Building Success With Your Shelter Dog: Getting Started

Adopting your new best friend is the start of an exciting adventure!  Every shelter dog comes with a history that includes her stay in the shelter.  To help her transition from shelter life and into your home, here are a few things you can do to get started.

Expect an Adjustment Period.  The amount of adjustment time needed will vary from dog to dog.  Keep in mind the loving home that you are giving her is very different from the kennel environment.  Shelter life, while often well-structured, can be stressful.  Kennels with barking dogs and many people coming and going throughout the day provide constant stimulation and prevent relaxation.   Be prepared for her to have some difficulty relaxing.  To help her relax, provide a quiet, safe place that she can call her own, such as a crate.

Crate Training your dog is a wonderful way to set her up for success by providing a quiet, safe space to relax, while simultaneously giving you the ability to manage behavior.  Crate training your dog helps prevent anything in your home from being soiled or destroyed.  As she adjusts to the daily routine in your home, you can begin to give her more freedom outside of the crate.  Visit the CHS website for more information on how to crate train your dog and other training tips.

Enroll Her in a Training Class.  While CHS strives to teach all dogs in care basic training skills to help them in their fur-ever homes, training your dog is not just about teaching him to perform a command.  In addition to the benefits of learning good manners and socialization, enrolling in a training class helps to build the bond between you and your new companion.  Learning and growing together provides a firm foundation of trust between the two (or three, or more) of you, while enhancing and enriching the relationship with your dog. Could there be anything better?  Visit the website for more information on training classes offered at the Connecticut Humane Society.

Stick to a Schedule.  Dogs, especially those who have lived in a shelter, thrive on having a routine.  It aids them in adjusting to their new home.  Predictability of feeding, walking and playtime provides stability and helps reduce the stress incurred with adjusting to a new home.

Be Consistent and Be Prepared.  It is important that your dog begins learning the rules of her new home right away.  She deserves to be provided with clear guidelines, and to have positive training experiences from day one.  This means that everyone in your immediate family should know, understand, and agree to the rules before your new arrival comes home.  These rules should include such things as whether or not the dog is allowed on the furniture, who feeds the dog and where she is fed (and who is responsible for managing children while the dog is eating), the planned sleeping location for your dog (dog bed, crate confinement, room confinement), as well as who is responsible for walking/exercising your dog.  By preparing these rules ahead of time, there is less opportunity for confusion and more opportunity to set everyone up for success, including your dog.

While these few tips will help you to build success with your shelter dog, remember that our behavior staff is here to support you and your new best friend with any behavior concerns or questions, should the need arise.

Building Success With Your Shelter Dog: Getting Started

Connecticut Humane Society

701 Russell Road, Newington, CT 06111
800-452-0114 | FAX 860-665-1478 
The Connecticut Humane Society is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 06-0667605
Copyright 2013 Connecticut Humane Society

Copyright 2013 Connecticut Humane Society