Whether you realize it or not, bringing a new dog into your home requires some pre-planning. Essential vet appointments, creating a space for the dog, how you plan to train and teach the dog tricks, and basic needs like feeding and walking are things that have probably already been discussed and established before bringing a new dog home.
Most people are not aware that it requires some more work so that the dog can achieve a level of comfort and settle into its new environment. This adjustment period is known as decompression time.
BEFORE COMING HOME
Try to have all of your dog's necessities before they come home. As tempting as it may be to take your new dog with you to the pet store right away, you should not do this because it can be very overwhelming for your new pup.
It would help if you also took some time before bringing your dog into the home to dog-proof areas you don't want the new dog to be. Discuss with those in the house, such as family or roommates, where the dog can go, and put up baby gates on areas where the dog will not be allowed. Setting boundaries is vital. You can also set up your dog's daily routine and schedule for things like feeding times, walks, exercise/play, and potty training.
WHAT IS DECOMPRESSION?
Decompression is a crucial step to helping your new dog adjust to its new surroundings. It allows the dog to feel less pressure or stress so that it can be comfortable. When newly adopted, dogs sometimes tend to feel anxious. They don't know your schedule or routine, and they need time to acclimate themselves. Think about when you go on vacation, especially somewhere far away - you aren't familiar with the surroundings, and it takes a few days to adjust - your dog feels the same way.
SETTING UP A DECOMPRESSION SPACE
To create a decompression space for your dog, here are some things to keep in mind. You can do some things at home to make a safe place for the dog, such as put its bed or crate in a quiet location so that it can spend most of its time there over the next few days. It helps them get accustomed to new smells and sounds and the humans' routines within the home.
It is important to note here that your dog should not socialize with other dogs at this time. The Love Pit encourages adopters to keep the new dog separate from the residents for at least 48 hours. During that time, you can do scent swapping to help adjust.
When ready to introduce dogs, it will help to take a walk together outside in an open space for the dogs to sniff and get to know each other. You should never have dogs meet face-to-face on a leash, and don't let the dogs off-leash until they are comfortable with one another. If the first time doesn't go smoothly for the dogs meeting, don't fret - separate for another 48 hours and try again. Decompression is different for every dog.
REMAIN CALM AND RELAXED
To keep your new dog from developing stress or anxiety, it is important to speak in a calm and even voice. No baby talk! This applies when you are working on setting up boundaries and rules to keep the dog from unwelcome behaviors, such as going to the bathroom on the floor, chewing furniture or shoes, or creating a mess of any kind.
Setting boundaries helps your new dog to settle easier as well. Set areas like the crate for sleeping or downtime, walks and playtime at the same times each day are beneficial with settling in. Routines and structure are especially critical for puppies. Dogs are happier when they don't have the anxiety of having complete freedom to roam about the home.
Managing your dog's environment to establish routines will help your new dog become quickly and painlessly acquainted with its new home. Having the patience to stay calm when your dog misbehaves and reinforcing their appropriate behaviors will lead to a long, healthy, and lasting relationship. Managing your dog's environment and preparing for decompression will help your dog to thrive.
Author Nicole McCray is a die-hard animal lover who has worked in pet care for years. She is a former vet technician, a dog mom to her two rescue pups, and she grew up living and working at her family's pet boarding facility. She loves using her writing talents to share the insight she's learned throughout her career in the hopes that her knowledge can help other pet parents out there!
It is no secret that the pit bull is one of the most talked-about dog breeds. Many people seem to have thoughts and beliefs about them, whether they are positive or negative. They have become quite controversial -- to the point where they are even banned in some parts of the United States and around the world. However, with the spread of education and advocacy, minds may be changed for the better about this unique and wonderful breed. Here are five facts that you should know about pit bulls.
1. “Pit bull” is an umbrella term and not a specific breed
The name “pit bull” refers to a type of dog, namely ones with short coats, muscular builds, and large, square heads. In fact, Pit Bulls are not recognized by the American Kennel Club. When people refer to Pit Bulls, it could mean any of the following breeds, or a combination of them:
2. The discrimination of Pit Bull-type dogs began in the 1980s
Most people don’t assume it was that recent. Popularity of dog breeds typically change throughout history, as well as perceived danger of some of them. In the 1980s, pit bulls became popular amongst irresponsible dog owners. The dogs fell victim to media bias and panic policy making began. The media plays a vital role in labeling (oftentimes incorrectly) dog breeds involved in bites or attacks, which in turn instills fear in the public. These instances are detrimental to the image of all dogs of that breed, even if the vast majority of them are sweet and loving.
3. Pit bulls are not “more aggressive” than other breeds
Aggression is not specific to any one breed of dog, nor is it a breed characteristic or personality trait. The American Temperament Test Society, a program which provides uniform temperament testing for dogs, discovered that pit bull-like dogs passed the test at a higher rate than many other dog breeds. There are many factors that can cause a dog to display aggression. Unfortunately, it is typically related to abuse or neglect, tethering for long periods of time, and lack of positive interaction with people and other animals. If a pit bull does so happen to be aggressive, it is more than likely the fault of a human.
