Category Archives: Pet Tips

How to Stop Your Dog from Digging

Dog digging in yard - how to stop

So how do you get your dog to stop digging? In this post, we’ll discuss the reasons that some dogs dig, the breeds most likely to dig, and the methods you can use to discourage the behavior.

Digging in the yard is common issue dog owners face because, for many of them, it’s instinctual behavior. Some breeds are especially prone to digging because they were originally bred for hunting.

Whether your dog is digging up your yard because of instincts or boredom, you’re probably not going to be happy about it once your yard is full of holes.


Why do dogs dig?

Dogs can dig in the yard for a variety of reasons, the most common being they’re bored or aren’t getting enough exercise and playtime.

  • Dogs favorite personBoredom
  • Exercise
  • Excess Energy
  • Comfort Seeking
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Hiding Possessions
  • Escape or Gain Access
  • Attention Seeking
  • Entertainment
  • Hunting Prey
  • Instinct

When your dog digs up the yard, it can definitely be frustrating.  If you can figure out the cause of the digging, then you can take steps to stop it. Often times, it comes down to your dog having too much energy, which can mean they need more walking, exercise, playtime or toys that will help them use up energy in other ways. 

Related: How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?


How to stop dogs from digging?

If you can determine the reason your dog is digging, you’ll have a much easier time changing the behavior. You may need to try a few different things to find what works.

  • Give them more exercise and playtime
  • Get them more toys and new chew toys
  • Grant them an area it’s okay to dig in
  • Don’t leave them outside alone
  • Don’t leave toys outside
  • Create deterrents to digging
  • Help your dog cool off
  • Get rid of rodents

Related: Benefits of Positive Reinforcement Dog Training

Exercise and playtime – These are the most common methods to get your dog to stop digging in the yard. Very often the cause of the digging is related to lack of exercise or play. Keeping your dog from getting bored and making sure they have an outlet for their energy can go a long way to stop them from digging.

Give them new toys – Your dog may need some new diversions to keep them entertained. Try offering a wide assortment of toys, such as balls, sticks, rope toys, treat-dispensing dog toys and dental chews. Rotating through an assortment of toys can help keep them from getting bored.

Don’t leave toys outside – Some dogs feel the need to bury their possessions. If you leave chew toys, bones, or playthings outside, they may dig in an effort to hide them.

Give them a place it’s okay to dig – Consider creating a space that’s intentionally designed for your dog to dig in. Let them have a spot in the yard where they know they’re allowed to dig.

Don’t leave them outside alone – Some dogs if left unsupervised in the yard will entertain themselves by digging holes. You may have to make sure they are only in the yard when they are supervised.

Create deterrents for digging – Sometimes you can come up with ways to frustrate the digging behavior of your dog, and make it so it’s not worth their effort. Things like citrus sprays, coffee grounds, vinegar and even cayenne can stop dogs from digging in problem areas.

Help your dog stay cool – Some dogs will dig because they are hot, and digging below the surface gives them cool ground to lie on. Provide other ways for them to stay cool on hot days.


What dog breeds dig the most?

These dogs are most likely to dig because at some point it was their job and the behavior was rewarded and red into them.

  • DachshundDachshund
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Beagle
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Border Collies


More Dog Training Information

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing – The Pets’ Home
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking – The Pets’ Home
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging – Humane Society
How to Stop Dogs from Digging – The Spruce
7 Tips to Stop Your Dog from Digging Up the Yard – Rover
10 Dogs Breeds That Love to Dig – Petcha


The Pets’ Home offers dog training services along with our popular dog walking and dog sitting services. You can get dog shuttle service available to and from training lessons. We also aim to teach pet parents how to break their own bad habits, as well, so your dog can have consistency. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

Is It Safe for My Cat to Eat Bugs?

Cat hunting bugs to eat

Domestic house cats are natural born hunters. It is in their genes and they share this trait with their much larger “cousins” in the big cat family.

As a cat owner, you’ve probably seen cats chase after anything that moves, from rodents to laser lights, to insects.

Most of us humans aren’t really into eating insects so it’s not surprising that we might be a little grossed out by seeing our cat eat a grasshopper or a moth.

You might even wonder:
Is it safe for my cat to eat bugs? Are insects poisonous to cats?


You shouldn’t have to worry. Most household insects are not harmful to your cat. There are some exceptions to this though.

Is it safe for cats to eat flies?

Cat restingIt’s okay for your cat to eat flies. If it lived out in the wild, it would probably be eating them anyway. House flies do not carry transmissible diseases and eating one occasionally is not going to hurt your cat.

