Upon Arrival and the First Few Days
Treats are a GREAT idea – I love freeze dried chicken chips – they are 100% natural and dogs just die over them; non-fattening and you can give as many as you need to gain his trust and admiration. Bring a bowl with water. He/she will be thirsty.
If you can bring a collar and leash, it would be great but we know it’s tough to know a size for the collar – my two use a medium sized one – no choke chains or anything like them please. A really good thing to do now is go to a Wal-Mart or pet store and get an ID tag made for your dog to bring w/ you on the new collar or to put on the one he/she comes with (which I promise will be nothing fancy!!). Have their name (whatever you will be calling him/her, your phone # at least; if you have two different phone #’s, it’s great – you don’t have to have your street address but the town you live in would be great.
After you get home and settled, if you can mail us back the old collars and the tag we have o n the dog with our phone #’s, it would be fantastic. We try to recycle them as much as possible
As for a name change typically we say go for it and suggest it wholeheartedly – first, we probably gave them the name if they were strays/ in the shelter and so they are not that used to it; second, if we didn’t give him/her the name, there’s a chance he may have been abused or at least yelled at a lot so he may associate his name with something bad!! Whatever you name him/her, start calling them that the minute you get them. For older dogs that we know are owner surrenders, best to not change it unless you feel strongly about it.
He’ll need a good walk to do any business he might have to do; he may not have any and he may not for the first 24 hours – it’s all an adjustment thing. The best thing to do is as soon as you get home, find a place that is acceptable for him to go, the same place in the yard etc so he knows where he is supposed to go; one thing I just learned to is it’s important for you to both use the same word when referring to a specific action, i.e. pee? Say it in a happy voice – sounds so funny, doesn’t it? But my dogs now know that “pee” means we are just running out into the yard for a quick pee at their spot and back in. Walk means going out across the street to the school field so now they even know to stop at the bucket I keep their collars and leashes in – and “ride” means the big reward…
Treats, treats for good behavior at first will do wonders! Constantly give them, then slowly diminish the amount and timing. They will always expect them and thus will try harder.
Diet and Food
As for his diet change, your dog will have had 2-3 different foods by the time they arrive so they may have diarrhea and upset tummy problems.
I also just learned this week two different things below. And, honestly some dogs have no problems whatsoever. I switch my dogs food just about every 6 months (they get bored) and they have never had a problem.
- Add Pedialyte (75:25) to the water (it’s for babies available in all drug stores – non-flavored). This helps babies with diarrhea to keep their electrolytes in balance and also works wonders for dogs! You do this for a few days and his diarrhea will subside and they should not have the typical gaunt about to pass out look.
- To help with diarrhea, 3 parts oatmeal to 1 part cottage cheese -feed for a day or two and then slowly introduce your new food!
As for food, I personally use either EVO little bites beef or Solid gold – the key thing is – the first 4-5 ingredients should not be “filler” or grain – should say things like, beef, lamb etc. EVO does not have “grain” in it and thus I prefer it and have found my dogs look fantastic on it. You can check out EVO at http://www.evopet.com/products/default.asp?id=1491. Also on that website are other “organic” foods that are all good. You can find most of them in a lot of pet stores but maybe not PETCO or PET SMART – I get mine at a smaller store that only carries organic and what they consider healthy items!
I also cook my dogs either a chicken or leg of lamb a lot of the time (and roast beef too); first, I eat some of it and they love it and it’s natural so it’s healthy for them -I remove as much of the fat as I can. There’s also good lines of canned food that I mixed in as well – but, if you get him used to just dry food of the bat, this may not be an issue.
I myself am reading The Loved Dog by Tamar Geller (I have it on CD – it’s great to listen too) on training – she is a positive reinforcer, no choke chains, discipline methods, (i.e nose slapping etc); it’s all about how to make training fun and just get the dog to WANT to do what you want him to do; it’s fascinating and really gives you insight into how they think and know how to manipulate us! (I’m so guilty of that!) You might want to grab it if you have time.
If you’ve decided they will be sleeping w/ you in bed, make sure they know it is a privilege – invite the dog up.
Toys, Chew, and Fun
As for chews toys, I shy away from anything plastic including Nylabones – and not everyone agrees with me on this – I do not understand the concept of a dog chewing for an hour or so on plastic, no matter how hard it is. I actually give my dog raw meat bones (small ones you buy in a supermarket); my vet would kill me if he knew this there are parasites etc; however, my dogs have never been sick from it, are healthy as horses and it occupies them for hours on end; some people boil them to get rid of the marrow – for an overweight dog this makes sense but mine are small and get tons of exercise so the fat doesn’t seem to be a problem for them. Good chews keep their teeth white as does a good dry food. I also buy natural treats, i.e. lamb shoulders, buffalo tendons, pigs ears that are low fat (and they just love them).
I never leave them alone with a treat that is anywhere near the size where the dog might choke on it (chewing it down to that size).