Resources for Adopters
Helpful Information for our adopters
We want to make sure that you and your new dog get off on the right paw!
We’ve put together this collection of information to help ensure a smooth transition. Have a question about something not discussed below? Please CONTACT US!
BEFORE you may take possession of your new buddy, FOHA needs receipt of:
The full adoption donation. This may be paid via:
Money Order made out to “Friends of Homeless Animals” and hand delivered to the dog’s foster guardian.
Cash hand delivered to the dog’s foster guardian.
A completed adoption contract which will be sent to you via email once you have been approved for your adoption. This completed contract may be delivered to FOHA via scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax to 208-977-0836 or hand delivered to the dog’s foster guardian.
Please keep a copy for your records which is your proof of ownership.
Your Dog’s Point of View
To help you build a strong foundation of trust, confidence and happiness with your new pet, please put yourself in your dog’s paws.
Imagine being air-dropped, alone, into a strange country where nothing is familiar, you do not know anyone, the rules of acceptable behavior have changed and you cannot speak the language. It would be confusing, if not downright scary, and you would be bound to offend a few people before you got the hang of things. This is probably how your new dog is going to feel, although he may not show his confusion. As far as he knows, you are just another part of the parade of people who have passed through his life lately and your home is just another stopover. This journey started when his family gave him up, he became lost, or he was confiscated by the government on grounds of abuse or neglect; he may have been under stress or neglected in his past life or frightened by being homeless. It is now up to you to make him feel loved and secure, and work through his confusion.
Now that you have had the opportunity to consider this new relationship from the dog’s point of view, we know you will do your best to make the strange new land into a safe and happy home.
Below we have listed out some common things to think about during this transition period.
Before you pick-up your new dog, you will want to prepare your house and family for the new member.
You will want to “dog-proof” your home. Any items that your new dog should not have access to should be removed from the floor and/or his reach. If you have children, you will want to discuss expectations about their toys.
You will also want to make sure you have a collar/harness/leash and ID tag for your new dog. The id tag should be attached to his/her collar or harness immediately and should be worn at all times – it could save your dog’s life and lots of grief in finding them if they should go missing. If the dog is microchipped, you will need to notify the microchip company with their new information. That paperwork will be in your dog’s packet when you pickup them up.
A crate is always a good idea, too. See below for more information on how to use these supplies.
You will want to establish a relationship with a veterinary for your new dog as soon as possible. We strongly recommend scheduling a new dog visit with your vet even before you pick up your new dog.
You will also want to have answers to questions like the following:
Where will the dog be allowed (and not allowed)?
Will he be allowed on the furniture?
Where will he sleep?
Where will he be fed?
What times will he be fed?
Who will feed him?
When will he be taken out for potty-breaks?
Where will he be taken for potty-breaks?
Will the dog be allowed human food scraps?
How many treats is he allowed?
Food & Water
Always be sure to have fresh water available.
Please try to find out what food he was being fed previously. If you want to change foods, please slowly transition to the new food over the course of 5-7 days, mixing the new food with the old food in increasing proportions, to avoid stomach upset and loose stools. Have white rice on hand (see below).
Use a high quality age-appropriate food in small bites form. Please do not purchase any brands available at the regular grocery store. The better quality ones like Blue Buffalo, Nature’s Variety, and Wellness are sold at most vets, Petco or Petsmart stores). Please do not feed your dog any foods on the recall list. You can view dog food reviews here: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/
For puppies, moisten the kibble with warm water and let stand to soften for few minutes & feed 3 – 4 times a day – amount depends on size of pup.
For adults, feed two times a day (morning and evening). The amount will depend on size of dog and the food; read the recommendation on the bag.
To help with the transition, training and bonding, you will want to think about having treats on hand.
You will want your dog to be comfortable and stimulated in his new home. Please consider purchasing a dog bed and toys for your new dog; it may take a few purchases to understand what beds/toys your dog prefers, but if you look at it as an adventure, you can have fun with it. Also, please be sure your new dog has plenty of healthy chew type toys (NO rawhide, Greenies or Corn Cobs as these can cause severe choking and/or intestinal blockage & kill your dog!).
It is also a good idea to purchase pet cleaning supplies in advance of the arrival of your new dog, as accidents during the transition period are likely, even with housetrained dogs.
You will have arranged pick-up of your new dog.
The Pick Up
Crates are always a good idea when you are picking up a new dog, as they offer protection as well as a sense of security for your dog. If no crate is available, please ensure that your dog is fitted with a well-fitting harness, slip collar, or choke chain so that he can’t slip out of the restraint if panicked or aroused. While in the car, please tether your dog with the handle of the leash securely locked in with the seatbelt so that if you open the door, he will not escape. This is a very common occurrence and can lead to tragedy.
