New Puppy? Here’s 5 tips on how to add them to your pack!

We have just recently become a 4 dog family, and this got me thinking about the best ways of integrating Jack into the pack. The status of the existing pack is very clear. First there was Lucy, and then about a year later, I adopted Oscar. About seven years later, we met Kobe. They are on the totem pole if you will, in that order. And now, one year later, enter Jack. How can I be sure we keep our perfectly happy homeostasis while welcoming this little guy to our family?

Whether it is your first dog or your fourth dog, adding a new furry friend to your family can be tricky. Following a few important steps can help make sure everyone builds a loving relationship with each other. I’ve listed below what I feel are the 5 MOST important tips to adding a new pup to your pack.

#1: GO SLOW!

I cannot emphasize this enough. The #1 rule with introducing a new pet to any setting is the 333 rule:

3 Days: Compared to the shelter, your home is a bright and shiny new world. Your dog is going to be overwhelmed with all the new sights, scents, and space. There’s likely to be a lot of excitement, a lot of energy, and a lot of unpredictability. This is their main focus for at least days 1-3.

3 Weeks: After about 3 weeks, your pup is starting to understand your routine and getting more comfortable in their new home. Their personality will start to shine through and they will really start playing with their new pack members. They should still be monitored closely during this time. Don’t let your guard down just because everyone is being friendly so far.

3 Months: Your dog knows that your home is their home now. Yay! This is a great time to sign up for a group obedience training class if you haven’t already. Training is a fantastic way to bond with your pup, and it helps them continue to be introduced to new settings, people and dogs. I signed Kobe up for basic obedience when he was 6 months old (3 months after we adopted him). When we started, he was terrified to be in the car, to meet new people, of basically everything. By the end of the 6 week course, he was so much more confident!

The timeline is different for every dog. They are individuals and should be cared for that way!

#2: Respect your other dogs.

Your other dogs may not be ready to be BFFs with the new puppy right away. It is important that you know your dogs, and that you read their signals. They are depending on you to keep them safe! For my pack, Oscar is always a go to when it comes to introducing a puppy. Puppies are HIS JAM. Kobe is very friendly with other dogs, but he is HIGH ENERGY and a very rough & tumble pup. Lucy is vision impaired, and she always wants to lick other dogs faces, so to keep her safe, she is always the last intro. For the first couple of days, I always keep the puppy (the new, unpredictable friend) on a leash when with the other dogs. This helps me keep control of his actions and allows me to quickly remove him if needed. I also only allow individual interactions for at least the first day or two. This again helps keep control of the situation, and lets me watch both dogs carefully. If anyone gives the slightest indication that they are not happy, the play time is calmly but quickly stopped. Interactions should be done in short, small spurts, with the time increasing a little each round. Be mindful of cherished toys or space. If your dog has a favorite spot on the couch, do not let the puppy come running full force to jump in that space. If your dog is having cuddle time with you, make sure the puppy is not allowed to leap into your lap and steal your attention. This will help make sure you are keeping the new friend safe while respecting your pack.

#3: Set everyone up for success.

Know what you’re getting into! If your dog doesn’t do well with in-your-face, high energy dogs, then maybe don’t adopt a working breed as they typically are bouncy energetic friends. If you have a human baby, look for dogs who are more mellow and less vocal. Don’t get a dog without really considering what this means for you and anyone else in your family. Are you prepared to keep your pets separated for awhile until they are comfortable with each other? Do you know how to recognize when your dog is unhappy? Do you know how much more money this new pet will cost on a monthly basis? For example, a large breed dog eats a lot more food than a small breed. If you adopt a dog on a whim, you may very well be setting yourself and/or your pack up for failure. Be mindful of what it means to your existing pack to bring home a new dog. Are you prepared to give the time it takes to ensure a long lasting, successful relationship for all involved? No matter how friendly your dog may be, do NOT expect them to love every dog they meet. Some dogs just do not mesh well. Research, be aware of the attributes you are looking for in a new dog, and be patient to find the right one!

#4: Provide clear boundaries for everyone.

