We know that sometimes despite your best efforts, like following our “How to Avoid Picking the Wrong Pet” advice, you can end up with a dog that feels like the farthest thing possible from the “best” match for your home. Maybe you rescued a pet off the street, or inherited one when a family member passed, or you stepped up to save a coworker’s pet who was on their way to the pound. Whatever the reason, first we want to thank you for helping the pet in need! Before you make the drastic decision of trying to find a new home for your new dog, we are here to encourage you to take a deep breath, and see if you can give your new dog a TWO-WEEK TEST by trying these tips below first. These are the three top reasons we hear as to why a new dog might be deemed as “too” fill-in-the-blank and about-to-be rehomed. In just two weeks, your efforts could turn your Disaster Dog into your will-soon-be Perfect Pet! After all, remember perfect pets aren’t born that way – it takes time, love, patience and attention to good behavior to help make and keep your pet perfect for you.

1. “My new dog is too active.”

Dogs in a new home can appear to be out of control… but wait! Give them time to settle in, adjust to a new routine (yours, the one you set and keep for them), and you as their new pack leader. If your dog just came from a shelter or rescue boarding facility, he or she might have pent up extra energy from living in a cage for some time. Excess energy from kenneling will dissipate as your new adopted friend settles in to your new lifestyle. Sign up for a training session immediately. Basic obedience training can be a complete makeover for a dog with excess energy, as it exercises their mind as well as their body. Make sure to walk your dog every day as much as you can! Try throwing the ball or a toy around outside every morning while you drink your cup of coffee so that some of that energy can burn out. How about Doggie daycare? Enrolling in dog agility? Daily trips to an off-leash dog park? A dog walker mid-day if you are gone all day? Finding a neighbor or friend with another energetic dog for dogsitting swapping so the two dogs can play and tire each other out? Rollerblading, skateboarding, or bicycling with the dog? The possibilities are almost endless! Here are some more great ideas to turn your “too active” pooch into a well-behaved pet:
You’d be amazed at the transformation that a too-active dog can make when they are trained and exercised.

2. “My new dog is too noisy.”

“My landlord says my new dog barks too much, and has to go.” “My neighbors are complaining.” No one likes a dog that barks too much. New dogs are more likely to bark or cry in their new home. Sad, lonely, anxious or bored — dogs that aren’t happy when you leave can make a lot of noise trying to let you know! Check out our article Help your dog stop crying when left alone which includes tips like playing calming music for your pet while you leave – such as Through a Dog’s Ear which many people say helps calm and quiet their dogs.

Your local rescue organization and local dog trainers can also be great sources of information and help if your dog is too noisy, so that your dog can lead a happy life in your home.

3. “My new dog is too unfriendly with my pets.”

So many dogs get returned to shelters after just one day for this reason, which is really sad and so often unnecessary. Dogs take time to settle in, and need their owner’s help with slow and safe introductions to other pets. Animals also take a while to develop relationships and bonds with one another. Try these how-to introduce your new dog properly articles for two weeks, and give your new dog a fair chance of getting along with your current pets:

3. “My new dog is too aggressive.”

Dog aggression is extremely complex to understand, and if you do not have a lot of experience interpreting why a dog is being aggressive, trying to fix the problem incorrectly can make it worse. We would avoid giving advice on how to handle dog aggression in writing, other than to say you should consult a professional dog behaviorist, who has references from past clients whom they’ve helped fix a similar dog aggression problem. Sometimes all it takes is one “session” with a good behaviorist to train YOU and the dog, and hopefully get you on the right path to reducing and eventually eliminating a dog that is acting aggressively.

4. “My new dog is too…”

There are other reasons we’ve heard for returning a newly adopted pet too, and many of them could have been fixed if the new owner was able and willing to ask for help from experienced dog caretakers in their community like dog rescuers, shelter staff, volunteers, behaviorists, and trainers. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how willing people will be to try to help you keep your newly adopted dog! Dogs aren’t always perfect, but with a little time, effort, and these tips above we hope you can become perfect for one another!

Written by Jennifer Warner, Adopt-a-Pet.com’s Director of Shelter Outreach and edited by Katya Friedman, CASI certified dog trainer.