So you’ve adopted – now what?
Here are some tips and tricks for ensuring a successful adoption.
All dogs need to get used to a new situation – they have never lived in your home before, or met your family, or other pets. This adjustment period is typically referred to as “decompression."
The recommended decompression period is 2 weeks.
During decompression, adopters should limit introductions to new situations, and give the adopted dog as much regular routine as possible.
Looking Glass Animal Rescue has a good article about this period – please click here to read it.
In a new, unfamiliar environment, there is a distinct possibility your new dog will try to run off.
All adopted dogs are micro-chipped – this is included in your adoption fee. When you bring your dog home, please make sure to register the microchip to your name, address and phone number immediately. There are also a number of free registries: Free Pet Chip Registry and Found Animals are two examples.
Use a double-door or baby gate system in front of all doors to the outside. Your dog should be behind a second door or baby gate before you open your main door, to prevent unexpected escape.
If you have a fenced yard, always supervise your dog in your yard. You may not think there is an escape route, but dogs might look in places you don’t, or dig out their own escape route!
Always leash your dog when taking him or her out. This seems like common sense! Do not use retractable leashes.
If your dog does escape…
Contact Pawfect Life Rescue immediately.
Contact your local Animal Control Office immediately. If they are closed, call a local police’s non-emergency phone number.
If lost in Massachusetts, contact Missing Dogs Massachusetts. This organization has reunited countless lost animals with their families and has an extensive network, as well as knowledge on how to capture escaped dogs.
Put out dirty clothes of yours near your home. Your dog may come back to it due to the clothes’ scent. It is highly likely that you do not want to chase the dog – coax him or her with food, etc.
Establishing a Routine
For all dogs, keep personal items and dangerous-if-chewed items out of the way until you learn their habits.
Feed him/her at the same times every day. Research the best food to feed him/her! There are so many different dog food brands out there, and owners should be educated on what is best for their dog.
Take your dog outside for potty breaks consistently and at the same times every day.
Introduce your dog to a crate for crate training. Make it a positive experience where they get praise and a special treat!
Start training. Training is a great way to bond with your dog. If you’re not sure where to start, attend a class or hire a private trainer.
Take your dog to the vet about a week after you adopt. Your dog will be up to date on vaccines, but all heartworm prevention medication is prescription-only. Your dog should be on heartworm and flea/tick medication year-round. Please Note: We are a small family & friends run rescue – but with the number of dogs we rescue it is still considered a kennel environment. Two common things can occur in kennel environments! Dogs can spread kennel cough and pick up worms / protozoa. We vaccinate all dogs with the bordatella vaccine that prevents against that one strain of the kennel cough virus. There are multiple strains of the virus, though. We require all dogs get a negative fecal before coming North. However, we recommend you bring a follow up fecal sample with your dog to their first wellness check. It is so important that we properly socialize our rescue dogs with other dogs but, like with children in daycare, that means they can pick up little bugs. So speak with your veterinarian should you have any concerns about your new family member!
Dealing with Illness
There comes a time in every dog’s life when they will be ill. Make sure you establish a relationship with a primary vet, but also have emergency vet numbers and locations on hand.
Research pet insurance. It might be the right path for you!
There are resources to help with unexpected and overwhelming medical costs:
Finding Somewhere to Live
If you need to rent a new place to live & having a hard time finding a rental that will take dogs, please use the resources below:
Many rental-hunting websites, such as Zillow or HotPads, have filters for dogs or cats. Make use of these filters to look for your new place.
The MSPCA has a great list resource available.
Petfinder has compiled a list of tips!
The American Kennel Club also has a similar list of tips, geared specifically towards large dogs.