It is important for your new pup to have boundaries. He needs to know where his space is, what he isn’t allowed to do, etc. But it is also important to reinforce any boundaries for your existing pack. They need to know what your expectations are for them now that there is someone new sharing their space. It is also important for them to know that just because there is a new baby around, they haven’t lost your love and attention. Some dogs may not need any extra attention. Take Lucy for example. She could care less when new friends are here. She is a very confident dog and never waivers in her self appointed status of Queen Bee. Oscar is a mama’s boy and he will ALWAYS check in with me when a new dog is around. He does a drive by pounce to make sure he’s still my #1 guy, and then he goes back to puppyland. Kobe also likes some 1:1 attention. As I mentioned above, it’s so important to know your dogs. Because I am aware of Oscar & Kobe’s needs, I make sure I give them some individual time with the Mama so that they don’t have to be jealous of the new baby getting attention. I also make sure the existing pack still gets time together without the puppy, to reinforce their bond and remind them that everyone is still friends!

#5: Celebrate all successes, big and small!

Remember to give yourself, your pack and the new puppy some grace. Celebrate all of the things, big and small! If playtime doesn’t go well today, try again tomorrow. If a little tiff happens, calmly separate and try again later, and give TONS of praise when it goes well. I truly believe dogs feed off of your energy. If your pack feels a vibe from you that they are being good doggos, then they will be more likely to have a successful integration with any new friends. If you are feeling anxious, nervous or jittery, your dog WILL feel this. They will think there is a reason for them to be nervous too…and this may affect how they feel about this new friend you’ve brought home. So take a deep breath, feel the calm vibes, and celebrate each success your pack has!

Bonus Tip: Foster for a local shelter or rescue!

If you are thinking of getting your dog a friend but you aren’t sure if they are ready for that, or you aren’t ready yourself for a new perma-dog…I highly recommend fostering! I fostered over 25 dogs for Last Hope Rescue, and I learned SO much about dogs. But most importantly, I learned so much about Lucy & Oscar (my only pack members at the time). Fostering helped me see what Oscar & Lucy each needed when being introduced to a new dog, how to communicate with them that a new friend is a good thing, and so much more. I never saw myself as a 4-dog person. In fact, for 7 years of having just Lucy & Oscar, I insisted that I would always only have the two. But certain circumstances allowed me to consider adding a new pack member, and this has been successful twice now, all thanks to my fostering experience! And please, please, PLEASE don’t say “oh but I’d adopt them all” or “it would be too hard to say goodbye”. Trust me, you can do it, the dogs need you, and your soul will be so glad you did!

Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions about fostering, adopting or dogs in general!

Scruffy Princess

I think most of you follow my FB page, but in case you don’t….I never announced that Sammy was adopted! It happened very quickly. A previous LHR adopter was interested in him, so I popped over to their house so they could meet him in person. It was basically love at first sight, and Sammy was their’s the next day! He is with a wonderful couple, who have a young baby girl, and their previous LHR pup is pretty much a female-version of Sammy, behaviors/personality wise! Happiness!

So moving on to the next foster….in comes this scruffy princess, Annie!

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Annie was found preggers and alone by a local vet. She held on to Annie until she had her babies and nursed them until old enough to be separated. All but one of the puppies have been adopted! Annie unfortunately has heartworms, so she’s been having to go through treatment. Luckily she is a pretty calm pup, so she’s been able to avoid full time crate rest for the most part.

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Annie is absolutely one of the easiest fosters I have, and she’s definitely going to be a hard one to say goodbye too! She’s well behaved, house trained, and loves everyone she meets, two-legged & four-legged included.

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I mean seriously people…is she not one of THE cutest things you’ve ever seen?!? I would really, really love it if someone I know would adopt her, because I just love her so much. Any takers out there? Friends? Family? She’s an awesome pup! You won’t regret it!

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Annie’s perfect home would be with someone who’s home often, and would be willing to take her wherever dogs are welcomed. She LOVES to be with humans, and expects to be nearby as much as possible. Her future home should allow dogs on beds, because scruffy princesses deserve to sleep next to their beloved humans. She is great with dogs, so she’d love a home with another furry friend…however, I don’t think this is required for her, as long as she’ll gets tons of attention and love from her people. Annie is crate & house trained, loves to chew on bones, and is freakin’ adorable. What more could you want in a dog?