4. There are so many pit-bull-like dogs in shelters due to overbreeding, neglecting to spay and neuter, and BSL laws
Due to their popularity, it is not uncommon for pit bulls to be overbred. Some people also neglect to spay and neuter their dogs, which then results in unwanted litters of puppies. These situations, along with breed-discriminatory legislation, are a few reasons why there is such a high number of pit bulls in shelters. Another heartbreaking, but unfortunately true, fact is that pit bulls are oftentimes the first on the list to be euthanized in kill shelters.
5. Pit bulls are a loyal and people-oriented breed that thrive as part of a family
In our opinion, you will not meet a breed of dog more loyal to its humans than a pit bull. They are extremely eager to please and they love attention, approval, and praise. They also are great with children and there is no shortage of videos on the internet to prove that. But of course, all children should be taught how to interact with dogs in a gentle way and should be supervised, no matter the breed.
Any breed of dog deserves to be loved and respected, and the pit bull is no exception. These misunderstood dogs have so much to offer and are sadly not given the chance to do so, sometimes. They may have a tough exterior, but are complete softies with hearts of gold. Stay tuned for more blog posts from The Love Pit about how you can advocate for them and help us save the pit bull!
Author Elle Veranth is a writer and pit bull lover. She is a proud dog mom to a four-year-old rescue pit bull named Morris and is very passionate about pit bull advocacy. She loves to write about anything that spreads the word of TLP's mission -- with an iced coffee in hand, of course.
Is your dog your Valentine? Us, too! We love to spoil our pitties with healthy homemade treats. Ditch the chocolates and whip up these easy, tasty Valentine's Day dog cookies. Instead of chocolate and food coloring, our red velvet cookies use beets and apple sauce.
Ever wish your dog could talk? Turns out, dogs talk all the time! They use body language to communicate how they feel, what they think and even what they plan to do next. It’s up to us to interpret that body language and decide the best way to respond.
Ready to “speak Dog”? Here are four common ways that dogs communicate:
Eyes are the window to the soul — and your dog’s emotions! A dog’s eyes can tell you when she is feeling anxious, uncomfortable or tense. This is especially important if you’re meeting a new dog, or if your dog is in an unfamiliar situation. If the eyes are large and round, with dilated pupils, it might be best to give that dog space or a quiet area to decompress.
Yawning doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is sleepy. It could mean that they’re stressed or feel unsafe! If your dog yawns or licks their lips, they might need to take a break in a quiet or secure area. This reminder is especially important for kids, who may what to grab their furbuddy and cuddle up for a nap.
Tails say lots of things, but they’re only one part of the story! Don’t make assumptions on how your dog is feeling just based on their tail. It would be like approaching a person based solely on how they’re holding their arms.
It’s tempting to let your dog kiss a brand-new friend, but it’s not a safe idea. Follow natural dog etiquette and let them do polite sniffing (well, polite to dogs, anyway!) or walk side-by-side. Dogs get a better idea of each other this way, and it helps everyone avoid awkward or potentially dangerous face-to-face scuffles.
If you watch close, you can see that your dog is communicating all the time. Knowing how to “speak Dog” will help you form a close, healthy and safe relationship with your pets throughout their lifetimes.
There's a reason why every TLP dog is microchipped before adoption: Microchipping is one of the best ways to ensure your pet returns to you if they get loose or lost. Painless and inexpensive, a microchip is a cornerstone of responsible pet ownership, and crucial for helping shelters and other animal care facilities reunite pets with owners.
It happens to the most responsible pet owners. Dogs can find a way out of the most secure backyard or watchful eye. Even worse, collars can slip or break off. When that happens, it's crucial that your dog has an up-to-date microchip. Almost every veterinary office, shelter or animal facility is able to scan for a microchip. Make sure to keep your information up-to-date and renew your membership with the microchip company (if applicable).
Your furry friend isn't worth the gamble and deserves every chance to find their way home. Shelters and veterinary offices offer easy, low-cost chipping services.
One chip, the size of one grain of rice, can prevent heartache and save you from losing your dog to an overburdened shelter system. Microchipping your dog is quick, painless and low-cost. The microchip will not cause your dog any irritation. They won't notice it!
April is Heartworm Awareness Month! Heartworms can cause devastating damage to your dog, but they're one of the easiest things to prevent. No matter where you are or what time of year it is, one of the best decisions you can make is getting your dog on heartworm prevention.
Heartworm meds can only be effective if you remember to administer them! Set a reminder on your phone to give your dog their meds. And while you're at it, text your friends to remind them too!
Heartworms are transmitted by MOSQUITOS. An infected dog CANNOT pass worms to another dog -- not through blood, feces or anything else.
Heart worms are real worms that grow inside your dog. It's painful and potentially deadly, and treament can cost thousands of dollars. Here's the GOOD news: You can prevent heart worms with a low-cost monthly prevention. Talk to your vet if you haven't already!
Heartworms can do lasting and eventually fatal damage to vital organs Dogs are surrendered to shelters DAILY by heartbroken families who can't afford treatment.
