WHAT TO EXPECT

ADVICE FOR AFTER YOU WELCOME YOUR ADOPTED OR FOSTERED FRIEND.

     First and foremost: It is of paramount importance for your dog’s safety and to comply with the law to make sure you update your dog’s Microchip onto a UK data base. We recommend Animal Tracker (www.animaltracker.co.uk) for you to register your new pet right away but you can use any database that meets government standards listed at https://www.gov.uk/get-your-dog-microchipped. Additionally, You can do this through your vet but, please, don’t delay. 


     Change can be stressful for some dogs, particularly for those who have had a harder than average start in life. Most of our rescue dogs come from the Perrera (Pounds) across various parts of Spain or come from the streets where they have strayed or been abandoned, often through our network of contacts here. This means that-more often than not-they have had a tough time surviving. In the Perrera they get limited human contact; no walks, toys or comfy beds and-depending on the pound-they may have had to compete for food with kennel mates. For some dogs, the sudden change to a home environment with a new active family may be too overwhelming at first. In these cases we use our valued network of foster carers both here in Spain and in the UK so the dog can be fully assessed and have time to adjust to their new strange world. We pride ourselves on successful adoptions and we try very hard to match families and individuals with suitable dogs and continue to offer advice and full Rescue Back Up (RBU) once the adoption is completed. 


     Whilst we do our best to discuss details about the specific dog you are interested in there may be concerns you have or questions you want to ask us about our adoption process. Please feel free to contact us via our website MDRSDogsforHomes.com, via email at MDRSdogsforhomes@gmail.com, or through messenger on our Facebook page “My Dog Rescue Spain Dogs For Homes”. We will do our best to help. 

Expect an adjustment period – for some dogs this may be an hour, for others it may take a few months. Be patient . Both you and your dog need to get used to one another. The dog needs to get used to a new environment, which is likely to be very different from what they are used to. Getting acclimated to a new schedule and other lifestyle adjustments will be crucial.


Be aware of possible behaviour your dog may exhibit during the adjustment period:

Barking for reasons not obvious to we humans
Separation anxiety
Marking or forgetting formerly learned house training skills
Possessiveness with you, toys, the house, or garden
Leash aggression
Nervousness around strangers, Shyness, or hiding


     Please be reassured that 99% of the time you will have few or no unwanted behaviours, but because you are dealing with a living dog and not a stuffed toy always be prepared for the unexpected!!

Tips for managing these behaviours include:
Crate Training
Providing sufficient exercise
Having a consistent daily routine
Ignoring the dog until he/she decides to come out of their hiding place (tough one!!)
Being calm and PATIENT


     Issues like possessiveness, nervousness, and leash aggression will require some additional training. Be assured these are all fairly common behaviours for a stressed canine and are usually easily corrected. You can contact us for help should you need it ..please please please get in touch sooner rather than later !! It’s helpful to research Dog Training classes local to you before your new friend arrives. We recommend training classes using the Kennel Club Good Citizen model with trainers who are KCAI approved. ALWAYS ask about training methods ..Positive Reinforcement Training is paramount..NEVER subject your dog to Punishment orientated training. 


     Introduce your dog slowly to your home and new surroundings. Give the dog one or two rooms at a time for exploration. Dogs naturally like small spaces (an obvious reason for crate training!). Your new dog will feel much safer with a small area to explore rather than having the run of the house. 

Be ready to start training immediately. Training can be on your own, with a trainer, or both, but training begins the minute the dog arrives . Is the dog allowed on the couch? If not set the boundary. Can they jump up to greet you? If not be ready to correct that behaviour. Equally, if not more important, reward the behaviour you want – sitting quietly at your feet whilst you watch TV, sitting by the door waiting to go outside, chewing on a nylabone instead of your shoe. Rewards do not always have to come in the form of food.  A stroke, pat, eye contact, or our voice are just as valuable as you build your relationship with your dog. Your dog will be much happier in a consistent routine when they know the boundaries. If at all possible we recommend you spend extra time with your new friend for the first few weeks in order to build that relationship and establish the daily routine for your dog. 

Note that a new dog may well require more frequent bathroom breaks until a routine is established so be prepared. You will also need to establish an exercise routine that suits both your lifestyle and your dog’s. Additionally ,depending on the type of coat your dog has, you will also need to establish a grooming routine- be aware your dog may be uncomfortable with being groomed if they are not used to it- take things slowly and use rewards. 


WE RECOMMEND A MINIMUM OF SIX WEEKS BEFORE YOU ALLOW YOUR DOG OFF LEAD!!!! This is for the average rescue dog- some dogs will require a lot longer. This will depend on a variety of factors- breed mix, temperament, distractions and your relationship with your dog which also takes time to develop. Err on the side of caution. 


Your new friend MUST know and trust you, know their name and respond to recalls immediately in the garden before you even consider letting them off lead. Dogs do not generalise well so even if they come when called in an environment they know, when out in the park, woods, etc, they may not understand you are asking the same thing of them. In addition there will be many distractions to occupy them that are far more interesting than you are!! 


     For a dog who is nervous, wide open spaces and unfamiliar people, dogs ,bicycles, push chairs, etc can cause considerable stress, enough to make them react aggressively or try to escape when that is not their normal behaviour.
If you want to give your dog more freedom when out for a walk but have the security that you know they will come to you when you want them to, use a long line lead (not a retractable one) available in many lengths from 12 to 40 feet that are loose but that will allow you to reel your dog in. Do this in a variety of locations to get your dog used to the “Come!” command in order to teach them to generalise. “Come!” means “Come!” wherever you are!!


     Most dogs respond well to food as a reward so have a ready supply and variety of treats available. You can “jackpot” treat your dog with homemade liver treats, fresh chicken, cheese, hamburger, whatever is high value- but vary the times and locations you “jackpot”. Random jackpot rewards are a great incentive, partly because they are random . If you think of people using fruit machines you will see the analogy. 

Be it a new dog at the park or a cat at your home ALWAYS use CAUTION when introducing your dog to unknown animals.The same is true for new people, especially children. Until you are aware of and understand all the clues and cues your dog gives you about their behaviour and you are 100% sure they will respond to your commands, keep your dog on a lead around unknown animals and people. In the event of a mishap remember to stay calm. 

     

     Most likely, you are going to experience some less than perfect days with your new dog: a chewed up shoe (or credit card !!), a puddle of pee on your carpet, a ravaged rubbish bin, a disappearing dinner you turned your back on, the list goes on…Sometimes the best solution is to maintain a sense of humour . Be positive, be patient and remain calm. Give your new friend time to adjust. After all, they will reward you with all the love and loyalty in the world for eternity.


Don’t forget , however trivial something may seem to you, we are here to help, so get in touch if you want to ask us ANYTHING. 

GOOD LUCK & CONGRATULATIONS from us all here at My Dog Rescue Spain!!!

Louise Edwards