The First Few Weeks in the New Home
1. Keep the foster/newly adopted pet apart from your own dog(s) until it has been seen by a vet to ensure many of the usual common minor things dogs can pick up in shelters and kennels (viruses, worms, fungus) are not passed to your own dogs and that your own seemingly-healthy dogs do not pass something to the new dog whose immune system is low due to stress. A two-week ‘quarantine’ period is recommended.
2. Potty the foster/newly adopted pet in a separate area, if possible, and pick up feces immediately.
3. Do not allow the foster/newly adopted pet to share a water or food bowl with your own dogs.
4. Always feed the foster dog separately in its crate or behind its gate, and feed after your own dogs. Remember – the new pet came from a shelter where one of the only resources they had was food. Many new pets can show food aggression for several days or weeks until they realize they do not have to compete for food. Feed them separately!
5. Crate or otherwise safely secure the dog at night or when not at home! It will give your dogs a break and also protect your home from accidents and/or destructiveness. At night, the crate can be moved into your bedroom.
6. When giving treats, always give the treat to your dog first and then to the foster/newly adopted pet. This reinforces the social order and will help keep your dogs from thinking they have to defend their position in the hierarchy.
7. Your foster/new dog should never be out of your sight in your home for the first week, minimum, longer for some dogs. Leash the foster dog to you if working around the home and you can’t contain the dog to an area you can watch. If you can’t watch it — secure it! (behind a gate or in a crate) REMEMBER: Your dogs were there first. It doesn’t hurt a foster dog to crate or secure it in a room for short periods when necessary to give your own dogs a break. Always make the crate a pleasurable thing, NOT a punishment. It is a training tool to help ensure the safety of the new dog as well as your own dogs. Crates are not meant to be used for all-day confinement.