Adopting an adult dog
Thank You for Caring About a Life
It’s easy for almost anyone to fall in love with a puppy or kitten. But it takes a special person or family to adopt an adult pet. You’ll find there are many advantages to acquiring a mature dog. The love and companionship you’ll share are only the beginning.
Member of the Family
Most dogs adjust to their new families within a week or two. Some take longer. Very few dogs are unable to adjust at all. In most cases the dog will be a well-adjusted member of the family within a month. In fact, you may find it difficult to remember a time when he wasn’t part of the family.
Home at Last
On his first day home, show him where he’ll sleep, where he can always find fresh water, when and where he’ll be fed. If he’s an indoor dog, take him outside at frequent intervals (every hour or two) so he can relieve himself. Until he learns the new housebreaking routine you’ll have to be very watchful. Mistakes will happen, especially during the first few days when the dog feels strange in his new environment. If the dog makes a mistake in the house firmly say “NO!” and take him outside instantly. You MUST catch the dog in the act if the correction is to be effective. A few minutes later is too late. Praise him every time he eliminates outside.
Period of Adjustment
During the first week expect occasional problems. Your new pet doesn’t know you, doesn’t know why he has come here or what is expected of him. He needs to be treated with watchful kindness. Anticipate problems before they occur. Don’t leave tempting items such as shoes, clothing, handbags or dinner plates within reach of the dog. Having a new pet can have quite a tidying effect on a family!
My Time Is Your Time
Plan to spend time with your new family member. He will appreciate it and respond warmly. Long walks, periods of play or just being together will make him feel happy and secure. Many families find that the best time to acquire a new pet is during vacation at home, when they have ample time to spend with him.
What You See Is What You Get
With a puppy you may not know how large he will become, or what sort of disposition he will have. With a grown – or nearly grown – pet, what you see is what you get! However, it’s important to remember that what you don’t see is your new pet’s past. The dog may or may not have been housebroken or trained. He has certainly learned to live in different environments. Be patient and give him time to become accustomed to your lifestyle.
Call Me by My Rightful Name
You’ve probably given your dog a new name. Use it frequently and try always to associate it with good things: affection, approval and fun.
Easy Does It
Children are always excited about a new pet. Don’t allow them to overwhelm him with attention and handling. They should be taught to play gently with him, and never to disturb him when he is sleeping or eating. Parental supervision is important.
I’m Just Not Myself Today
When he is first settling in, your new pet may have problems of shyness, anxiety, restlessness, excitement, crying or barking. Physical symptoms may include excessive water-drinking, frequent urination, diarrhoea or a poor appetite. If any of these symptoms last for more than a few days call your veterinarian.
Your Wish Is My Command
Be consistent. Decide on the rules and stick to them. For example, be sure you and your children understand whether or not the dog is allowed on the furniture. Does that mean all the furniture or just some of it? If you change the rules, the dog will be confused. Don’t allow him to do something onetime and forbid it the next.
Obedience training can be very helpful to the adult dog and to you. However, it is not quite the same as training a puppy, where you’re both starting from scratch.
Your dog may have learned commands other than the ones you use. Give it time to adjust to your commands.
You can train the dog yourself or take him to an obedience class with a qualified trainer. Wait until after the first week to start formal training. The training period can be a good way to create a strong bond between you and your dog. In addition, the dog can learn what you expect of him and how he can please you. Both of these things are very important to him.
CAWI recommends getting some professional advice from an accredited dog trainer. (See Resources).
Local dog trainers
Barco – community dog training based in the north of Byron Shire. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 0429 518 817 or 0447 975 201.
Barco is a voluntary not for profit organisation who run dog obedience classes to teach people how to be responsible dog owners. Training sessions are each Sunday morning starting at 9am at Brunswick Heads sports fields. If you are fostering a Byron Dog Rescue dog the training is free for that dog. For all other dog owners, once the $20 yearly registration fee is paid, the only other cost is only $5 each time you attend training.