Continuation of the homecoming
April 21, 2014
Last week's column gave a few suggestions to consider when bringing an adopted shelter dog home: asking shelter staff about what Woof likes, buying all Woof's necessities before bringing him home and introducing him to your canine companion(s). Here are five more, but I'm fairly sure that a thorough online search would yield many others.
First, place a tag on Woof's collar with your name and phone number. It might take only seconds of inattention for Woof to escape from a slightly ajar gate or a car door after unleashing him. A noise may have startled him, or he may have seen movement and loves to chase. Many pet stores and stores that sell pet supplies have DIY metal-engraving machines that will produce Woof's reasonably priced tag.
Along with a tag on Woof's collar, you might want to consider microchipping him. Because a microchip is embedded in the skin, identification is never lost like a tag that can fall off. According to Petfinder.com, the average cost of microchipping is $45. However, you and Woof are just beginning to bond, so don't trust him unleashed yet. (And always obey the leash laws in your community.)
Second, be patient in correcting unwanted behavior. Many times, shelter staff know nothing about a dog's history before becoming a shelter resident. So Woof may have been through myriad upheavals in his life and is still unsure of his status in his new life. Woof may have accidents even though you were told that he was housebroken. However, this is another new situation that he must conquer once again.
To help both Woof and you, in this beginning stage, try to keep him in a room that's easily cleaned. Walk him daily to the same spot where you want him to potty. Reward him when he does. And always be gentle when correcting behavior, especially if Woof is timid or frightened.
Third, to tighten your developing bond, spend some playtime with Woof every day if you can. Do not, however, play roughly and/or tug-of-war games at this point in your relationship. This may awaken aggressive behavior in Woof who must learn during this time that his position in the pack is at the bottom.
Fourth, never leave a new dog unsupervised when he's with children. Teach your children how to approach, in a nonthreatening way, your new family member and how to play gently with him. Always watch until you know that Woof knows that your children are higher in the pack than he is and your children understand how to interact with Woof.
The fifth and final suggestion is to take Woof for a checkup with your veterinarian. Just like us, dogs need health care services in their lives, and this is the time to establish that relationship.
To wrap up this week's article are a couple of reminders. First, if you haven't already, mark May 3 on your calendar as the date for our upcoming annual 5K Strut-Your-Mutt Walk/Run and Bark in the Park. This year's event will be held at Churchill County Fairgrounds. For more information, go to our website (www.capsnv.org) or call the shelter (775-423-7500) during normal business hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Next, please stop by Flower Tree Nursery to buy raffle tickets ($1 each or six for $5) for a gorgeous floribunda crabapple tree (valued at $81.99!). All proceeds from this raffle directly benefit the dogs and cats in our care. Tickets can also be purchased at the shelter during normal business hours (see above) and on our next Walmart Saturday (see below). The drawing will be held on May 1 at Flower Tree, and you don't need to be present to win.
Finally, be sure to stop by tomorrow and say "Hi" to us at Walmart, where we'll be selling our wares: shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, caps, totes, calendars, baked goodies and more. We'll have registration forms for the 5K walk/run (see above), so this would be an opportune time to pre-register ($15 per person, $50 for a group of four). Ki the Kissing Pooch will also be waiting to greet his old friends and meet new ones (who surely will join his growing fan club).
This week's article was contributed by Betty Duncan, a member of the CAPS board of directors.