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Chances are you do not know much about your adopted dog’s past so take caution in making assumptions about his personality or behavior. Here are a few suggestions to make the transition easy and safe for the entire family.

Collar Grabbing – Please Don’t Do It. Did you know that 20% of all dog bites occur when a family member reaches to grab the dog by the scruff or collar. One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out why this happens. The dog has learned that when people grab its collar bad things often happen. It only takes one time to make your dog hate coming when called and hate having you reach for its collar if you reprimand or punish the dog while raising your voice. The dog will become hand shy or will run from you, or worse, become defensive. So…..for sure, never ever grab a collar of dog you do not know will allow it…. particularly a newly adopted dog. If you ignore this warning, do not be surprised if you get bitten.

The best way around this is to keep a light lead on your dog as he gets to know your home and routine. When you want to teach him he is not allowed on the furniture, you can give the command “off” and use the leash to show him what you mean. It will also help when teaching “come”, “stay”, to keep him from running out an open door. You can lead him out to potty and show him where you want him to go. Should you need to correct chewing or lead him to a crate or his “place”, the lead is a great tool.

VERY IMPORTANT! Never leave the lead on a dog when you are not around or he is confined to his crate or gated room.

Confine your new dog’s access to where you are and can have eyes on him. This will help you learn his habits and keep him from developing bad ones like chewing or potty accidents. Feed him separately from other resident dogs. Never test him by trying to take away food, toys or bones. He needs to learn to trust you. Teach ‘trade’ with a high value treat so he understands he will get something even better when he complies.