Related: My Cat Ate a Mouse – Should I Be Worried?

Is it safe for cats to eat moths?

In most cases, it’s perfectly fine for your cat to eat moths. Many cat owners say their cats love moths and enjoy hunting for them in the summer. Some have said that the only moth that can make your cat sick is the Garden Tiger Moth. Even that one won’t kill your cat.

Is it safe for cats to eat June Bugs?

Cats love to chase June bugs, and some dogs enjoy eating them as well. While the bugs themselves are not toxic, eating too many of them can lead to an upset stomach, and possibly even diarrhea or vomiting.

Is it safe for cats to eat grasshoppers?

Besides moths, grasshoppers are often a favorite bug to eat for many cats. They present a fun challenge for your cat to hunt. They are usually harmless for your cat to eat, although too many of them could lead to an upset stomach.

Relate: Reasons to Keep Cats Indoors

Is it safe for cats to eat mosquitoes? 

Although mosquitoes can carry diseases which can be passed on to humans and animals, eating mosquitoes will not harm your cat. The bite of a mosquito is what can transfer a disease. The digestive process in the stomach will render diseases carried by mosquitoes harmless.

Is it safe for cats to eat centipedes?

House centipedes are predators who eat other bugs in the house, so they’re not harmful to have in the home. They are capable of biting humans, although they usually won’t. Their bit usually won’t make it through your cat’s fur though. They aren’t poisonous for your cat to eat. 

The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sittingdog sittingcat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

Photo credit: Cat stalking a prey photo by Jennifer Barnard is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing

Dog chewing

Many dog owners have had to deal with coming home and discovering that your doggy friend has chewed on something she wasn’t supposed to have.

For puppies, chewing is a normal part of the teething process. When adult dog chew, they often do it out of boredom or stress. 

When your dog repeated engages in inappropriate chewing, it can be very frustrating as well as destructive to your property. It can also lead to medical problems and hurt the bond with your dog.

In this post, we look at steps you can take to stop your dog from chewing things that they shouldn’t and correct the behavior.

How to get your dog to stop inappropriate chewing

  • Puppy-proof your home
  • Rule out medical issues
  • Make sure it’s not separation anxiety
  • Encourage them to use a chew toy
  • Discourage inappropriate chewing
  • Use a dog chewing deterrent
  • Give them plenty of exercise


Puppy-proof your home

Make sure you remove items out of the reach of your dog that could be harmful. Start with electrical cords and household chemicals. Move on to your shoes, socks and kids toys that could be too tempting while your dog is still learning good behaviors. 

Prevent parasites in dogsRule out medical issues

Make sure that your dog does not have any medical problems which could lead to inappropriate chewing. Nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal problems, and parasites can trigger chewing as a coping mechanism for your dog. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out underlying medical conditions that can lead to chewing.

Related: Using Baking Soda to Fight Dog Odors

Make sure it’s not separation anxiety

Sometimes excessive chewing can be a symptom of separation anxiety. If you believe this could be the cause, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Related: Tips for Leaving Your Dog on Vacation

Encourage them to use a chew toy

You will need to encourage your dog to redirect their behavior to appropriate objects like chew toys. Every dog has their own preferences for what kind of toys they like, so you may need to try a few different types of toys before you find the right kind for your dog.


Discourage inappropriate chewing

If you catch your dog chewing on something they shouldn’t be, you need to correct the behavior right away.  Immediately take the object away and scold them. Direct their attention to one of their new chew toys and heap on the praise when they chew on it. Your dog will learn what objects are his and which are not.

 Related: How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking

Use a dog chewing deterrent

You may need to purchase dog chew deterrent spray from your local pet store. You can use this on things your dog likes to chew on that you just can’t hide, such as the leg of a chair. One bite and your dog will hopefully decide he doesn’t want to chew that anymore.

Give them plenty of exercise

Make sure that you spend plenty of time playing and exercising with your dog. If you don’t already, schedule a regular play time. You need to try and use up all that energy that your dog might be putting into chewing behaviors. A tired dog doesn’t have the energy to misbehave.


The Pets’ Home offers dog training services along with our popular dog walking and dog sitting services. You can get dog shuttle service available to and from training lessons. We also aim to teach pet parents how to break their own bad habits, as well, so your dog can have consistency. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


More related sources:
5 steps to correct inappropriate dog chewing – Cesar’s Way
How To Stop Dogs From Destructive Chewing – Dog Time 
How to Stop a Dog from Chewing – American Kennel Club
Chewing: How to Stop Your Dog’s Gnawing Problem – Humane Society
Tips for How to Stop Dogs and Puppies from Chewing – Pet MD

Reasons to Keep Cats Indoors

Many different people choose to have their cats be “indoor-outdoor” cats. Their pets get to spend some time outdoors as well as indoors.

