Bringing in 123 dogs is a daunting task. Bringing them from a new continent, a new way of life and a new set of human expectations ups the ante exponentially. All of us at AGA have learned things about and from these dogs that you need to understand before you make the decision to add a ‘Turkey Dog’ to your family. Chances are this is not going to be a typical adoption, but more of a project you will take on to have a happy and content dog and family.
PATIENCE is key. A dog may walk in shy and within a couple days know he is home. More likely, he will come with some issues that you may have a hard time understanding. DO not plan any weekends away, boarding or major events that will keep you away for the first few weeks.
TRUST must be established and is best achieved with baby steps, a quiet atmosphere and rewards for good behavior. Discipline is not necessary. The dog has no idea what he is to do after living so long at the mercy of people, other dogs, the elements and sheer luck. He may be defaulting to hardwired canine survival mode. Only with trust will he begin to relax. You must show him what you want him to do.
LEADERSHIP with clear rules and boundaries will define his adjustment. Each of these dogs had to be their own leader for survival. That is a very stressful thing for a dog. If you can connect to make him understand the expectations, give him defined boundaries and rewards for complying, he will take note. The goal is to make him relax and understand he can ‘stand down’ on his defenses, as you are his leader. All that most dogs really want is to be a good follower and they will accept that role if you are a good leader.
Critical for every adopter – Here are some basic rules you must adhere to:
- Set up a GATED (no closed doors) room/area that is exclusively your new dog’s for eating, toys, chews. No crates as they are not used to that small of a confinement area and 30 hrs of transport in one is enough.
- Direct your dog to his ‘place’ every 2-3 hrs for a rest and de-compressing. He is experiencing a huge amount of new things in a home and will need time to himself to relax. Out to potty right after.
- Plan a positive basic obedience class. This is great for bonding as well as socialization for your dog.
- Keep dog on a light lead at all times @ house/yard so you can correct/redirect
- Be prepared to accompany/observe dog in yard outings to check for digging, fence climbing/jumping
- If you cannot have eyes on 100%, dog must go to its place
- Put dog ‘in place’ when food is around, during meals, etc.
- First week-10 days not ideal for large social gatherings
- Martingale no-slip collar when walking
IF YOU HAVE A DOG (ALL OF ABOVE) plus:
- PROPER, slow managed leash intros in neutral spot.
- Take up all toys, treats, chews from home and yard.
- Be prepared to observe and manage all dog interactions
- NEVER allow other dogs into your Turkey Dog’s designated ‘place’
- Be wary of willingness to share or not share a bed or water dish and move as needed.
If any of this seems like ‘too much’ or does not meet your expectations, you may want to re-think a Turkey Dog for now.