You have made a wonderful step towards your future, for both you and your newly adopted pet!
Coming Into Your Home
All dogs need structure/rules/boundaries for them to feel safe. They thrive on predictable routines. When your new dog arrives in your home, we suggest you allow them to potty, and take them straight to their kennel area (ideally somewhere that is easily accessible, but not right in the middle of everything in order to allow them to see you and your family without feeling threatened). An environment change can be a very overwhelming experience, therefore, avoid play sessions in these first few hours. Your new dog may whine or bark, but it’s important that you not over stimulate him or her too soon. Simply ignore him or her.
To encourage kennel skills, we encourage feeding meals in the kennel, however. Bonding can be increased by hand feeding, as well. It encourages trust and reassures the dog that you’re providing their necessities.
All potty outings for the first few days should be done ON LEASH in a fenced yard. Some dogs may become easily spooked and climb fences or look for escape routes. Until you know your dog’s habits and they are comfortable in their surroundings, please keep them on a leash at all times
THINK ABOUT IT. Imagine you just started a new job. You walk through the huge entrance to the building and you’re standing in the lobby trying to figure out which way to go. You don’t know where your office is. You don’t know where the break room is. You don’t know where the rest room is. And, you don’t know any of your coworkers. You feel lost/overwhelmed/nervous/anxious. Now imagine that same new job BUT as you walk into the building, a coworker walks up you and calmly says “Hi, welcome to XYZ Enterprise, follow me and I will show you around.” They give you the tour, they give you a welcome packet and they show you to your office. How much more relaxed and comfortable would you be in the second scenario? Your co-worker made you feel comfortable by guiding you and giving you information. NOT by hugging you or showering you with affection. That’s exactly the relaxed comfortable feeling you need to create for your newly adopted dog.
It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you read and understand this section because this may be the most important thing to know for your new family member.
NO free roam through the house, NO interactions with any other pets, NO visits from your friends and family, NO trips to Petco/Petsmart and No car rides (other than to the vet if necessary, NO rough play, NO wrestling, NO couch, NO beds, NO laps, NO kissy face).
The goal for these first few weeks is to help your dog learn the structure/rules/boundaries of your home. Introducing them to many new places, people, and sights will completely overwhelm them. PLEASE HEED OUR ADVICE. We cannot stress this enough. It is EXTREMELY important that you allow them to decompress before introducing them to these things!
When the time comes for introductions, you will need to be patient.
Dog To Dog Introductions
- More likely than not, our adoption coordinators will have already begun this process with you, but if not, please be sure to read carefully.
- The first step is to allow both your resident dog(s) and your new addition to meet LEASHED, in a NEUTRAL TERRITORY, with one handler per dog. If you have more than one resident dog, you need to introduce them ONE AT A TIME.
- Be sure to speak in positive tones, praising each dog for good behavior. No fussing or yelling, as you don’t want the dogs to associate each other with being scolded.
- Take a walk with the dogs. Walking in unison creates a positive response. Walk for 10-15 minutes without encouraging them to interact.
- Allow both dogs to greet and sniff, but watch their body language.
- GOOD: A play bow, where one dog bends their front legs and puts their hind end in the air. This is an invitation to play and a good sign. Tail wagging, where both dogs are constantly wagging their tails. Pawing at the other dog can be a cue to play.
- BAD: If you see one dog freeze, watch the eyes and tail for your next cues. Low growls, bearing teeth, a straight and stiff tail, and the hackles (hair on the back of the neck standing up) can mean trouble. If you see behaviors, calmly redirect the dogs by calling them towards you and walking a few feet in the opposite direction. Do not use treats as a distraction. You don’t want to reward the behavior.
- When both dogs are tolerating each other nicely while on leash, you may choose to allow them to play with a little more freedom. Leave the leashes attached, but drop them. With leashes attached to the collars, it makes regaining control much easier in case you need to break up their interaction.
- Remember, Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t rush interactions, simply try again the next day.
Dogs and Children
- If you have children, or frequent children visitors, in your household, remember to teach them to respect a dog’s boundaries. Children should never be left alone with a dog, no matter how comfortable they are around them.
- Teach your children to “Be A Tree” if they’re scared of them, stand tall, arms by your side or in front of you, and don’t move until they have walked away. A dog will easily become bored with the lack of interaction and will likely walk away when they’re disinterested.
Keep in mind that there may be some stomach upset as a result from both stress and food changes as the dog enters your home. Canned pumpkin (NOT PUMPKIN FILLING, 100% pure pumpkin) can be added to their meals to help soothe the stomach. If their tummy troubles are extreme, please contact your veterinarian.
If your dog’s foster home has told you what formula food they were previously feeding, you may opt to feed this food for a few days while they adjust to many changes and change their food at a later date. When you do so, to help their digestive system, it is recommended to do so gradually over the course of about a week. You’ll want to adjust increments by about 1/4 feeding.
Day 1: Full meal of old formula food
Day 2-3: ¼ measurement of the food you desire to use, and ¾ measurement of their old formula foo
Day 4: ½ and ½ mix of old and new foods
Days 5-6: ¾ measurement of new food, and ¼ measurement of old food
Day 7 on: Full meal of new formula food
If at any point your dog experiences extreme vomiting or diarrhea, cut back the amount of new food and transition a little more slowly.
Exercising the Mind, as well as the body
German Shepherds are high drive dogs. Most of them are not couch potatoes, and if left to their own devices, their active brains can get them in trouble.
Walks are an excellent way to not only get the physical exercise they crave, but the mental stimulation they need. Be sure to consult your adoption coordinator or a licensed trainer to determine which tools are best suited for your dog’s needs. Walks need to be structured. Do not let your dog pull you all over the neighborhood. Establish a strong walking routine, with your dog at your side, and paying attention.
Remember that a tired dog is a good dog! Just be sure walks are not taken within 1-2 hours of meal time as German Shepherds are one of the breeds prone to Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV, also known as bloat) which is where the stomach flips over itself, trapping gas and stomach contents, and causing a lack of blood flow to other organs. This quickly becomes a life-threatening condition. Take precautions, or speak to your veterinarian about having a surgical repositioning of the stomach to prevent flipping (called a Gastropexy).
German Shepherds are a working breed, so their mind stays active. We suggest looking into puzzles for dogs to keep them thinking.
Obedience training is highly recommended for their socialization, their minds, and your peace of mind.
Getting the 4-1-1
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Requirements and Expectations
You, as an adopter, are expected to maintain this dog for the rest of its natural life. This dog is not to be given away, sold, rehomed, or otherwise moved without notice to Sauver Des Chiens and the foster home.
You agree to provide a safe home, food, water, shelter, and regular veterinary care, as well as emergency care as needed.
You agree to maintain regular and routine flea and heartworm prevention.
Should you ever have any problems, questions, complications, etc, please give us a call! We’re here for the life of the dog!