That all being said, Annie is not quite ready for adoption yet. She just had her last heartworm injection last week. So, we have to give her about 6-8 weeks, and then it will be safe to have her spayed. Then finally, she will be ready to go to a forever home. If you know of someone though, that might be worthy of having my sweet scruffy princess in their home, send them our way…and I’ll consider it. 😉

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If you’d like to donate to the rescue in honor of Annie and other pups like her, we sure would appreciate it! You can donate by going to www.lasthoperescue.org and click the Donate tab!

Have a great week, friends!

xoxo

Adoptiversary time!

Today marks one year that sweet Stella was adopted!! She came to the rescue from a good Samaritan who rescued her mama and babies. Stella was with me for a couple of months, until her future mama saw a video I posted of her playing on my FB page. She was then adopted, and spends her days with her doggie sis Izzy! Here are some of my favorite pictures of this beautiful brindle girl, as well as a couple pics of her and hew forever sister!

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Shout out to Stella’s mama for letting me steal her “all grown up” pictures!!

Happy adoptiversary, Stella!!! 

xoxo

Happiness!!

Today is Piper’s one year adoptiversary! She is one of my special pup’s, who I personally requested to save from the Gainseville shelter. Little did I know, she was coming to us with two broken legs! They were in the process of healing, but the shelter didn’t mention it to us. Luckily the ortho vet said she just needed time to heal. I honestly thought this was going to put a huge damper on her getting adopted…but it didn’t! I shared Piper on my personal FB page, and turns out she looked just like a dog that a friend’s parents used to have. We discussed Piper, and long story short, she had a pending application after only about 2 weeks in my home! And, the adopters only live about a mile from my parent’s house! Anywho, so today marks a special day! The day when the sweet, golden goddess Piper found her forever home!

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Here’s some pictures of Piper in her forever home!

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I can’t say thank you enough to her wonderful parents! It is a fabulous feeling to see Piper being loved and cared for the way she deserves. I love my foster pups & their awesome families, that is for sure!!

Happy living, Golden Goddess!!! 

xoxo

Holy Adoptiversaries, man!

So, not only did we recently celebrate Oscar’s adoptiversary, but I also have two foster dogs that were adopted around this time as well!

Cleo, now Zailey, was adopted one year ago! She was the smallest pup I’ve ever fostered! Her and her sister pup, Carly, were rescued from a home where they were left outside in the freezing cold. Cleo craved human attention! Her favorite place to be was perched up on top of her crate, where she could be safe while watching things going on. She was adopted by a wonderful young lady, and is happy, healthy, and loved! Check out the post where she was introduced to the blogosphere: Meet Cleo!

Here is a recent picture of her!

 

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Another pup who was adopted one year ago today, is my sweet Petey!! If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know the many trials & tribulations that I went through with this guy. If you don’t know about all that he went through, check out some previous posts: Petey’s Problems & Bittersweet but Happy Tails!

Petey with his forever kiddo and his foster kiddo!
Petey with his forever kiddo and his foster kiddo!

Petey is one of the few dogs that I actually cried over having to let go. (That’s NOT to say that I don’t love all of them, but some are just more emotional than others!) I had Petey for a long time, and I honestly thought he would never be adopted. I came to terms with that, and thought of him as my perma-foster dog. He even has his own Christmas ornament here! I was not willing to let him go, just to be returned again, so I had decided in my mind and in my heart, that he would just stay with me for the rest of his years. Then came along a sweet little family of three. The lady, Connie, is someone who knew the rescue president (Angela) pretty well, and she inquired about Petey. Before I even listened to what she had to say, I said “NO.” Angela insisted that I meet them, and at least see how I felt. I still said no. This was nothing against the family whatsoever. I just didn’t want Petey to go through it again. I took Petey to an event that weekend, and Connie and her husband Jim were there. They met Petey, and we chatted. I found out that Connie was home very often, which was one of the biggest concerns for ol’ man Pete. We discussed Petey for a long time, and a few days later, I was bringing Petey for a trial stay. I was brutally honest with them, explaining Petey’s needs, and also telling them what I expected of a new home for Petey. Well, the rest is history…he was adopted, and is completely adored by them! And even better, they only live about a mile away, so I get to see him (and his family) pretty often! Lesson learned: Never say never…expect the unexpected…yada yada! 😉

Here are some of my favorite Petey pictures, in honor of his adoptiversary!

