Helpful Information about Your Pet
We hope you find this information helpful for you and your pet.
Collars – Make Sure They Fit
A properly fitting collar is important for your pet. Too loose and your pet can escape. Too tight and the collar can become embedded in your pet’s neck.
After the collar is on, place two fingers flat between your dog’s neck and the collar. The collar should not be tight on your fingers.
Then try pulling the collar off your dog’s head. If you can pull it over your dog’s ears, the collar is too loose.
Feeding Your Dog
We recommend feeding pets twice a day. There is no need to leave food down all the time for your adult dog. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended amount to feed your pet.
Housetraining requires time, vigilance, patience and commitment. Consistency is key to successfully housetraining your dog or puppy. You and your new dog also need time to learn each other’s signals and routines.
Establish a routine. Take your dog out at the same time every day – for example, when he wakes up, when you arrive home from work, and before you go to bed.
Praise your dog immediately after he eliminates outdoors – you can even give him a treat. Rewarding your dog for eliminating outdoors is the only way he will know what you want him to do. While your dog is eliminating, use a word or phrase like “go potty” that you can eventually use before he eliminates to remind him of what he is supposed to be doing.
If you catch your dog in the act of eliminating in the house, do something to interrupt him like making a startling noise (be careful not to scare him). Immediately take him outside and praise him when he eliminates. Do not punish your dog for eliminating in the house.
If you find a soiled area, it is too late to correct him – dogs do not understand punishment after the fact. Do nothing but clean it up. Rubbing your dog’s nose in it will only make him afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence. Cleaning the soiled area is very important because dogs are highly motivated to continue soiling areas that smell like urine or feces. If you have consistently followed the housetraining procedures and your dog continues to eliminate in the house, there may be medical or other reasons for this behavior. See ddfl.org Education/Pets/Dog Behavior Tips/Housesoiling for more information on housetraining.
Introducing Your Dog to Your New Dog
Adding another dog can bring you and your current dog more fun and companionship. However, it’s important to realize your dogs may not be best buddies at the start.
Introduce your dogs on neutral territory if possible. Have one person for each dog, and keep the dogs on leashes. Keep the leashes loose so they’re not choking. Don’t force interaction between the dogs. Give both dogs time to get comfortable. They’ll interact when they’re ready. Make the introduction positive and light-hearted. As the dogs sniff and get acquainted, encourage them in a happy tone of voice. At first, allow just a few seconds of sniffing. Then gently pull the dogs away from each other and let them walk around with their handlers. After a minute or two, you can lead the dogs back together and allow another several seconds of sniffing.
Closely observe the dogs’ body language. Their postures can help you understand what they’re feeling and whether things are going well or not. Loose body movements and muscles, relaxed open mouths, and play bows (when a dog puts his elbows on the ground and his hind end in the air) are all good signs that the two dogs feel comfortable. Stiff, slow body movements, tensed mouths or teeth-baring, growls and prolonged staring are all signs that a dog feels threatened or aggressive. If you see this type of body language, quickly lead the dogs apart to give them more distance from each other.
Pick up all toys, chews, food bowls and your current dog’s favorite items. When dogs are first forming a relationship, these things can cause rivalry. These items can be reintroduced after a couple of weeks, once the dogs have started to develop a good relationship.
Naming Your New Pet
You’ve adopted a new pet that already has a name. What if you do not like that name? It is easy to rename your pet. Choose a name and use it with lots of love, praise, happiness and treats. In no time, your pet will respond to his new name. Some resources suggest pairing a new name (“Sammy”) with the pet’s current name (“Fred”) for a few weeks using the pet’s current name first (“FredSammy”) then gradually move to using only the new name.
Do you have a plan for your pets in case of a disaster (tornado, flooding, etc.)? Download “Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies” to find out how to prepare a kit of pet emergency supplies and make a plan for what you will do in an emergency.