Getting a Dog

5 things I’d tell a new pet parent

5 things I’d tell a new pet parent

Often the best advice comes from people who have been there. We asked some relatively new pet parents to share what they’ve learned along the way. 

Give your dog time to settle in

“Keep it simple – try not to overwhelm your dog with too many new things all at once.

Give them space to suss out their new environment and their new humans. Be patient and understanding.” Donna and Sal who adopted Izzy.

“I think the best piece of advice I could give to someone adopting a dog would be to give them some time to settle into what will hopefully be their new forever home.” Ian who adopted Louie.

“In those first few days, don’t get overly concerned or stressed about anything. The dog has been though a lot.” Jamie who adopted Ghost and then subsequently Aoife

“Don’t force the dog into cuddles or anything; let the dog come to you.” Natalie who adopted Rupert

“Be prepared to put in a lot of time and build relationships slowly.” Lois and Reece who adopted Winnie.

“When you have brought your dog home for the first time, let them settle in quietly and allow them to explore the new surroundings, giving everything a good sniff.  Show them where their food/water bowls and bedding is located and how to access the garden/outside space.  Lots of excitement should be avoided at this time, until the dog is ready to engage with you.” Eve and Dave who adopted Jessie.

Patience, consistency and love go a long way

“Dogs benefit from routine - try to give them set mealtimes and set walk times each day. It helps them settle better throughout the day and helps you get on with the rest of your day too. For the first week or so it'll take a bit of sussing out what works best for them and for you. Just give it the time to work out and you'll soon find yourselves in a flow.” Donna and Sal.

“If the dog has an accident in the first few days, that’s probably just because they’re nervous. It’s important you don’t tell them off, but instead every time they do it, just take them outside. They’ll soon learn that they have to let you know when they need to go to the loo.” Natalie.

“Rescue dogs are so grateful to have a forever home, and if we had more money we would rescue all the dogs, haha!” Lois and Reece.

“Dogs thrive on routine and consistency.  I swear sometimes that Jessie knows how to tell the time as she will hassle you if you are late in feeding her or taking her out for walkies.” Eve and Dave.

“I’ve found that when attempting to change any behavioural issues or instilling a new behaviour, it has to be done gradually.” Ian.

“Patience, consistency and love will give you and your rescue dog a bond and a life full of adventure and joy.” Jamie.

Get to know and understand your dog

“Listen to the advice that the shelter provides. And stay in touch! Don't be afraid to reach out to the shelter you adopted from and ask questions or get advice. Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter were wonderful from start to finish. They were on hand to support us along the way – from the fostering/trial period through to the adoption process, and afterwards.” Donna and Sal.

“In the first few weeks, I think it is important to observe the dog very closely. Always be calm and show plenty of affection. This helps build the trust element.” Ian.

“It took about a month before Ghost was sure he wasn’t going anywhere. One of the best things has been seeing the behavioural changes in him.” Jamie.

“Winnie was terrified of the car. I think she associated it with being abandoned. So we had to go back to basics and reward her lots of times for just getting in. Now she has stopped crying in the car.” Lois and Reece

“Take time to research dog behaviour and training.  There are countless YouTube videos and TV programmes giving advice.” Eve and Dave.

“Rupert was pretty well-trained when I got him but he was a bit timid so I had to work on positive socialisation. Now he’s great with other dogs and people.” Natalie

Tricky moments can be overcome

“Ghost was a ball of anxiety when he first came to me and I was a little concerned because he didn’t eat very much for a week or two. But it was just because he was stressed.” Jamie.

“When we first got Winnie, she was a completely different dog. She was very crazy and hyper and also wouldn't come for cuddles or affection. But now she is completely different – she comes in for cuddles and is the calmest dog ever. So definitely do not give up; it is a lot of work in the beginning but the good days definitely outweigh the bad days.” Lois and Reece.

“Try to get as much information as possible about the previous life of the dog and any issues there may be. A good rehoming centre will always give you advice on how to cope with any problems that crop up.” Eve and Dave.

“Over the first few days of owning Louie it became very apparent that he could become over excited by toys/balls – my guess was he had been left for long periods without human company. In the first few days he became so hyperactive chasing a ball in the house, he managed to smash two lamps! We’ve managed to gradually reduce the amount of toys he has indoors and replaced this with human contact. He still loves to chase the ball when he’s being exercised outdoors.” Ian

“Be aware and open minded that there may be some teething problems at first. Nobody's perfect, dogs included! Persevere and go with the flow – it's so worth it.” Donna and Sal.

“Rupert was quite shy when I first got him but he is really starting to shine now – he’s a proper little bundle of joy.” Natalie.

Adopting a dog is brilliant!

“I would definitely recommend adopting a dog. It feels really rewarding to give them a second chance in life.” Natalie

“It’s been wonderful to watch Izzy settle in and come out of her shell. She's an absolute sweetie with an excellent attitude towards life. We love her cheekiness, her playfulness, and she offers so much affection (something we were not expecting given her background). She teaches us to enjoy the moment and be grateful for the little things each and every day.” Donna and Sal.

“The relationship I have with Ghost is amazing. It’s because our bond is so strong that I recently adopted another dog, Aoife.” Jamie.

“The best thing about rescuing our Winnie is knowing she now has the best life she could ever dream of. She is such a funny character and we don't know what we would do without her; she is such an affectionate and loving girl. When you have down days she brightens them up with her gentle nature.” Lois and Reece.

“When your new friend truly becomes a part of the family, the affection, trust and loyalty they give will overcome any trials that may crop up.” Eve and Dave.

“The best thing about adopting has been getting to know Louie’s personality, discovering what makes him tick and earning his trust and affection. Seeing him become a part of the family and relaxing into his role of ‘pampered pooch’ has been a very rewarding experience.” Ian.