Arrival of Your Dog
Important advice we provide to our home-checked fosterers and adopters. Please take the time to read these notes carefully.
The following is important information which we send to all home-checked fosterers and adopters. It contains advice, gained by experience, to make the initial days/weeks as easy as possible for you and your new dog. We ask all fosterers and adopters to acknowledge receipt of this advice which is sent by email at the time of arrival.
ON THE DAY - collecting a dog directly from transport - PLEASE BRING A SLIP LEAD AND A CRATE
If you are collecting a dog directly from transport to the UK, rather than from a foster home, it is important that you transfer the dog from the van into your car as quickly as possible. You should use a slip lead, which can be quickly secured around the dog’s neck with ease, carry the dog into your car and secure the dog within a crate. Do not worry about letting the dog have a walk or seeing if they need to toilet at this stage - their safety is more important. Just make sure the dog is secure when in the car, so that your dog cannot escape when getting out of your car after arriving at your home. This is very important.
Another adult should be with you, so that once you are back in the car, they can hold the lead, threaded through to the back seats if the dog is in the boot, to stop the dog jumping out, when you open the car door or boot.
If you have a car cage/crate that fits your car or a dog guard, this is perfect but still needs the lead threading through the crate so that it can be held securely upon arrival at your destination.
ON THE DAY – keeping your dog safe after arrival
Before collecting your dog, ensure you have two leads, a collar which should be buckle fastening and an ID tag for their collar, showing your surname and address (this is the law) and your phone number. You will also need a harness, which needs to fit tightly.
One lead should be connected to the dog’s collar and held over your wrist, like a bracelet, providing a backup for the second lead.
The second lead should be attached to the harness, which needs to be tight so that the dog is not able to pull back and reverse out of it. Hold the second lead in your hand. This is called “double leading” and is an important safety measure for new dogs. You need to use double-leading when walking your dog for at least the first couple of weeks.
More information on leads, collars and suitable harnesses is available on our Recommended Equipment page.
WHEN YOU GET HOME
It is important to take a few days off work to settle your dog in - as specified on the Give a Dog a Home website.
They will be thirsty and a bit apprehensive after their journey, so please allow them several days to settle into your home before you walk them outside of the garden, or take them in the car, have any visitors etc. A cosy cage/crate and some small chews will help a lot in this respect. Please do not take your dog on a walk for at least three days after arriving at your home.
You will also need to have the crate set up and ready and a bed or bedding (an old duvet will do) plus bowls and food, training treats and maybe a cuddly toy for the night. It helps to cover the top and sides of the crate with a blanket to make it cosier.
We recommend giving some Rescue Remedy (a natural remedy that helps with stress, available from chemists or health shops) on a treat (the centre bits of Markies are absorbent!) or on a small piece of bread, a few times during the day and especially at bedtime.
A Pet Remedy plug in will also help, available from pet stores, Amazon and some vets. Maybe leave a radio on low for their first few days, except at night. There are other steps to take if your dog seems very timid after the first few days - please do contact us.
This will be the first time they are separated from their siblings and playmates, so expect some whining and worrying if they are left alone at night. It is very important not to force a very frightened dog to do anything it does not want to do. Even if it takes a week of getting used to the house/garden and not going anywhere further. Taking time with small steps, ensures they don’t do too much too soon and become overwhelmed.
More information on useful products is available on our Recommended Equipment page.
We advise mixing any dried food with some warm boiled water or some wet/ tinned/fresh food to make it more palatable. Naturediet wet food, in plastic trays is good for this - just a few shavings in each meal with perhaps some shredded cooked green vegetables like broccoli or spinach (not garlic, onions or leeks) and cooked carrots cut into tiny pieces, or mashed. Cooked pumpkin, sweet potato and plain boiled chicken are good additions for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Adult dogs should have a high quality kibble like McAdams, Arden Grange, Burns, James Wellbeloved, Canagan or Symply twice a day. We do not recommend Bakers or Purina (too many additives). Grain-free dog foods are usually best. If a supermarket wet or dry food is used, the best is Chappie, it is very mild and can be suitable for sensitive tummies.
Food should be appropriate for the dog’s size, age, lifestyle, health and preference. We recommend food should contain high-quality protein (but not too protein-rich), as well as vegetables and healthy carbohydrates in the form of grain-free ingredients such as rice and potato. There is a huge variety of kibble, wet food and even pre-prepared, raw food on the market, so it is always best to read the ingredients and go with quality rather than price. (Good food means good health so therefore fewer vet visits or behavioural problems, so it really is worth the extra pennies!)