Others choose to keep their cats inside exclusively.

There are many reasons people use to keep cats indoors, and some of these reasons can be very beneficial to your cat and their health.

Let’s review the best reasons to keep your cat indoors.

The most important reason to keep the cats indoor is that the lifespan.

Outdoor cats can live for only 3 to 5 years average. On the other hand the, indoor cats usually live about 13 to 17 years. The huge lifespan difference should be enough reason to keep the cats indoors. Even though it’s a risk to leave the cats outside some cat owners to allow their cats to go out.

Cats should always have kept inside the house, so they are warm, cozy and most importantly, it is safe for them. Keeping the cats in the house is one of the most important action you can take to encourage the cat’s Safety.

Main reasons to keep the Cats indoors:

  • Indoor cats live longer
  • Vehicle danger
  • Risk of poisoning
  • Animal fights
  • Allergies
  • Cats can get lost

Vehicle danger –  Outdoor cats are always at the risk of getting hit by a vehicle. It is easy for pets to get distracted while running or chasing, therefore, it’s hard to form to keep an eye on the road while playing. That can result in an accident. Sometimes the cat can survive but they can still suffer from severe injuries.

Risk of being poisoned – It’s easy for outdoor cats to get poisoned since they have a lot of exposure outside. Poisoning risks include toxins like lawn pesticides, food from trash cans, and intentional or accidental poisoning from people. Outdoor pets are at risk for eating poisoned bait left out for rats, raccoons, and skunks.

Even though there is a risk of getting poisoned indoors by different kinds of toxic plants or chemicals, you have more control over keeping your home safe. Once a cat is free outdoors, you cannot control what they may get into.

Related: My cats ate a mouse – should I be worried?

Animal Fights – Cats that are outdoors can have unexpected encounters with wild animals. Though a raccoon may ignore them, wild animals such as coyotes can be a threat. Outdoors cats may encounter them and get injured.

They could also encounter a wild animal with a disease such as rabies. Other cats roaming outside, whether domesticated or feral may be extremely territorial and will fight if they encounter your cat.

Allergies – Though you may love your cat like your own family member, many people with allergies to cats can’t stand being anywhere near them. They may not “hate” cats, but they hate the way cat dander triggers their allergy symptoms, from mild fever to full-blown asthmatic attacks. Though they may not often be a threat to your cat, if these people are your neighbors they can put a strain on your relations.

Lost – It’s tough for a cat that sleeps all day on your bed to get lost. Indoor cats don’t get lost since they are in front of your eyes most of the time. They are also safe from human abuse since they won’t get targeted by the cat haters.

Related posts: Cats & Cucumbers

Health/exercise – Keeping cats indoors doesn’t mean that cats can’t exercise their hunting instinct. It’s up to cat guardians to provide a stimulating environment with plenty of cat trees, window perches, and scratches. Daily playtime keeps kitty aactive.

Do not risk your cat’s life. Keep them safe and motivated to stay inside the house. That way your cats can have a happy and healthy lifestyle for many years.

Related: Is your cat bored?


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sittingdog sittingcat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking

Dog barking

A dog barking is a totally normal behavior. With few exceptions, almost every dog barks. To them, it’s a normal form of communication.

Too much barking though can be a problem. It can be bothersome to you and your family, and even more so for your neighbors.

Is there a way you get your dog to stop barking so much?

Yes, there is, and as your dog’s pack leader, it’s your job to teach them how to behave. 

Let’s review how you can teach your dog to not bark so much.

First, it’s important to review the main reasons that cause a dog to bark. If you review this list, it may help you determine what the root cause of your dog’s excessive barking is. 

Why do dogs bark?

  • Warning
  • Excitement
  • Playfulness
  • Anxiety
  • To get attention
  • Boredom
  • Responding to other dogs

If you understand the reason for your dog’s barking, then you can figure out how to control that behavior.

For example, a dog that is bored needs more walks, play or exercise. If your dog is anxious, you can address the root causes or find ways to treat separation anxiety. If your dog barks at other dogs, you can desensitize them to other animals.

Training is also important. Your dog needs to know that there are times to bark and there are times to be quiet. Teaching them the basic speak/quiet commands is important.

