What to Expect Once You Adopt
Congratulations on having adopted a dog from
Doxie By Proxy Rescue, Inc.!
You have done a wonderful thing in adopting a rescue dog! You have given a homeless dachshund a second chance, you have replaced neglect with love and care, and you have helped to reduce the severe pet overpopulation problem. We are grateful to you and want to help make the transition as easy as possible—both for you and for your new dog.
When you bring a new dog into your home, the dog who walks through your front door for the first time is not the same dog who will be coming in from a walk a week or two later. Dogs have personalities and emotions, and these are naturally affected by a major change in their lives. A dog will need some time to adjust to a new environment and family, so please be extra-patient with your new dog for the first week or two.
The Power of Three
Here are some behaviors your new dog might display in the first few days with you, and some things you can do to prevent or deal with them. Please keep in mind as you go through this process that there is so much power in the magic of 3 — 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months and 3 years!
After the first 3 days you can generally see a shift — a dog that may not be eating when they first come to you will start eating on day 3.
3 Days - A dog that is mourning their foster home generally will start to plug into the home and relax on day 3.
3 Weeks - By 3 weeks you will see a settling of the pack order. Dogs that may have had rifts and pecking order issues will generally start to dissipate by week 3 together (this is also why our trial period for adoption is 3 weeks — because we feel like it is a very good indicator of how that dog might behave in your home setting after 3 weeks of being there).
3 Months - By 3 months you will notice a much more confident dog that knows they are safely in their forever home.
It is very common for dogs, even those who are perfectly housebroken, to have a few accidents after going to a new home—because of the change in their routine, confusion about the move and all the new smells in the new home, anxiety, or a desire to mark territory. In most cases, the accidents will stop quickly once the dog is on a regular potty routine.
So be sure to get your new dog into a consistent potty routine right away. For the first week or so, even if you have a securely fenced yard, go outside with your dog. Reward the dog with a high value treat and praise him when he has pottied outside. Good high value treats that we recommend — freeze dried dog treats, Gerber Baby Food Sausages (they come in both chicken and turkey and can be found in the baby food section in grocery stores), goat cheese or even deli meat. The idea is for the reward to have high value and only to be used for housetraining reinforcement in a positive manner. Positive reinforcement is the best training method and should be used as an immediate praise! Do not scold the dog if an accident happens. Just ignore the dog and clean the accident up. Any attention directed at the dog when an accident occurs, even if negative attention like scolding or spanking, will confuse and even potentially worsen the potty training issues. If the spot is on carpet, be sure to use a good enzyme-based stain remover to eliminate odor, as well as the stain.
It’s not uncommon for a dog—even a dachshund!—to lose its appetite for a while after going to a new home. Feeding the dog tasty human foods is NOT the best way to handle this problem! Giving your new dog a slice of pepperoni pizza or a hot dog or a big chunk of cheese may stimulate him to eat, but it will also plant the idea in his mind that this is the kind of meal he can expect in his new home. It could further encourage the dog to go on a food strike to see when the filet mignon is going to be served. A healthy dog with no medical conditions will generally eat when they are hungry enough to do so — please do not fear that they will starve to death, that is not something a healthy dachshund will ever die from.
Instead, offer your new dog a meal of the same food she was eating in her foster home. (If you want to switch to a different dog food, do it gradually, to avoid digestive upsets.) Put the food bowl down, give the dog a few minutes, and if she doesn’t eat it, take it up again and wait until the next scheduled meal. As with housebreaking, the goal is to get your dog into a set of routines. Dogs love routines! They make dogs feel safe and secure. If you want to add a little something to the dog’s food to stimulate appetite, try one of the vitamin-enriched gravies, bone broth (be sure to avoid broths that use onions for flavoring), or a spoonful or two of baby food (plain meat with gravy). When the dog is sufficiently hungry, they will eat. We do encourage feeding two times daily for a better routine and we strongly encourage researching the dog food you choose — a helpful site to research pet food ratings is www.dogfoodadvisor.com
Being Withdrawn And Behavior Changes
Imagine that you were transported one day from the home where you were happy and comfortable, taken to a strange place with strange people, and left there by the person you had been living with. It would take you some time to adjust, wouldn’t it? The same is true for dogs. Sometimes a dog will sit at the front door or window for several hours after his foster parents have left, waiting for them to return. Don’t take it personally!