Coming from the street or shelter and often hungry or starved, our dogs are often scavengers by nature or nurture! So please get into the habit of shutting all food away in closed cupboards. Dogs can die from over eating, especially of dried kibble,
so this must be treated as an emergency if you think they have broken into their own food supply, phone the vet for advice straight away. Slow-feeder bowls are very useful to prevent dogs from bolting down their food
We recommend that a probiotic supplement can be very helpful for new rescue dogs, or plain probiotic yoghurt. Raw food is very good for some dogs – do contact us if you wish to progress to a raw diet. There is an article on our website about this, under Dog Wellbeing.
Do not feed your new dog in the same area as your other dogs and ensure all family members respect your new arrival’s space while he is eating. This includes treats and chews as well as mealtimes. Rescue dogs may feel protective over their food at first after a history of starvation and need to feel safe around this precious resource.
SAFETY - avoiding escapes
Above all, please be very careful they do not escape out of your front door, or garden, or out of your hands when walking. They will not understand you are their guardian and this is their home. They are very vulnerable during the first few weeks, likely to startle at loud noises e.g. backfiring cars, motor bikes, vacuum cleaners, fireworks. Their instinct is to bolt and keep running if frightened.
Check there is always another door shut with the dog behind it, before opening the front door. This is why we advise double leading (as explained above) in the first month at least.
Please do not let your dog off lead during that time except in a secure, small garden. When you let the dog free in the garden for the first time, leave a long lead trailing from their harness, so you can get hold of them again easily, without having to grab them.
Do not let them off lead at all outside the garden for a good few months while they are receiving recall training.
Do not give them to children under 16 to walk, except in a secure area with no other dogs or people and under supervision from yourself.
Please do not use extendable leads as these can cause injury to both you and your dog. Instead, use a suitable long lead as suggested in our Recommended Equipment page.
HEALTH AND BEHAVIOUR - SETTING THEM UP FOR SUCCESS
It is fun to see your new dog having a wonderful time but especially if they have just arrived from Greece or Romania (as opposed to fostered) they are not likely to be ready for this for quite some weeks. It is sufficient for them to feel safe at last, have a roof over their heads, a nice bed and food and you need to take things very slowly and calmly, right from meeting your dog.
1) Do not attempt to groom, wash or take your dog to the vet for some time (unless needed urgently).The dog needs to feel secure to be able to cope with new experiences. Too much too soon, could risk setting up a bad (fearful) association and result in a traumatic reaction to said groomer/vet etc. for the rest of the dog’s life.
Our dogs have all been vaccinated, de-wormed and given flea treatment before they travel and won’t need to be done again for about a month after arrival, depending on the product you intend to use.
You can register them with a local vet and get advice about worming etc. over the phone, no need to visit.
2) Be careful also not to lavish attention on the new dog at the expense of your existing dog and to keep the new dog’s boundaries small for the first few days; do not let them run all over the house, up the stairs, on the sofa and beds. It is much easier to let a new dog on the sofa after a month of training than retraining it not to go on once you have allowed it to do so in the first place!
We advise not to let your new dog sleep on the bed for quite some time. Crating the dog is essential if you are going to let it sleep near you or your family, including dogs and cats, in the first few weeks. Your dog needs to settle within your family before being left loose with any family members overnight.
3) Do you know it is not necessary to re-vaccinate your dog every year? There is an article on our website under Dog Wellbeing. Most people now choose every three years, every seven, or not at all, after the first vaccinations (which all of our dogs have been given before transport to the UK). Alternatively, you can arrange for them to have a titre blood test (pronounced tighter) to measure the level of antibodies in the blood for each of the diseases. http://vaccicheck.com/
Be careful also of some vets’ attitudes to foreign dogs. We have a lot of evidence in this respect. Our dogs have been thoroughly vet-checked before they leave their home country. You can always change vets if you feel they are not sympathetic
4) Do not neuter your pup too early. We advise that you leave it until they are at least nine or ten months old. As part of our adoption contract, all unsterilized dogs must be spayed or neutered once they reach an appropriate age. Therefore, if you adopt a puppy from us, we require proof of sterilisation in the form of a veterinary receipt. Please email this to us after the procedure.