Related: How to train your dog

If your dog has excessive barking issues, start working on addressing these as soon as possible. It will be easier to train them before the behaviors become too ingrained.

Related: Positive enforcement rules for you and your dog

Tips to help break the barking habit

  • Teach your dog the Speak/Quiet commands
  • Don’t yell. To the dog, it is like you are barking back at them.
  • Stay positive when you are working with them.
  • Be consistent with your dog at all times. Make sure everyone in the household is reacting to the behavior in the same way.
  • Do not comfort, pet, hug or give your dog a treat when they are barking for attention or out of anxiety. Even if it gets them to stop, it is encouraging and rewarding the behavior.
  • Get your dogs attention with a clap or whistle.  When they have quieted, redirect their attention to a toy or other reward.
  • Use the basic commands of sit and down in order to shift focus.
  • Do not let your dog bark constantly outside. Bring them in when they bark so they know they can’t be outside if they bark.

How to teach your dog to stop barking

Training Resources:

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking – Humane Society
Cesar’s best tips to stop dog barking – Cesar’s Way
Train Your Dog to Speak or Be Quiet – The Spruce

Related: How much exercise does your dog need?

We offer dog training services in the Plainfield – Naperville area with dog shuttle service available to and from lessons. We also aim to teach pet parents how to break their own bad habits, as well, so your dog can have consistency. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


Chocolate Overdose: What to do if they find your secret spot

Most of us have that secret spot of emergency chocolate, for those extra hard days.  Unfortunately, the chocolate stash can be very dangerous for our pets if they find it.

The question we end up asking ourselves is how much is too much chocolate, and what should I do if my dog eats chocolate?

How much is safe?

As long as you know how much was eaten and what sort of chocolate it is, it is relatively easy to work out if your pet is in danger. 

The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous, is the general rule. 

Dark, bitter baking chocolate contains more toxins than milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is not as toxic as dark chocolate, and white chocolate contains very little of theobromine, which is the concerning chemical found in chocolate. 

Other factors that may impact your pet include whether there were any other ingredients such as caffeine, sultanas, macadamias, and xylitol (also toxic to pets and used as an artificial sweetener).

Many pets are very sensitive to rich and fatty foods and will get a nasty bout of pancreatitis or gastroenteritis from overindulging. Also, pets that gobble the whole lot so quickly that they eat wrappers, foil and plastic are more susceptible to a foreign body problem as well.

What Does Chocolate Do to Dogs?

Chocolate contains theobromine which is a methylxanthine that stimulates the heart and nervous system while relaxing smooth muscle. The low-grade signs of poisoning often include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, restlessness, hyperactivity, and increased heart rate.

At higher doses, neurological signs such as tremors, seizures, coma, and death can occur. Often it takes a few hours to develop the dangerous symptoms and as theobromine has a long half-life it can take a few days for pets to improve even with treatment.

What Should I Do?

If you have a reason to suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, get them to the vet immediately.

If there is a chance that the chocolate is still in the stomach, including vomiting quickly is cheap, effective and safe. Usually, if the consumption was within an hour, inducing vomiting solves the problem. Insider tip: vets don’t mind making chocolate-eaters vomit – it smells so much nicer than the usual vomit!


Protect your dog from Mosquitoes

It’s almost summer, but to us dog owners we know what season really is almost here: flea/tick/mosquito season. It’s that time of the year when you become wary of letting you dog walk through ominous-looking grass and uncut lawns. After all, mosquito bites carry deadly consequences and can transmit diseases like heart-worm and West Nile. But if encasing your dog in a protective, impenetrable bubble doesn’t work for you, here are some ways to keep your dog sage and bite-free all summer.

Whatever you do, DON’T use human insect repellent on your dog.Mosquito Protection-Dog

Human bug sprays are great for us, but they’re toxic for our furry friends. Deet, the main ingredient in most drugstore bug sprays, can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation when exposed to dogs.

When applying bug spray, make sure your dog doesn’t lick your skin, if they do, contact your vet immediately.

Avoid leaving standing water around your home.

Mosquitoes, much like humans, need water to live. Restricting their access to water is the best way to keep adult mosquitoes from breeding and, thus, unleashing more mosquitoes into your home.
To prevent this, eliminate any standing water around your home. You might also want to empty your dog’s water bowl at night when you know they won’t be drinking it.

Don’t walk your dog at peak mosquito times.

Just like how us humans have rush hours, mosquitoes have their own time of the day when they’re the most active, and those times are at dawn and dusk. Avoid walking your dog during these hours and they’ll be less likely to be bitten.

