If you are getting a new Dog, whether it be a foster dog, a dog you are looking after for someone on holiday, or you are about to adopt a dog, here are some very important tips to keep them safe, in that all important first few days of settling in.

Preparation. 

Firstly, you are more than likely having to collect the new Dog from somewhere, so you need to write a checklist of everything needed, before you even set off, you may have already had a "home check" for the safety of the dog arriving, but you also need to consider many things before you have the dog,

1) Are you going on holiday soon after getting the dog, This can be very unsettling for a new dog, it maybe advisable to wait until after any holidays to have a new dog.

2) Better still can you arrange your schedule to be able to spend time with your new arrival & help them settle in.

3) Although I'm sure friends & family are excited to come over & see the new dog, please consider keeping visitors to a minimum in the first few days, & keeping the house as calm & quiet as possible. These first few days are crucial in settling your dog for a happy future.

4) Have a bed (preferably under a table, or an open crate with a blanket over the roof) set up ready, your dog will need to be able to go & feel safe, don't let anyone bother the dog once they decide to go there for peace. They will come out when they feel confident enough.

5) Make sure you have bowls, harness, lead & an extension lead already, get a bum bag for walks & some tasty treats & of course poo bags, make sure you have a collar & tag already engraved with your contact details, & a bed & nice blankets.

6) Have a crate of suitable size for the dog, to be able to collect the dog in safety, have plenty of bedding & towels (keep some to change) & a non-spill water bowl, & tasty treats. If it is a long journey take a food bowl, & food & an extra bottle of water. Don't forget to take the collar & tag & even a hol col (already filled out with your mobile No. on)to place on the dog before you leave their place.

Going to collect your Dog. 

This can be a very exciting time for you & your family, but it can also be a very stressful one for the dog, They have no idea of what is going on, new faces, new smells & lots of noise & changes. They may have had a terrible traumatic background, & you have come to adopt them & give them a wonderful life, but they don't know this yet, this is when the fight or flight emotion sets in, so you need to be prepared for either of these, I always tell people to treat the dog like you would a wild animal, you half expect them to try & run away, so you keep the noise to a minimum, speak to the dog in a calm & low quiet voice. Have a crate ready prepared (& if you are collecting from a house/kennel, take the crate into it & place the dog directly into the crate & close the door & carry it to your car) Don't forget to put their new contact details on them before hand, have either a collar & new tag ready, or ask the person caring for the dog to put your tag onto the collar right away. At this point it is a good idea to place a hol col on them as well (but never instead of any solid ID only as an addition) If you have no chose, have the crate open in your car & carry the dog to the crate & shut the door, DO NOT EVER LET A NEW DOG OUT FOR A WEE WHILE ON A JOURNEY OR AT THE COLLECTION POINT. Be prepared, have extra bedding to change on the journey for accidents (& do this change, in the car with the doors closed) TOO many dogs have been lost at service stations or at collection points, because the people thought the dog should have a wee, just change the bedding if absolutely necessary, I'm sure you would rather have a smelly car than a lost dog or even worst a dog that runs & gets killed by another car. (If your answer to this is No! don't have a dog at all !) Have a non spill bowl of water ready in the crate, & maybe some nice treats, it is always nice if you can position the crate so that someone can sit next to it & talk & feed the dog while on the journey, this can help with bonding. Make sure the crate isn't in direct sunlight, have a spare cover so the dog can get into a shaded part. NEVER leave the dog in the car if you have to stop on route. If it is a long journey, make sure to have another person to help & stay in the car for pit stops ! take extra water & also towels, there is a chance the dog could be sick, so kitchen towel & plastic bags to tie up & dispose are very welcome !

 

Arriving home 

Again, treat them like a wild animal, they could be scared, carry the crate into the house & close all the doors before you open the crate door, give them time & space to come out & explore, They will probably have a wee in the house to begin with, but don't shout or tell them off. Remember safety at this early stage is more important that anything. Show them another bowl of water. Once they have spent some time exploring can you then think about putting an extension lead onto them before showing them the garden, now this may sound a bit extreme, but I have heard of several dogs suddenly seeing the big open garden & (not knowing what their future holds) will run & clear a 6ft fence after only being in their new home for an hour ! I suggest you always put a lead of the dog before going into the garden for the first few days, just until you feel they won't be a flight risk. Don't have any objects leaning against the fencing that they could jump onto & then get over the fence, I have even heard of a blind dog doing this !!