We strongly recommend taking dogs to training classes as soon as they are ready. For puppies, training classes should be started as early as possible because good training during this period prevents the development of bad habits in adulthood. There are so many benefits to training your dog and it is an essential part of responsible dog care. Obedience training for dogs equips them with skills that are important for safety and wellbeing, as well as allowing them to understand and thrive in domestic life. Training is also a brilliant way to build the bond between you and your dog and group training classes offer a safe environment to socialise your dog and yourself.
If your dog is not ready to join group classes, it is best to acquire the help of a one-to-one behaviourist. Please CONTACT US for recommendations. It is important when choosing a trainer or behaviourist that you pick qualified professionals who do not use harsh punishment techniques (such as shock, prong or choke collars).
DOGS AND CHILDREN
It is ESSENTIAL that all contact with children should be supervised. Do not turn your back and leave your new dog and children unattended, even for a second. If you have to answer the phone, go to the loo, vacuum clean, go to the front door - put your new dog in his crate, or at least behind a stairgate. Teach all children, your own and visiting, not to get their face near, not to wave their arms and legs around, nor to make a noise near a new dog. They need to learn to respect the dog’s rights and not go into their crate, touch their food or tease them with toys. Children should be careful not to overexcite dogs or engage in rough play.
DOGS AND CATS AND OTHER SMALL FURRIES
It is also ESSENTIAL that all other animals in the house should not be left alone with your new dog. Relationships need to be established. This will take time.
There is more information on the Give a Dog a Home website which is relevant and should be read before you bring your dog home - notably Acclimatising a Foreign Rescue and Rescue Adoption Advice.
Please also refer to our Resources and Recommended Books and Recommended Equipment pages before and after adoption.
There are other books and websites (notably www.puppyschool.co.uk who have the 'soft touch' long training leads and the Gwen Bailey Rescue Dog book we recommend) and behaviourists and trainers who can also help. Our own Facebook page is a mine of information too.
Please do not refer your dog to a behaviourist without speaking to me first, as we can often help via the phone or a visit. Behaviourists and trainers vary in standard and approach and our shelter and street dogs have specific backgrounds and needs, so avoid listening to advice from people who might 'know about dogs'! These dogs are special!
There is a good booklet on the first few weeks of adopting a rescue “Love Has No Age Limit; welcoming an adopted dog into your home “by Patricia McConnell and Karen London. This is available on Amazon and through booksellers.
Patricia McConnell also has a good book in the same series about separation anxiety, “I'll be Home Soon”. You should start by leaving your dog for 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 minutes at a time, building up gradually, during the first two weeks (not in the first three days however) so that they become used to being on their own - give them a chew and leave the radio on. Only increase the minutes if they are happy. Go back a step if necessary but it’s always best to take it slowly, so they don’t feel the anxiety in the first place. It is much easier to build up confident behaviour than undo anxiety. This can be a big problem with shelter dogs who are used to being with others.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
Please do keep in touch with us after your dog has arrived and send us photos. We will contact you anyway periodically post-adoption to check all is well, but love to hear from you and receive updates.
Give a Dog a Home UK have an active Facebook page which we love you to follow and we also have a success stories Facebook page, Given a Dog a Home, specifically for photos and stories about adopted dogs. We love every single photo and update about our adopted dogs.
Or, if you are not on Facebook, please email photos of your dog periodically to us. We are the default owners of the dogs throughout their lives.
We have regular twice yearly sponsored Reunion Dog Walks, which we encourage adopters to attend. They are usually held on the South coast, at Cuckmere Haven, in
April and October. The next one is planned for 7th of October 2018 at 1:30pm. You will be notified by email and details will be on the Facebook page and the website in advance.
ADOPTION FORMS AND MICROCHIP DETAILS
Please look on the website under Dog Wellbeing for details as to how the registration of the microchip will have been transferred.
All our dogs have all been blood-tested, vaccinated, de-wormed and given flea treatment before they travel.
We will send a formal adoption contract within a few weeks for your signature and ask for payment of the outstanding adoption fee, usually £300. We will post the passport to you after the contract has been signed.
We wish you and your new dog a very happy time together. Thank you for saving both your own disadvantaged dog and the one that comes after it, into the space vacated. Adopting a street dog can be challenging but is, we think you will find, extremely rewarding!
Very best wishes,
Chair and Founder
Useful Links –
Resources page on our website -
Recommended equipment page on our website –
Recommended reading page on our website -
List of enclosed dog walking areas and secure fields for hire -www.dogwalkingfields.co.uk/
Facebook group for owners of shelter/street dogs - www.facebook.com/groups/111159915898929/