Buy insect-repellent products made for dogs.

Fairly self-explanatory, but stick to products that are made for dogs. That way you know they’re safe to use. Most flea and tick products are formulated to repel mosquitoes as well.
K9 Advantix and Bio Spot are two examples of great triple action products that should keep your dog free of bites all summer long. You can also buy sprays and other insect repellents from your pet store.

Don’t ignore natural remedies.Mosquito Protection-Dog

If you’re not comfortable using chemicals on yourself, let alone your dog, there are lots of natural remedies for mosquito prevention that work just as well as the chemical ones. Lemon eucalyptus oil is an effective repellent that keeps mosquitoes at with its repugnant smell.

Geranium oil and soybean oil when mixed together can also be used as a repellent. Although you can find products with these ingredients in health food stores, you can also mix together these oils yourself and make your own D.I.Y bug spray.

Fix any broken window screens in your home.

Most mosquitoes get into the home through open windows or broken window screens. If you wake up with new bites on your arms, your windows might not be protecting you and your dog as much as you think.

Be wary of any holes or tears in screens that might be letting bugs in. And don’t forget to fill in the gap between the air conditioner and the window frame, too.

Tips for Leaving Your Dog on Vacation

For many dog owners, leaving on vacation becomes a cause for anxiety when thinking about leaving your dog behind while you are gone.

We like to take our dog with us when possible but sometimes that just can’t be done. The logistics of the situation just won’t allow it. You might be going somewhere too difficult to take your dog or it could even be an unwelcome or even unsafe situation for them.

We’ve created a list of tips to help you out in this stressful situation with the hope that it makes things a little easier for you.

Chances are you’ll be more worried than your furry friend is so please try and have fun while you’re away.

Make sure your dog has up to date ID tags

We’re sure that you’re going to leave your do in the best hands possible but even then sometimes things happen. Make sure your dog has its tag with correct contact information on it.

Leave detailed instructions

Make sure your caretaker can get in touch with you and that they know what to do should any situation arise and you aren’t reachable. Be specific on how much food your dog gets for each meal, and how many treats they get. If they need medicine, leave instructions for how much they need to take and how to give it to them. 

Related: Pet sitting vs pet boarding

Keep in touch

Since we have tools such as Skype or Facetime, make a video call to check in on your dog. This always helps me out because I love the look on by dog’s face when she hears my voice. Her ears will perk up and I’ll get to see she’s okay and the warm feeling when she reacts to seeing me.

Make sure they’re aware of your dog’s behaviors

All dogs have they’re own quirks and behaviors that you manage without having to think about it too much. Your caretaker, however, will need to know if you’re dog will become a savage beast at the sight of a squirrel. Make sure they’re aware.

Leave comforting items for your dog

Perhaps you can leave a t-shirt in your dog’s crate so they can be comforted by your scent. Maybe you can leave special treats with them. Maybe if they’re being dog sat at their own home you can leave a radio on if they’re not used to the sound of an empty house. 

Related: The Advantages of a Pet Sitter Over Boarding

Don’t turn your goodbye into an event

If your dog is used to being left alone every day when you go to work, try keeping a similar routine. An unusual emotional goodbye may leave them feeling anxious. It may not be easy for you but you want to leave your pet feeling as relaxed and normal as possible.

Leave your dog in good hands

You can’t make it so that your dog is never sad or emotional. You can, however, make sure they are in a safe place where they will be well cared for. Leave your pet with someone you trust, whether it is a dog sitter or a pet boarding service. 

Know your dog loves you

We have never seen a case where a pet forgot who their owner is. Even the pets who enjoy the adventure of boarding with other pets and love their caretaker will still love their owner. Nothing will change that.

Is Your Cat Bored?

Take a look around your home. Are there things that your cat can do, play with and watch?

Kitty boredom can lead to a variety of problems and destructive behaviors such as:

  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Overeating
  • Aggression
  • Scratching

Preventing Cat Boredom

It is important to provide your cat with a stimulating environment. This means an environment with things to do. Windows to look out of, things to watch, places to climb and safe toys to play with are all great ways to prevent boredom.

