Friday’s Facts: I’ve adopted a dog…now what?!

So, you’ve adopted a dog…now what?! Here are a few tips and suggestions of what you should do with your new family friend (in no particular order)!

#1-Usually you are given a packet of information, along with your new dog. This is important information, and you should really take time to look through it. Some common documents in an adoption packet are: microchip information, previous vet records, pamphlets for local companies (doggie daycares, pet sitters, trainers). Sometimes there will also be informative documents, like a list of poisonous plants, what to do if your pet is bitten by a snake, what foods to avoid, etc.

~Harmful foods for dogs~
~Harmful foods for dogs~


#2-Schedule an initial vet appointment within (at least) the first month of bringing the dog home. This may be necessary for vaccinations, depending on the age & history of the dog. If vaccinations are not yet needed, you should still bring the dog to your vet for a routine check up. This will allow you to see how the dog does in an exam type setting, and the vet can help with any questions you might have so far. This is also the time to stock up on heartworm preventative. The vet will also go over the previous records, and set up reminders in their system for when your dog will be due for vaccines. (Remember my previous post about vaccines and senior dogs? Check it out here!)gI_72746_mr__rico


#3-Be mindful of the dog’s past experiences. Sure, you are going to love and spoil and care for your dog…but has he ever experienced that before? Does he get along with cat’s? Is he afraid of car’s? Remember, you’re dog may have been through some bad experiences, and will need time to adjust to the new setting, even if it is lovely & wonderful. Make sure you allow adjustment time before introducing your dog to other furry family members, and children should be taught the proper way to approach any new dogs.

#4-Give the dog space, literally & figuritively. I am a big believer in using crates for dogs, and it is a known fact that dogs are den animals. They like to have their own safe space. So be sure to have a kennel, with some comfy cozy blankets/towels. Depending on the dog, you may need to provide this space away from the rest of the family. Like Chelsea, she snapped at both of my dogs when she first came to me, and still loves to be in her kennel. She has opened up so much though, and has really come out of her shell, since then. You have to allow the dog to get used to the new surroundings. Also, be sure that the designated area is doggie-proofed!

#5-If possible schedule the adoption for when you will be home for a couple of days, like on a Friday for example. You don’t want to bring home a dog, where he then has to be in a kennel for the next 8 hours while you are at work. It is best to be able to spend time with the dog for a couple of days, leaving only for quick errands. This will allow the dog to see that, 1-you are coming back, and 2-that the kennel is a good, safe place.

#6-Start basic training right away. Don’t let the dog get away with little things now (chewing up a coaster, getting on the couch, etc), that you won’t allow later. You should (gently but firmly) establish the pack order from day one. You are the pack leader, and the dog should know that right away. Also, there can only be ONE pack leader…so, chose between husband vs wife, roommates, etc. This will also make for an easier transition for the dog. They like to be part of a pack, and if there is no battle for who’s in charge, everything will go much more smoothly!

Dog Pack! Be the leader!
Dog Pack! Be the leader!


#7-Set up a strict routine, and follow it. Find out what and when the dog was eating, and try to keep that in mind. Especially for potty training, a routine is key! My dogs are on such a routine now, that I can tell what time it is just by their behaviors. Every morning at 7:45, they are all waking up & wiggling. This means potty & food! Then, at 10:45-11, all of a sudden they are up and moving. Even Chelsea will start whining & moving around in her kennel. This is their outside playing time. After about 20 mins, they all come back inside, and go right back to sleep…until the next time to go outside. This happens every day, like clockwork! Just like dogs need a pack leader, they need a routine. They are creatures of habit!

#8-Limit the excitement for at least the first few weeks. Meaning, don’t take your dog to a dog park, the second day you have him. Let him get used to his new life. Once you feel that you know your dog, and your dog has trust in you, then go for new outings. Remember, just because your dog likes the other family pets, does not mean it will be the same with other dogs. Dogs can often be aggressive on a leash, and perfectly fine when loose. Personally, I think a controlled setting (like a dog daycare) is a great place to start. It is controlled, with a professional person, who knows all of the dogs well. For example, when I took Chelsea to Doggie Dayz, I called ahead of time to give a little info on Chelsea. When we went there, several of the dogs were sectioned off, with only a handful in the front to greet Chelsea. This allowed Chelsea time to come in, without being completely overwhelmed. (She took it all in stride, and has done great with her visits there!)