Please treat your new dog as a HIGH FLIGHT RISK until you have reason to believe otherwise. This is particularly true if you are picking up your dog directly from transport, but can be equally true with a dog that has been in foster care.
It is best to NOT bring other family pets to the pick-up. We know you are eager to start your new family together, but this will add an unnecessary element of complexity and stress to the pick-up that could result in an unsafe or undesirable situation.
Things to Bring
It is always a good idea to come prepared to the pick-up with:
Wet wipes/paper towels for accidents
A friend/partner to help
*these things are critical.
Please do not rush off with your new dog to show them off to family, friends, neighbors, etc. Please allow your dog some quiet time for a couple of days to rest and recover from all the changes.
If you have children or pets at home, please introduce your dog carefully.
Introducing Kids: If you have kids, NEVER leave kids alone unsupervised with a new dog! You will have to use your best judgment and common sense thereafter as you know your child best.
Introducing Dogs: Introduce the dogs on NEUTRAL territory. Have each dog on a leash with one adult. Allow the dogs to sniff each other and get acquainted. Once they seem to be getting along, then still with leashes on, walk side by side back to your home and have them enter the house together. Leave their leashes on in case you need to grab one quickly – it is much easier to grab a leash and control the dog than to grab the dog, especially if a fight breaks out. Once you feel certain that everything is fine between the dogs, you can remove the leashes while in the house.
Introducing Dogs and Cats: Set up a crate in the house. Put the dog in the crate before the cat and dog meet/see each other. Introduce the cat to the room with the crate/dog and allow the cat 10-20 minutes to smell the dog and investigate the new presence. If no crate is available, skip this part of the introduction. Put the dog on a leash with an adult. Enter a space that has an escape route for the cat – a room with a counter, a perch, a door to another room, etc. – via which the dog cannot follow. Holding the leash firmly and at a set length, allow the dog and cat to sniff each other and get acquainted. Allow this to happen for 5-10 minutes. Once they seem to be getting along, then still with leash on, walk around rooms in your house. Leave your dog’s leash on in case you need to grab it quickly and most importantly, please make sure that your cat ALWAYS has an escape route.
Please note: contrary to popular belief, with dogs that have passed cat tests, injuries from dog-cat interactions are most commonly presented on the dog.
It will take time for your dog to bond with you. Offer love and guidance but never force yourself on the new dog. Children must be supervised closely when with your new dog and contact should be limited during this time. Keeping the environment quiet for the first few days will be important. Allow your dog to get comfortable with your home and new rules before he meets your friends, co-workers and the neighborhood.
Your dog may drink an excessive amount of water his first week; this is due to stress. If he is already house-trained, he may have a mistake in the house. To help prevent this, try to be aware of the water intake and give him plenty of potty breaks. Be consistent about what door he goes out so he can begin to let you know when he needs to go out.
All dogs are den animals and most will feel secure and comfortable in a crate (wire type or plastic airline approved type). Please consider purchasing one for your dog and use it as a safe haven for your dog and a tool for housetraining. Walmart, Kmart, Ocean State Job Lot carry crates at a reasonable price. See the link below for an explanation about crates and crate training:
Dogs are eager to please their owners. Importantly, though, they must FIRST be worked with to understand the rules. It is your job to communicate clear rules in a way that your dog can understand. Be sensitive to the fact that in your dog’s previous home, he may have been encouraged to sit on the sofa, beg for food, jump up for attention, or play roughly. If these are behaviors that will not be acceptable in your home, TEACH HIM, DO NOT BLAME HIM.
Be kind and patient. Dogs can be very sensitive, and often a calm but firm verbal reprimand is enough.
Dogs need repetition and consistency to learn. Instruct him in a positive way so that he does not feel defensive or confused. Reward him for good behavior with treats, hugs and a happy voice.
Corrections for inappropriate behavior should be used SPARINGLY.
Make him familiar with key words that elicit certain behaviors. Along with the regular commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’, it is very helpful to teach him ‘off, give’ or ‘trade’, ‘leave it,’ and other terms that will foster communication.
We strongly suggest an obedience class, even if your dog comes with training. You will find it a fun and rewarding way to bond with your new family member and no dog is ever too old to learn. Obedience classes are a great environment for dogs that need to improve social skills with people and dogs. Classes are also a resource for information and support as your dog and you adjust. Many adopters have found classes to be just as or more helpful for them (the humans) than they are for the dogs.
As your dog settles in and starts to learn the rules in his new home he will get more comfortable. See below for more information on training.
