During this time of isolation, many people have reached out to adopt dogs. Shelters have seen adoptions increase and that is good news for pet parents, and especially for dogs. Adopted dogs often have special needs—most of them come with a level of fear and anxiety. I have adopted a dog who has only been with us for one month, and he still is not totally comfortable with me touching him. Much love and patience are essential. Remember, you are excited, but your dog may be fearful and overwhelmed with the new experience.
Pet Parent Question: We have adopted a dog, but house training seems very hard for him to get and he doesn’t seem to know what to do with toys. What can we do to help him?
Some adopted dogs do well when there is already a dog in the home to teach the adopted dog what I like to call “all things dog.” House training is one of those teachable things. The adopted dog will look to and mimic what the other dog does. Learning how to play with toys can also be learned from another dog. If you have no other dog in the home, you can still be successful as a pet parent. Treat your newly adopted dog as though he was a 9-week-old puppy and use positive crate training to house train him. Interact with tug toys and a ball he can learn to fetch. Basic obedience training will be a great help for both of you.
Donna Chicone is an award-winning author, TEDx speaker and advocate for dogs. She lives in Woodbury. You might find her engaged in pet-assisted therapy work.