Guide to Helping your Adopted Dog Adjust

In the first days your dog is home she should be supervised at all times. If you are not able to supervise, use a crate, training pen, or dog
safe room to confine your dog until you can. When she is not within  sight of you, she needs to be in the type of situation where she cannot
practice unwanted behaviors.

Adopted dogs make great pets and settle in easier with good planning.

Barking, pacing, and other behaviors that reinforce poor impulse control can be self rewarding to your new dog. Instead, you want to reinforce good behaviors as they occur
when your dog is near to set your new dog up for success. Otherwise, you tend to forget and miss training opportunities, which makes
training take weeks or months longer.


1. Family Meeting- On the way home, or on your first night together, agree to what rules
you will have for your new dog. Rules such as sitting before doorways, not jumping up, and what cues you will use in training. For example, will “Down” mean lay down, get off the furniture, or no jumping? It can only mean one thing to your new dog. The more consistent your family is, the easier life will be for you new pup.

2. Kennel- Kennel training gives your dog a safe place to hide and helps house training come much more quickly. It also prevents your dog from being able to chew when you are not home.

3. Enrichment Feeders- Instead of standard food bowls, allow your dog to chase and play
for their daily kibble. Have lots of FROZEN stuffed rubber Kongs (feel free to mix up
what they are stuffed with to keep it exciting) ready and in the freezer for bored dogs.

4. Leash- When you get home, use a leash inside the house to keep your dog close, so he
can’t sneak off to practice bad behaviors like chewing or peeing indoors.

5. Routine– A routine is very reassuring and calming to your new dog. Try to pick a routine
and stick with it from day one. This should include potty breaks, playtime, walks, rest,
and feeding times.

6. Training– Group classes provide a level of distraction that DIY training normally doesn’t.
Group classes provide an excellent source of socialization that can not be achieved by
the unpredictability of a dog park setting.

7. Decompression- Use your best judgment, and based on the temperament of your new
dog, allow your new family member to relax after their big transition into home life during
your first few weeks together. Try to avoid having large gatherings or taking your dog to
heavily trafficked events until they’ve had time to adjust to their new life.

In this Learn to Earn program, the idea is to use everything your dog wants as rewards for training. Your dog will learn to earn
everything they want by politely and automatically saying
“Please” by sitting. If you want want your leash on, you sit. If
you want a door to open, you sit. If you want to be pet, you sit.
Sitting to say “please” teaches good manners.
For the fastest training, dogs should earn their meal throughout
the day when you are home. That means no food in the food
bowl. Instead, you’ll carry food around with you in your pockets,
in a bait bag, or have it available in easily accessible containers
throughout the house. This way, when you are home, you can
reward appropriate behaviors throughout the day.

The idea is to use everything your dogs wants to your advantage for training purposes. The dog
will learn to earn everything they enjoy through polite, appropriate behaviors. At the same time,
the dog will learn that performing undesirable behaviors such as jumping on you causes those
rewards to go away.

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