Be realistic about your expectations during the transition period. Never assume that your dog can cope with all the new situations in his life without a problem or two. Set up precautionary measures when he is alone in the house, when he first meets new children, when around unfamiliar dogs and get him outside more often to help him to adjust to a new toileting schedule. Living by the old saying–an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure– will prove wise during this time.
Be positive, be consistent, work out a daily routine and use lots of encouragement; your new friend wants to please you.
Please take your new dog and a stool sample to your vet within the first two weeks. This is good to start to establish a relationship with your veterinary.
While we worm our dogs at least once, please expect to have to worm your new dog at least once more as worms are almost always present.
Expect some loose stools the first few days due to the stress of trip and the changes in food/water. Please have white rice on hand and offer your dog a fifty/fifty blend of overcooked white rice and dog food if loose stools present.
When a dog is stressed, often the Coccidia that are normally present in the gut overpopulate, causing bloody, mucous diarrhea with a very strong iron blood smell. This sometimes happens when placing a dog in a new environment or when transported a long distance. If this is the case, your dog will need to go to the vet and get 10 days worth of Albon. That medication will take care of the Coccidia overgrowth and prevent dehydration related to the diarrhea that can be fatal if not treated.
Be sure your dog is drinking plenty of fresh water. If your dog has diarrhea, offer him Pedialyte as it will help restore his electrolytes & reverse dehydration. If prolonged diarrhea, mucous or blood in stool, lack of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, nasal or eye discharge (white or green color) or anything you feel is abnormal please CALL THE VET IMMEDIATELY AND CALL FOHA AS WELL so we can contact other owners that may have been exposed to your dog prior to adoption.
You will receive medical papers for your dog. If these papers were not transferred to you, please contact us. All adult dogs have received all of their shots including rabies and are already spayed/neutered (unless there are medical concerns specific to the dog).
The transition time for each dog is different, taking from a few weeks to a few months for him to completely adjust to his new life. Like people, each dog deals with change and stress in his own way. Some dogs will be overly active, other dogs will be a bit depressed by the loss of family and surroundings, some are needy and clingy, still others might be a bit defensive and worried, and then there are those dogs that take it in stride. No matter what your dog’s reaction, remember to go slowly, start teaching the new rules from day one and be respectful and compassionate to the difficulty of being air-dropped into a different world.
For the first month or two, be extremely careful when taking your dog “out and about”. Do not assume that he will come to you when called or he will automatically stay with you on a walk. Use a harness, slip collar, well-fitted collar, choke chain, or prong collar when out walking so he can’t slip out of the restraint if panicked or aroused. Most importantly DO NOT ALLOW HIM OFF LEASH in unfenced areas for the first few weeks and NOT UNTIL YOU ARE 110% SURE HE WILL COME WHEN CALLED, EVEN WHEN DISTRACTED. Getting your new dog to come when called takes practice and must always be a positive experience (food rewards combined with praise work well). Remember not to let him off leash except in very safe areas that are far from cars and only when you have complete control.
Obedience training is a wonderful way to bond with your dog and help you make a companion for life with your new dog. Places like Petco or PetSmart offer courses geared to both puppies and adult dogs. These classes cover potty training, obedience, etc. There is also a lot of good information on the Internet and at the local library for free. Remember that a good schedule works wonders with training.
Every month, each dog needs to be give a heartworm preventative. All dogs MUST receive a monthly heart worm pill (Interceptor, Sentinel or HeartGuard Plus). You must obtain these drugs from your vet.
All dogs can get fleas or ticks, so please consult your vet for the type of product that is appropriate for your dog.
Your dog’s nails should be kept trim to prevent injury and/or discomfort. Nail clipping may be needed as often as once every few weeks, depending upon your dog.
If you are adopting an adult dog, please be sure to schedule annual physicals and shots with your vet each and every year to prevent illness and/or death. This is very important. Just as with humans, dogs need ongoing preventative care to maintain optimal health.
Also, please test annually for heartworm disease. Your vet will be able to recommend other regular tests that should be performed depending upon the specific activities/lifestyle/condition of your dog (eg, lyme, thyroid, etc).
Please remember that just as with any relationship, your relationship with your dog will require ongoing love, care and maintenance. While the first few weeks and months may be the most intense, you will want to reinforce positive behavior, provide regular stimulation and exercise, and support his physical and emotional health throughout your dog’s life.
Caring for a dog is not a commitment to take lightly, but we are confident that with the above information, you will provide a wonderful home to one of our rescue dogs. And remember: YOU are the real heroes because without adopters like you, we could not continue to rescue them!!!
Congratulations, and thank you for opening your heart and home to a rescue dog!
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US or YOUR VET.
There is also a lot of great information on the internet about all of these subjects as well as dog training, potty training, etc. Type in the subject you want info on into this website and you will get TONS of free info: www.google.com