Here are some tips to entertain your cat and prevent undesirable behavior:
Cat Boredom

  1. Catnip – Cats LOVE catnip. Offer your cat some catnip on occasion to roll around in and eat. You can also revive interest in an old cat toy by sprinkling it with catnip.
  2. Window Perches – Cats enjoy having a comfortable place to watch what is going on outside. Purchase a window bed for your cat or position a cat tree near a window to create an outside view.
  3. Create an Outside View – Position a bird or squirrel feeder within viewing distance of your cat’s window perch.
  4. Cat Toys – Make sure that you are stocked with plenty of cat toys. Hiding and then reintroducing toys that your cat enjoys is a great way to keep them interested.
  5. Scratching Post – Even a declawed cat will enjoy scratching post. It’s an instinctive behavior that cats never lose. The scratching post should be tall enough that your cat should be able to really stretch when using it.
  6. Your Time –Take at least 10 minutes out of your day to play with your cat or allow them to curl up with you.

Keep in mind that behavioral problems can be caused by many things. Be sure to take your cat for regular checkups and vaccinations. A healthy kitty is a happy kitty.

Tips for the first 30 days of Dog Adoption

The first few days in your home are special and critical for a pet.

Your new dog will be confused about where he is and what to expect from you.

Setting up some clear structure with your family for your dog will be paramount in making as smooth a transition as possible.



  • Determine where your dog will be spending most of his time. Because he will be under a lot of stress with the change of environment (from shelter or foster home to your house), he may forget any housebreaking (if any) he’s learned. Often a kitchen will work best for easy clean-up.
  • If you plan on crate training your dog, be sure to have a crate set-up and ready to go for when you bring your new dog home.
  • Dog-proof the area where your pooch will spend most of his time during the first few months. This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards; storing household chemicals on high shelves; removing plants, rugs, and breakables; setting up the crate, and installing baby gates.
  • Training your dog will start the first moment you have him. Take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use when giving your dog directions. This will help prevent confusion and help your dog learn his commands more quickly.
  • Bring an ID tag with your phone number on it with you when you pick up your dog so that he has an extra measure of safety for the ride home and the first few uneasy days. If he is microchipped, be sure to register your contact information with the chip’s company, if the rescue or shelter did not already do so.

Related: Rules of thumb in positive reinforcement

First Day:

  • We know moving is stressful — and your new dog feels the same way! Give him time to acclimate to your home and family before introducing him to strangers. Make sure children know how to approach the dog without overwhelming him.
  • When you pick up your dog, remember to ask what and when he was fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part new food to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to half new food, half old, and then one part old to three parts new.
  • On the way home, your dog should be safely secured, preferably in a crate. Some dogs find car trips stressful, so having him in a safe place will make the trip home easier on him and you.
  • Once home, take him to his toileting area immediately and spend a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area and relieve himself. Even if your dog does relieve himself during this time, be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new home with new people, new smells and new sounds can throw even the most housebroken dog off-track, so be ready just in case.
  • If you plan on crate training your dog, leave the crate open so that he can go in whenever he feels like it in case he gets overwhelmed.
  • From there, start your schedule of feeding, toileting and play/exercise. From Day One, your dog will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Don’t give in and comfort him if he whines when left alone. Instead, give him attention for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly.
  • For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your dog, limiting too much excitement (such as the dog park or neighborhood children). Not only will this allow your dog to settle in easier, it will give you more one-on-one time to get to know him and his likes/dislikes.
  • If he came from another home, objects like leashes, hands, rolled up newspapers and magazines, feet, chairs and sticks are just some of the pieces of “training equipment” that may have been used on this dog. Words like “come here” and “lie down” may bring forth a reaction other than the one you expect.Or maybe he led a sheltered life and was never socialized to children or sidewalk activity. This dog may be the product of a never-ending series of scrambled communications and unreal expectations that will require patience on your part.

Related: How much exercise does your dog need

Following Weeks:

  • People often say they don’t see their dog’s true personality until several weeks after adoption. Your dog may be a bit uneasy at first as he gets to know you. Be patient and understanding while also keeping to the schedule you intend to maintain for feeding, walks, etc. This schedule will show your dog what is expected of him as well as what he can expect from you.
  • After discussing it with your veterinarian to ensure your dog has all the necessary vaccines, you may wish to take your dog to group training classes or the dog park. Pay close attention to your dog’s body language to be sure he’s having a good time — and is not fearful or a dog park bully.
  • To have a long and happy life together with your dog, stick to the original schedule you created, ensuring your dog always has the food, potty time and attention he needs. You’ll be bonded in no time!
  • If you encounter behavior issues you are unfamiliar with, ask your veterinarian for a trainer recommendation. Select a trainer who uses positive-reinforcement techniques to help you and your dog overcome these behavior obstacles.Congratulations! If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to having a well-adjusted canine family member.