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!

New Kid on the Block

Ready for some life updates? Lets go!

#1: Lucy turned 10 in May! This golden girl has slowed down a lot, but she still gets frisky from time to time and jogs around the yard after the other dogs. She still has some peripheral vision, but otherwise is mostly blind. She does really well getting around though! Every now and then she seems to have an off day, where I have to give her lots of warnings to keep her from bumping into things, and she sleeps so deeply now. We also had a little health scare. She has a growth under her chin, but after doing a biopsy, it has been confirmed that it is not malignant…thank goodness! Lucy is still Queen Bee around here, and I don’t think she plans on giving up that title anytime soon.

#2: I never formally introduced Kobe, and he’s just celebrated his one year adoptiversary with us! Kobe is a small Shepherd Terrier mix. His has long legs which makes him taller than Oscar, but he has a small little body. He is a high energy, super active dog! Thankfully I bought a house in June, with a giant yard. Kobe runs like a greyhound, daily, only stopping to chase lizards or harass the other dogs. He would be outside 24/7 if I let him. He LOVES it out there! Oscar & Lucy cannot keep up with him, and most days don’t want to, but its not for lack of him trying! Kobe graduated puppy training class, but it was politely suggested that he redo the class for more training. LOL Other than his energy, he really is very well behaved, loves dogs, and is a great cuddler!

#3: Oscar is doing well. I think he is around 9ish now. I’ve had him for 8.5 years, and I’m pretty sure he was around 6-8 months old when I adopted him. Anywho, he is losing muscle mass in his back legs due to age. This makes him a little wobbly, and the wood floors are his nemesis…but I have placed rugs strategically throughout the house, and that seems to help him. Other than that, he’s the same ol’ clingy, me-obsessed, lovable boy he’s always been!

#4: Ok, NOW to the new kid on the block…we’ve added a 4th pup to our lives! You might be thinking: are you crazy? 4 dogs is a lot! Yada yada yada. But here’s the thing, I work from home full time now; I own my home and have a giant yard; Kobe needs an active, young companion; Lucy & Oscar need a break from Kobe. So all of that being said, I had very loosely been thinking about adopting another dog. I hadn’t looked online or anything like that. I wasn’t looking at all actually; it was just something I had started contemplating. Anyway, I was out running errands and had a little free time, so I decided to swing by the humane society because it was only a few minutes away. (I do this often to give the homeless pups some attention. Highly recommend if you are looking for an easy way to help homeless pets!) I wandered through the dogs, saying hello to the ones who wanted attention. Then, I turned a corner and saw two kennels full of Lab puppies. I went in to see them, and these sweet puppy eyes got me! I met this fellow, and decided that he was exactly what Kobe needs…and so, here he is!

Meet Jack!

He is a 3 month old Chocolate Lab mix. He has fit in perfectly with everyone, and most importantly, he and Kobe have become fast friends! Adding Jack to our family has had the exact effect I was hoping for, occupying Kobe and giving the old folks time to just chill without being (playfully but constantly) bullied. Jack ADORES Jayden. He is (mostly) potty trained, crate trained and has learned “sit” and his name so far. Stop by our Facebook and Instagram pages to follow their daily antics & adventures!

Well that’s how things are going with me! How are things with you?? Leave me a comment and stop by our social media to say hello!

xoxo

Protecting your pets!

These 4-legged furry friends are extended family to most of us, right? They are just about as much work as having human kids. You have to think of them all the time. If you’re traveling, having guests visit, you always have to think about your pets, right? If you notice flaky skin, upset stomach, lethargy, you’d get them to their vet to help them feel better. Just like human kiddo’s. So, how do you protect your pets?

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Heartworm prevention is something that is so simple and easy, yet so many people slack on it. Usually your vet will give you a prescription for a whole year. Then you can purchase it from a discount site online…I recommend Dr. Fosters & Smith. When it’s not flea season, I buy just Heartguard (instead of Sentinel). I feel like it’s less chemicals going into their system plus it’s cheaper, and (knock on wood) I haven’t had an issue with this method yet. I never miss their heartworm prevention! If you are in FL, you KNOW  how bad the mosquitoes get. It takes just ONE infected mosquito to bite your dog, for him/her to then be infected with heartworms. And take it from me, and Annie, heartworm treatment SUCKS! It is no fun. Having to put Annie in her crate just because she is being too playful, is so sad. And it makes me think how awful it would be with either of my dogs, who are much more energetic than Annie. Anything that gets their heart pumping could kill them, while going through treatment. Plus, it’s expensive! So, why not protect you pet and your bank account, and just keep up with the heartworm prevention in the first place!

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Another way to protect your pets is by making sure your home is safe for them. I have said many times before that I am a big believer in crating. I think certain dogs need a crate. Whether it is to keep them out of trouble, or to allow them to feel safe in their own space. If you leave your dog out loose, do you check your home before leaving? Do you know what peaks your dog’s curiosity? I leave Lucy out loose, and I know the only thing she’ll get into is food and napkins (she likes to shred them). So before leaving, I always survey the living room and kitchen, areas that she has access too, to make sure there is nothing she’d get into. This is something I’ve randomly done, never really vigilant about it….until I came across this website…I’m not sure how I even found them, and the majority of their posts are extremely sad and tragic, but it always reminds me to make sure my pups are safe. It’s a facebook page called Prevent Pet Suffocation. This page strives to bring awareness about the risk of potato chip bags (and other plastic type bags). These bags are extremely dangerous to our curious pets, because once a pet sticks his head inside the bag, it acts as a vacuum and the pet can’t get his head back out, and the pet then dies of suffocation. Sad and gruesome, I know, but it’s a reality…and I really think it’s important to help spread the awareness about this. So please, take a moment to “like” their facebook page. If you don’t want to see their sad posts, you can unfollow so that it doesn’t show in your news feed. However, while they are sad, they are also a regular reminder to protect my pets from letting the same happen to them.

https://www.facebook.com/PreventPetSuffocation

How do you protect your pets? I’d love to hear of more ways that we can all keep our pets healthy, happy, and safe!

