Hello fellow friends and welcome to another post! Rather than talking about what we have been up to, which has not really been much – routines are sooooo boringly good – Sas and I thought it would be a good idea to offer a helping paw for new or first time dog adoptees.
I know I have mentioned a few points in previous posts however we have been in contact with and contacted by ARK, on several occasions, to help promote and provide help with people who would like to adopt those who are Sasukes pack from Gifu, who are still at the shelter. So we thought now is the time to help provide a little bit more guidance, for Sas and I to share what happened to us and to basically provide a helping paw!
You’ve successfully adopted and are waiting for them to arrive home. What should we have before they arrive?
Before you welcome them home, I would recommend purchasing the following items:
Shop around for the best food or better still ask the shelter what they have been using or what their recommendations are.
Sasuke didn’t poop or pee for three days, which meant when he did – it was an explosion. The mats were a godsend even though he missed one slightly they are still really super useful for accidents. Always overestimate what you need regarding the poop and pee department.
The forage food mats are a good way to slowly interact without stressing your new guest. It allows them to see you provide the food and then they can hunt for it without making themselves sick through stress/binge eating.
Having a months supply of food, for you is financially better and takes the stress out of having to buy every couple of days or weeks. This is an important time for you both to bond and you really don’t want to be worrying about how much food you have/don’t have. A 12kg bag of dry food is good for Sas and lasts about a month and a half. I supplement it with wet food or human food that I have researched is ok for dogs.
Getting cheap squeaky toys gives you an out financially because they will get destroyed so they are good at building trust between you and your dog while teaching them not to destroy but if they do it’s ok!
Purchasing brushes to groom your dog is a good idea to get now as it’s been proven to help relax you both. Sasuke and I spent many an evening sitting side by side as I brushed is coat – him falling asleep and me zoning out and becoming calm after a difficult day at work. In fairness I don’t always have to brush him now, I massage him and we both fall asleep next to each other.
24-48 hours and beyond. What’s next?
This is going to be the most exciting and highly stressful time for you both. My recommendation would be to leave each other alone for a couple of hours. Go about your normal day to day activities with an eye to subtly watching your new permanent guest.
By leaving them alone you are allowing them to acclimate to a brand new environment, sight, sounds, smells, touches and tastes without overwhelming them. Slowly, over the course of several hours leave some food out leading up to their food bowl so they know where the food and water is. Its minimal interaction for maximum long term gain for you both.
You are probably going to be hyper aware that you have someone new in your home and will want to do everything you can to make them comfortable. This is ok. It’s going to feel like you won’t be good enough, or you’ll feel anxious if you’ve done/doing the right thing. Then probably sleepless nights because of the stress and anxiety of wanting to get it right.
This is ok. It is normal!
I cannot stress it enough but go at their pace. Not yours. Don’t rush playtime because you want it. Let them smell and explore. They will come to you and tell you they want to play. Or poop. Or pee. Or whatever.
Watch and learn from your dog. Learn their behaviour pattern.
It will be ok.
How long will it take for them to settle in?
That depends on you and more importantly your dog. For Sas it took 3 months and then another year before his full, and I mean FULL, personality to come out. Now we are like an old married couple yelling at each other because he wants the doors open and I want them closed. It’s freakin winter for crying out loud!
Knowing about the breed of your dog does not tell you about YOUR dog. They are generalizations however that can only help you with an out line. Get to know your dog. Take time. Bond. For example: Sasuke is a mixed breed; Hokkaido and Shiba. He has Shiba stubborn goofiness and the proud and intelligent stance of Hokkaido. These dogs are known to be independent and loyal.
No where does it say that they are demanding, snugly gorgeous crispy cookie bears who adore attention and kisses and like to bounce through river reeds. Nor does it say that they are vocally argumentative with a wicked streak of humor and are bed stealers. Of course the books don’t say that – because thats MY dog.
Routines should be implemented from the beginning where possible, in a slow and methodical way.
Start by introducing dinner time and breakfast time at a time suitable for you. Then a few hours later slowly introduce harness and lead to indicate walkies. If your dog is scared, like Sas was and to a degree still is, don’t force the issue. Let them get used to this signifying a walk but not actually go out for a walk. That can come a little bit later when you have gained a bit more trust with each other. This lets them know that it is also potty time.
This will seem weird however it is mentioned because – well – I hadn’t thought of it with Sas, didn’t know I had to and now I’m paying the price for it. Sigh.
BEDTIME routines are essential! Wind down your evening, let them know that 9.. 10.. 11pm is not the time for playing but for hugs, kisses and gentle belly rubs ready for bed.
Going to work for 12+ hours on two hours sleep is seriously not recommended!
Yes. Thats right. Languages!
Aside from dogs having their own way of communicating through barking etc, the language that the person who has cared for them at the shelter has spoken is also important.
Sasuke only understood Japanese commands – some of which I kept others I have had to teach him in English. This has made the learning and training experience that much longer. Quite frankly it has been a humbling experience and a steep learning curve for us both. We are slowly getting there.
Right with all that being said, Sas and I hope this helps in some small way in what to have ready and what to expect within the first 48hrs of your dogs homecoming and has provided steps to build on as guidance for the future.
We may add to this at a later date in the form of another post or even look to doing a podcast/you tube channel – I don’t know. If you have any questions please let us know and we will always answer them even its that we don’t know – yet!
See you all soon!
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