Toby loved doggie daycare! So did Sassy, and Chelsea too!
Toby loved doggie daycare! So did Sassy, and Chelsea too!


#9-Put new tags on your dog! This is important, especially once you start going on outings. Make sure the dog has a tag with emergency contact info, a current rabies tag, as well as a microchip tag if appropriate.

#10-Allow for bonding. With two dogs of my own, and a foster, it can sometimes be a bit hectic! So, I like to give each dog some special “me” time. Whether it is taking a quick car ride, or putting two outside to give one some special cuddles. Each dog gets to have a little time to themselves with me. This is especially important for a new dog in your home. You want them to learn that you are the good guy, and that they can trust you.

Lucy loves car rides!
Lucy loves car rides!


So, those are my tips & suggestions! I hope they are helpful to someone! If you have any tips or advice, feel free to share. And, happy Friday! 🙂

PS-Hopefully I will have some super exciting news on Monday, so stay tuned!

Parks in Tallahassee

I am always looking up parks in the area, because I like to try out new places. Someone asked me about parks in the area (shout out! thanks for the idea Kat!) This list is provided on the city of Tallahassee’s website, click here for more info. I also added a couple trails that I know about.

A.J. Henry Park -this park is located in the Killearn area. It is a smaller park, with a few trails. It also has a playground, and a lovely boardwalk around a large pond. The park can be quite busy with walkers, especially when it is warmer weather.


Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park-I have not been to this park before. The city describes it as: “Over 600 acres of pristine wetlands and trails in this beautiful park.” There is a park fee required for entrance, and it is located off of North Meridian road. This park is where the Red Hills Horse Trials are, so I’d be willing to bet that you may run into quite a few horses there.

Lafayette Heritage Trail Park- This park is absolutely beautiful! It is located in the Piney Z area. There are lots of different trails, with little outlets for fishing. There is a playground for kiddos. You will see LOTS of bikers, joggers, and dogs. It is a busy parked, so you are likely to not come across any loose dogs. (I mention this because I used to have a dog (my Basti) who was not a fan of other dogs, and it would usually ruin our outing when we ran into unleashed dogs!) If you can make it out to this park, I highly recommend it. It is SO pretty!

Miccosukee Greenway-I mentioned yesterday that I went to this set of trails on Saturday, with Chelsea (check out that post here!) There are a few entrances for this park. I use the one that is off of Fleischmann. These trails are popular with bikers, however I have been a handful of times and have never felt that I was in the way (like I do at Tom Brown!). There is also an open field that is nice (pictured below), with one little bench. The trails are very shaded, which is really nice for the summer!


Tom Brown Park -This is the largest park in Tallahassee, and has all kinds of things to check out! The park has an awesome main playground, as well as another smaller one. The park has many trails, some specifically for bikers. There is a paved path you can also walk/jog along, which runs alongside the train tracks. Of course, there is also the dog park. There is a little small fenced area for the smalls; and a bigger fenced area for the larger dogs (meaning not puppies or chihuahuas). The big part has a small plastic pool, a few benches, and lots of shady area. Just outside the fence is a hose where you can clean your dog off. Very nice since they can get quite dirty!

San Luis Mission Park-This is over on the Tharpe & Ocala St side of town. There is a large fenced in area for the dogs, no smaller area for the little ones though. There are also a few paths you can walk on. If you park near the restrooms, the dog park is just a little up the pathway. I have only been to this park a couple of times, and it was busy every time. I have also noticed loose dogs on the paths.

walk dog

Maclay Gardens-This park is located near the Killearn, Thomasville Rd. area. There is a fee for entrance, including for pedestrians, bikers, and cars. The Gardens are gorgeous, especially in the Spring, as the flowers and trees are blooming. This park does allow horses, and also has a playground and an area for swimming. Dogs are only allowed in specific, designated areas, and must be on leash at all times.

There are definitely other parks and trails, many that I don’t know about yet. I am always looking for new places, especially ones that are much less busy. Lucy LOVES to run, so places where I can let her loose are the most fun for us. If you know of parks or trails in the area, please share!

Also, I highly recommend joining the Tallahassee Walkabulls for their pack walks. It is a good way to let your dog socialize in a positive, organized manner, and they are always trying out new parks!