Some folks only give preventatives when the weather is warm, but the truth is that mosquitos carry this disease year-round. Please don’t gamble on your pet’s health!
When it comes to your pet's health, many factors are out of your control. Heartworm disease isn't one of them! Take a simple step to prevent major heartache in the future. Talk to your vet about heartworm prevention today!
One of the many challenges of pit bull rescue is finding homes that allow our beloved breed. Many potential adopters say, “I can just register the dog as an ESA — my landlord has to allow them.”
That’s just one of the myths around ESAs, or Emotional Support Animals. The Love Pit believes that animals should only be considered ESAs if there is a genuine need and the dog fits the criteria. TLP does not support labeling a dog an ESA to get around breed restrictions.
Here are a few more #TLPFacts about ESAs that we wish everyone knew. This knowledge will help you make an informed decision and keep you, your family and your pet safe.
IF you truly are in need of an ESA, PLEASE do your research. Your mental health provider must deem it necessary, your ESA MUST be well behaved, potty trained, and must NOT be considered a danger to residents in your home/apartment complex/ neighborhood.
ESAs of any age who are a nuisance, a danger, or not potty trained can be evicted, resulting in owner surrenders at the shelter. As we all know, owner surrenders = higher risk of euthanasia for shelter dogs.
ESAs provide companionship & sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities, as service animals do. Misrepresenting your pet as an ESA OR service dog is WRONG. Don’t put the public at risk, and don’t set your own pet up for failure. Every dog deserves to be well trained and truthfully represented by their humans.
Many loving animals do not have what it takes to complete professional service dog training, and are better suited to be “professional” couch potatoes! Please don’t anticipate using service dog status as a loophole for breed restrictions, air travel, or access to public spaces.
ESA and service dog are titles reserved for truly qualified working dogs. They should never be used to work around breed restrictions or score unnecessary special accommodations. When bringing a new pet home, always be honest with yourself. It’s the best way to set you and your new friend up for a long, healthy and safe life!
February is Spay & Neuter Awareness Month. Why is it important to spay or neuter your animals? Altering your pet can positively affect their health and behavior, their lifespan, and the overall population of homeless animals in the United States! The Love Pit encourages good humans everywhere to alter pets and help avoid the onslaught of puppies and kittens that overwhelm our shelters, especially in the warmer months.
It may seem annoying to pay to spay or neuter your pet, but the price of cancer treatments is much higher. When families can’t afford medical treatments, they often resort to surrendering their pet to a shelter in hopes that an adopted or rescue will help their pet. And as we saw earlier, the odds of a positive outcome for an animal in a shelter are not good.
When you consider the facts surrounding spay and neuter procedures, it’s tough to imagine why any pet owner would choose not to alter their furry family member!
We like to keep it positive around here, but facts are facts. When unaltered pets roam, they’re more likely to be stolen, hit by a car, attacked by a wild animal or involved in a dog fight. When faced with circumstances like these, many humans lack the resources to help their pet, resulting in the death of a beloved pet, or yet another animal surrendered to a shelter. Please think ahead and do not put your pet at risk. Spay and neuter your four-legged family member and keep them safe for years to come!
January is Train Your Dog Month! We’re celebrating with some tips to help you build a happy and trusting relationship with your dog.
Dogs are family members. Unlike human family members, though, your furry pal can’t speak to you. Luckily, with a commitment to consistent training, you can build the connection with your pup that you’ve always wanted.
Obedience training is a crucial part of responsible dog ownership. Studies show that obedience training with positive reinforcement helps your dog respect you, trust you, and strengthens your overall relationship.
Dogs need boundaries to feel secure. When you’re inconsistent, your dog may feel stressed by a lack of predictable routines. Ultimately, setting boundaries at home will help instill confidence in your pup, allowing you to enjoy one another a lot more.
Show You Care
Research indicates that physical contact lowers stress levels in dogs. Training provides an excellent opportunity to love on your furry pal as you reward them for good behavior. Whether you’re showering your pup with praise for performing a new skill or just reviewing the basics, you’ll have tons of opportunity for physical touch and eye contact.
Dogs need mental and physical stimulation. Without it, they’re likely to get bored and misbehave. Training is a great outlet for dogs to work their brains and expend some energy. If they’re entertained and worn out from training sessions, they’re going to be happier and better behaved even when training time is done.
If you want to be closer to your dog and ensure they’re confident, safe, and happy, training is the way to do it. Just stick with it and stay patient. You’ll be glad you did.
Mandy Lee is a dog mom, avid volunteer veterinarian and co-author of Saved By The Bark blog. She enjoys sharing tips and tricks for volunteers and animal lovers through thoughtfully researched blog posts.
Or any other four-legged loved one…
If you’re anything like me, I have a tendency of losing my keys often and trying to find my phone while I am actually talking on it. I often find myself quietly praying to Apple to step up their game and create my very own “Meet the Jetson’s” handmaid Rosie just to put my laundry away. While keys can be replaced and a new phone purchased, replacing a furry love bug is not.