PS-Would you please click the link below & vote for Lucy and Oscar? They are in a photo contest, and it just takes a click of a button to vote for them! If we win, I get a $100 gift card to a cute online store! CLICK HERE TO VOTE: http://bit.ly/1N4pxj4

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Have a great night, friends! 

xoxo

Appreciation!

I just wanted to say a quick THANK YOU to everyone who has offered advice, support, and shared their experiences, regarding my recent post on anxiety. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, well then check it out HERE! (Click on the word “here” and it will bring you to that post.)

While we are having some struggles, there are also lots of happy times, filled with love and laughter. I am reminding Jayden every day to use his Fear Buster prayers that our church shared with us, to focus on the positive, and live day by day. He is looking forward to his counseling today, and hopefully this will help teach him some ways to cope. I can not express how much I appreciate all of the comments, messages, and texts re: this issue. You all really made me feel better, and I thank you for allowing me to vent and share! You ALL are the bomb.com! Have a happy Monday! xoxo

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Fosters, Adoptables, oh my!

Hey yooooo!

I’ve been sort of MIA lately from the blogosphere. Work has been soooo crazy busy, and by the time the work day is done, I have no urge to get back on the computer to blog. I’m even seriously lacking on reading all of my friends’ blogs, which I hate because I really do love reading all of your posts! Soon, some day, hopefully I will get back to reading on a regular basis. Until then fellow bloggers, know that I do follow you on FB (if I know where you are), and I think of you and your fab pups, often!

Anywho, lots of stuff has been going on here. First of all, Tooley has been adopted!! If you remember, last time I posted about her (here), she was being moved to a new foster home. She did great at his house, and was only there about a week when she went to her potential adopter. She hung out with them for a week so they could really get to know each other. All went well, everyone fell in love with each other, and the rest is history!

Happy Tails, Tooley!
Happy Tails, Tooley!

Lady Symone is still hanging out here in her temporary retirement home. She is honestly the easiest foster dog I’ve ever had. I’ve even been leaving her out of her crate when I leave and at night, and she’s perfectly well behaved! She’s had a few people interested, but they haven’t met our requirements. She did have a meet & greet this week. I was really excited about it because the lady had another senior bulldog, so she has bulldog experience and senior experience. Unfortunately though, she works 12 hour shifts a few times a week, and I just don’t think Symone would adjust to that. Her previous owner worked from home, and I work from home. So going from having a person around constantly, and getting to go out whenever she wants, to a setting where some days she would not go out for over 12 hours, would be a huge change. The lady and her dog were very lovely, but just not the right fit for this bulldog. So, Lady Symone is still in search of that perfect retirement home!

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There is also a new foster in the house! Meet Roxy! If you follow me on FB (www.Facebook.com/TailsofaFosterMom) then you already know about her. Roxy was in the Wakulla shelter, and as usual they were over crowded so her time was up. Last Hope Rescue was able to pull her, and I picked her up. She was instant friends with everyone in the house. Even Symone doesn’t mind her, although she doesn’t like when Roxy jumps on her back! Roxy is a large breed puppy, around 5-6 months old. I think she is maybe Rhodesian and Shepherd, maybe Whippet too?! I really have no clue. I DO know that she is FULL of energy, and she’s very sweet! She definitely needs to go to someone who is active, and who will be committed to spending time on obedience training. She’s a smart pup, but very…bouncy! She is great with the kid, but I think she’d be too much for small children, until she gets a little more mature and not so jumpy! Roxy is  a great pup though, and will be a fun addition to any family!

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Life with Roxy=constant movement!
Life with Roxy=constant movement!

Lastly, I got to do my favorite part of rescuing today…participate in a freedom ride! It is so rewarding to really feel like you are a part of a dog’s trip to freedom. This guy was coming from Chipley, a rural very high kill shelter, with little to no exposure to the public. His 7 days were up (yes…7 days, and then they’re shipped out to rescues or put down), and luckily we pulled him just in time. We had a new foster join our team, and this all ended up being perfect timing! Sammy was terrified when I pulled him out of the transport van, but he warmed up to us immediately. He crawled across the back seat, and right into Jayden’s lap, resting his head on his shoulder. It was seriously one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen! His little tail started wagging, he gave Jayden some kisses, and then he fell fast asleep! You could almost see the anxiety and tension being released from his tiny little body. He opened up even more as we were introducing him to his new foster family, and within a few minutes, he was sleeping in a shady spot on their deck. This sweet pup is only 10 weeks old, so he’s going to be a big boy for sure. He is in a great foster home, with a Lab to show him the rules of being a cherished pet! Seriously, do you not just LOVE this sweet little face??

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If you know of anyone looking for a pup who is filled with love and loyalty, large breed, and friggin adorable, send them our way!! LastHopeRescueFL@gmail.com or www.Facebook.com/LastHopeRescueFL

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Well that’s about it for things going on around this crazy dog town! I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

xoxo