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Help! My new dog is too…

Posted by Jennifer on September 14th, 2011

We know that sometimes despite all your best efforts, like following our “How to Avoid Picking the Wrong Pet” advice, you end up with a dog that seems like he is 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 or friend of a friend’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! But before you decide on anything drastic like trying find a new home for your new dog, we are here to encourage you to take a DEEP breath, and see if you can’t give your new dog a TWO-WEEK TEST and try these tips first! Below are the three top reasons why a new dog might be deemed as “too” fill-in-the-blank and about to be abandoned… and how in just two-weeks (and with some effort on your part) you could turn your disaster dog into your will-soon-be-your-perfect pet! After all, remember perfect pets don’t just come that way – it takes time, love, patience and attention to the good behavior to help your pet be 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 their new routine (yours, the one you set 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 be pent up with extra energy at first having been living in a cage for some time! It will dissipate as your new adopted friend settles in to the new lifestyle. Sign up for a training session immediately. 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 hyper dog can make when they are trained and exercised. No one knows exactly why, but even just basic obedience training  can be a dog makeover for a dog with excess energy.

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 should be great sources of information and help, so that your dog can lead a happy life in her new 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 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 never give 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 fixing the problem!

4. “My new dog is too…”

There are other reasons we’ve heard for returning a newly adopted pet too, but so many of them could be fixed if the new owner were willing to give their new dog a 2-week test, and during those two weeks, ask for help from experienced dog people in their community like dog rescuers, shelter staff, volunteers & trainers. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how willing people will be to try to help you keep your newly adopted dog! No dog is perfect just like no person is – but with a little time you can become perfect for one another! Thank you for keeping to your commitment and sticking by your dog.

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

 
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