Don’t worry if your new dog is a little withdrawn at first. She is just getting her bearings
and adjusting to her new situation. Dogs who have been rescued from shelters or puppy mills
may take even longer to reveal their true personalities in their new homes. In the meantime, the dog may
find a “safe” place in your home and spend most of her time there, not want to play very much, or not want to
it in your lap. Give the dog time to get used to her new family and surroundings: Don’t try to force a dog who doesn’t want to play or be held! Instead, take your dog for lots of walks and speak happily to your dog often, to get him used to the sound of your voice (which will soon become the most beloved sound in his world!). Remember that dogs love the sound of their own names. A good way to bond with your new dog is to let the dog sleep in bed with a family member, but do this ONLY if you plan to allow the dog to sleep there permanently! It is very difficult to switch a dog from sleeping in a human bed to sleeping alone on the floor or in a crate.
Finally, we know you want to show off your new dog to all of your friends and family. But for the dog’s sake, wait a while before bringing lots of new people into your house. Remember: Every new person means a new adjustment. Please know that when your new dog is adopted to you the foster family will provide you with as much information is as known about your new pet’s personality. But dogs act differently in different circumstances and packs. Many of our foster homes are accustomed to folding new dogs into their packs — and likewise, their packs are accustomed to folding new dogs into the pecking order. So there will be times that behaviors arise that were not observed in their foster home. In the event new behaviors arise that are ever concerning to you, it is best to reach out to the foster mom or adoption coordinator for advice. We are here to help and assist — because a successful adoption is a priceless match for both the adopter and the dog — and is all the foster home ever truly wants!
Crying or Barking when Left Alone
On the first few days of being left alone in a new home, a dog may cry or bark if left all alone for long periods. Again, keep in mind that the dog is not used to your routine yet: When you leave, the dog doesn’t know whether you will ever come back! If you have another dog, this problem is less likely to occur. If you don’t, try leaving a radio or TV on while you’re gone, to provide the sound of human voices and also a mask for noises that might trigger barking. Leave toys for your dog too, to occupy his mind. A good toy for this purpose is a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or dog biscuits—which requires some work and can keep your dog occupied for a long time.
Dogs, especially young dogs, get a sense of comfort from chewing. If your dog is not confined when left alone, be sure to keep items like shoes, baskets, and kids’ toys locked away or up on a counter or shelf where the dog can’t reach them. If you are going to confine your dog to a kitchen or laundry room when you’re gone, use an expandable gate to keep the dog confined, rather than just shutting a door. Some dogs will chew at a closed door if left alone in a new place.
If you catch your dog in the act of chewing something forbidden, don’t just try to snatch it away. Take a treat—something your dog really loves—a dog biscuit or chew—and hold it out toward your dog while giving the command, “Drop it” or “Leave it.” As soon as the dog has dropped the forbidden item, praise him and let him have the treat. This will teach him to surrender an item safely when you want to take it away.
A Final Word
Please understand that some dogs will display some of these behaviors, while others will display none. Some may take a day or two to adjust, some may take a week or two. It all depends on the dog. But being prepared in advance, so that problems can be avoided, rather than corrected after the fact, will be helpful to both you and your new dog.
Keep in mind that these behaviors are temporary. Don’t panic if they occur. It’s important to give your new dog time to relax, feel secure in a new situation, and begin to trust you and look to you as the new “pack leader.” A little patience goes a long way! Please do not hesitate to reach out to the foster mom for advice or help, we prefer to help in the beginning of new behaviors instead of when they have progressed to someone getting hurt or putting the pet in jeopardy. We have all been fostering for many years and can generally offer words of advice or further direction pretty easily.