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Tips for new owners

Exercise

Dogs need both physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Remember: A tired dog is a happy dog!

Depending on your dog's energy level, he will benefit greatly from daily aerobic exercise. Off-lead romps in secured areas, running or jogging, interactive games such as fetch, all help burn energy and keep your dog from getting bored and frustrated. (Don't let your dog off lead in unsecured areas, and make sure he wears an ID tag.) Daily obedience training and food "puzzle" toys provide your dog with mental stimulation.

Dog training classes help burn off mental and physical energy. Training classes are fun for dogs and people alike.

Training

If you've adopted a dog we strongly encourage you to enroll your dog in obedience classes. This builds up the relationship between you and your dog and is a way for you to gain confidence in training and have control over your dog. There are also private trainers who will come to your home and work with you and your dog on an individual basis. See our "Useful Information" list.

You should teach your dog at least the basics. Teach them "Sit". Have them sit for their meals or any other 'treats' you might give them. A dog that is able to walk nicely on a leash is far more attractive than a dog that drags her new owner down the street. When walking your dog, always keep your dog on a leash. It is extremely important with a new dog that you make sure her collar fits snugly. If she is startled and backs away from you, make sure her head can't come out of the collar. A new dog, in a new environment, will be gone in a second and may not come back to you. She doesn't know you and has no reason to take heed of you.

Patience

Your new dog needs your patience and affection, especially if she has been in many different situations recently. Whenever she does something good, be sure to let him know! Happy praise and affection really helps her to know that you care and that she is good. This includes if she is lying quietly and behaving himself. Let her know that this is desirable behavior.

A Word of Warning

Be careful when you leave your dog in the car. Sitting in a car on a warm day, even if not an especially hot day, the temperature inside will triple within a short time, even if the windows are cracked open. Park in the shade, leave the windows sufficiently open for good ventilation or don't leave the dog in the car.

Dog Proofing Your Home

Dogs, especially young ones or untrained ones, are like children and will get into everything. This can be very stressful for you and at worst, your house can be deadly for your dog. The kitchen and garage need to be dog proofed. Kitchen cleansers, soaps, drain cleaners will kill your pet if ingested. In the garage, detergents, cleaners, anti-freeze, paint removers, garden supplies such as weed killers, snail bait, fertilizers etc. can all be deadly. Bathrooms also contain similar items. Be careful. The garden can also be a dangerous area. There are many plants and bulbs (inside and out) that are poisonous. It is very important that you check for mushrooms during damp weather as these can be lethal with only a small amount. Dog-proofing your home also means making sure that you have secure high fences and gates that are locked. And remember, chocolate is also deadly to dogs so keep it out of reach.

Setup

Set up a confinement area, a place your dog will stay when you can't provide 100% supervision i.e. when you're out, or busy around the house, and can't watch him the entire time.

The ideal confinement area should be easy to clean and easy to close off with a door or baby gate. It should be mostly free of furniture and non-dog related objects (remember, everything is a potential chew toy to a dog!). The best place for a confinement area is the kitchen, laundry or utility room, porch, empty spare room or small indoor/outdoor area.

Furnish the confinement area with a bed or a crate with something soft to sleep on, a water bowl and several toys, including a favorite bone or chew toy. Note: The confinement area should be the only place your dog gets to have his favourite toy. You might think the word "confinement" has a negative connotation, but your dog's confinement area is not a negative thing. It's positive. The confinement area is a place your dog can call his own as he makes the transition to his new home. It's where he gets good things, like meals and his favorite toy. It sets him up for success in the process of housetraining and alone-time training.

People often give a new dog complete freedom right away. Then, when he has an accident or chews the wrong thing they confine him and confinement becomes punishment. If you start out giving your dog the run of the house, you're setting him up for failure. Better to give him a safe, confined place, so he can make a gradual and successful transition to his new home.

Crate Training

A crate is a valuable tool for a new adopter. Like a confinement area, a crate eases the process of housetraining, chew training and alone-time training. It helps your dog make the transition to his new home.

Your New Dog!

A Dog is a Pet and Companion for life. These dogs have already been to shelters or rescued from abusive or neglectful situations and we do not want them to go back to that. Please remember that the first week with a new dog in your home will always be the most difficult and please be understanding of this.

It can also take a minimum of 3 weeks for your dog’s ‘real’ personality to come out! i.e. for your dog to become completely comfortable in your house. For this reason we recommend that you set up your ‘house rules’ now and stick to them. Keep your dog well supervised or confined at times when you cannot keep an eye on him/her. This way, your dog does not learn any bad habits as s/he gets used to his/her new home.

This dog doesn't know you from anyone and is most likely coming out of a not so great situation so please allow some time for you to get comfortable with your new dog and vice versa. You really are saving a life and if you stick with it, the reward will be far greater than any house training accident!

Supplies

  • Dog food (Dry food/nuts recommended)
  • Water bowl, food bowl or Kongs.
  • Treats for training
  • Toys (chew bones, chew toys)
  • Bed (dog bed, blanket or towels)
  • Crate and/or baby gates
  • Put all these supplies in your new dog's confinement area (see the Crate Training section)

Mission Statement

MADRA is a Connemara based dog rescue & re-homing facility whose ultimate and overall aim is to ensure that all dogs have permanent, loving homes. MADRA works to educate members of the general public to have a responsible attitude towards dogs and their welfare and to help create a world where no healthy, good-natured dogs are killed merely because they are considered to be a surplus number.

Members of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes

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Registered in Ireland Number 564962 - Registered Office: Connemara Kennels, Camus, Co. Galway