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 your newly adopted dog as much regular routine as possible.
Looking Glass Animal Rescue has a good article about this transition 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 on petlink.net. 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 no possible 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 using a margtingale collar by itself or in conjunction with a harness. PLEASE 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. Do NOT chase the dog - they can become frightened or think it's a game – coax him/her with food or pretend you're having a ton of fun that they might want to participate in!
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. Keep their diet consistent. If you do want to change their food, 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. Then, transition them slowly to their new food by mixing it with their old food...25% new, 50% new, 75% new then 100% new...over the course of 1-2 weeks. Be careful of grain free food as it's high in protein and can cause tummy upset and diarrhea.
Take your dog outside for potty breaks frequently 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 and ensure a well behaved & well rounded dog. If you’re not sure where to start, attend a class or hire a private trainer. Address small issues before they become larger issues!
Be sure to socialize & desensitize your new dog to new situations and to people & dogs inside and outside of your home.
Take your dog to the vet about a week after you adopt. Your dog will be up to date on vaccines, but heartworm prevention is prescription-only. Your dog should be on heartworm and flea/tick prevention 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. There are two common things that can occur in kennel environments: 1 - 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. So, if your dog develops a croupy cough please call your vet! 2 - 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 to recheck their stool now that they have moved into their new home . 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's a great way to control cost & ensure your dog gets the care they need.
If you opted out of health insurance and find yourself with a large unexpected vet bill, there are resources to help you with those overwhelming medical costs:
Finding Somewhere to Live
If you need to find a new rental property & are 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 and/or cats. Make use of these filters to look for your new home.
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.