recommend a ten foot or fifteen foot biothane leash.
  • Don’t use a 4 feet leash; not even a 6 foot. Never a flexi or retractable leash, which maintains constant tension on your dog’s neck. New dogs, puppies especially, get frustrated at being yanked and dragged and pulled and tugged on a short leash. Expect a frustrated dog to yank and drag and pull and tug—back.

Be patient. But seek help when you need it.

Not all dogs are the same. One dog might adjust to his new family in a matter of hours. Another might take a week or longer. Still others need specific training and encouragement.​
  • Reach out to vets and trainers who specialize in fostering and adopting dogs.
  • During this crisis, All About My Dog offers virtual training sessions geared specifically to foster and adopting parents. Please contact Lisa for more info.
  • We stock everything you need to make a safe den and provide your new dog with the essentials. Check out our retail page or contact Jordan for more info. 

Stay safe. Pay it forward!