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Happy livin’ Zailey & Petey!!! 

xoxo

 

Mia is Awesome…

and here’s why…

1. She is friggin adorable.

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2. She is crate trained. I can say “Mia, kennel!” at any time, and she comes running!

3. She is smart, and highly treat motivated. This makes it so much easier to train a puppy.

4. She has freckles on her ear. Freckles, people!

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5. She loves to be loved! She loves to give kisses, and nudges my arm when she wants some attention.

6. She entertains herself. Whether it is with a Nylabone, rope, or ball, she is constantly tossing toys in the air to herself, and then chasing after them!

7. She’s seriously cute!

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8. She is great with dogs, and while excited when meeting, she knows how to properly speak dog now, by communicating that she is here to play!

9. She LOVES to go under the bed. Every time my door is opened, she bolts into my room and slides under the bed as if she is making a home run! She also easily gets out, and listens when I say “Mia, let’s go!”

10. She is obsessed with socks! If you know anything about my sweet pibble, you know he has obsessions (red pillow, blankets, food), so I can always love a dog who is passionate about something…that something for Mia, is socks.

Seriously people, why is she not adopted yet?!? She is such a great pup, and will be a fantastic addition to a family! Please share to help network for her, and send any interested people to LastHopeRescueFL@gmail.com…though, they’ll have to be pretty awesome themselves in order to pass my inspection! 😉

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Have a great day, friends!

Xoxo

Teachers.

I often hear from the parents of my previous foster pups, and it’s always amusing when they tell me stories of how their dog(s) behave…many times, having similar behaviors that my dogs have.

Many of the foster dogs I have had, have been in puppyhood, ranging from 14 weeks to a year old. These are usually the dogs that my two make an impression on the most.

Take Lola for example. Her mom always tells me that Lola is a supreme lizard hunter, a skill that Lucy is a pro at and I feel certain she taught Lola well!

The Lizard Hunters taking a moment to cuddle and discuss their next plan of attack!
The Lizard Hunters taking a moment to cuddle and discuss their next plan of attack!

Lucy is also great in teaching foster dogs to be confident. We have had many dogs come in as scared, nervous pups, but Lucy helps show them how to be confident in their doggy awesomeness! Chelsea was definitely one of those cases. She was VERY shy and timid, but around dogs, she completely came out of her shell. Tooley was another one who learned from Lucy, and followed her every move. Wherever Lucy went, Tooley was sure to follow. She, also, learned how to hunt lizards!

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I believe Lucy is saying “Guys! Lizards! Don’t you see them! Must. Hunt. Lizards. And. Squirrels.”

 

Chelsea!
Chelsea!

Oscar is good at teaching dogs his naughty tricks. For example, he loves to take the magnets off of the refrigerator…and what did I find Mia with today? Yep. A magnet. He also teaches the foster pups that there are plenty of tree roots in the yard to go around, and everyone should try to dig them up! Oscar, being the king of comfort, also teaches dogs how to C-H-I-L-L!

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He also showed them all how to wear accessories like a BOSS!

July 014July 002 July 010It’s always interesting and fun to see how my dogs rub off on a foster dog! Has your dog taught another pup friend anything?

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Mia is STILL on the search for a family! Available through Last Hope Rescue FL!!!

 

 

Black & White Sunday: First Foster

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My girl and our first foster, Petey. This was after Petey had been returned to me the first time. It was Christmas day, rainy weather, empty park. They had a great time running loose, and I was happy to have Petey back in my house, safe and sound.

Black & White Sunday: Flashback

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This was my favorite picture of Piper. I swear she was looking at me, trying to tell me something. Mouth open, wrinkles in full force, her sweet eyes staring at me. I like to think it was “I know you saved me foster mom. I know it was you. And I love you. Always.”