Your New Rocket Dog!
Welcome to the Rocket Dog Family!
A Rocket Dog is a Rocket Dog 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.
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 to get comfortable with your new dog and vice versa. You really are saving a life and if you stick with it, the rewards will be far greater than any house training accident!
- Dog food
- Water bowl, food bowl or Kongs / food Treats for training
- Toys (chew bone s, chew toys)
- Bed (dog bed, blanket or towels)
- Dog Crate
- Easy Walk Harness
- Martingale Collar
- Put all these supplies in your new dog’s confinement area (see below)
Dogs, especially young 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. 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. 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 even in small amounts. Dog-proofing your home also means making sure that you have secure high fences and gates that are locked. And remember, chocolate, grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, avocado, alcohol are all deadly to dogs so keep them out of reach.
- When you arrive at home, take your dog out for a walk or bathroom break.
- Introduce him on leash to his new home, including his confinement area.
- Give your dog a chew bone or a stuffed Kong and leave him alone in the confinement area for about 5 minutes.
- If your dog begins to howl, whine, or bark, wait until he has been quiet for at least ten seconds before you respond. Otherwise, your dog will learn that whining or barking makes you appear or gets him out of the confinement area, and he’ll bark or cry for longer periods of time. You must get your dog used to short absences starting within the first few hours his arrival. This is extremely important. You’ll want to spend every minute with your dog when he first comes home, but you should prepare him right away for a normal routine. Alone-time training is necessary because dogs are highly social animals and being alone doesn’t come naturally to them. Leave your dog alone in his confinement area while you go out or spend time in another part of the house. Vary the length of your absences, from 30 seconds to 20 minutes, and repeat them throughout the day. If your dog seems comfortable, you can increase the amount of time he’s left alone. Remember, it may take several days or weeks for your dog to make the transition to his new home.
Set up a confinement area, a place your dog will stay when you can’t provide 100% supervision i.e. 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 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 favorite 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.
We recommend that after you bring your new adopted dog home, let her check out the area of the house where she is allowed and let her figure things out for 3-4 hours with you supervising. Wait a couple of days before inviting friends etc. over to meet the new dog. Quiet time with her immediate family is important. If the dog wants to play a bit with you, that’s fine but do NOT allow her to interact with young children yet. If the dog does not solicit play or attention from you, let her establish herself for a while. Don’t force her to play.
Put a chew toy in your dog’s crate or sleeping area when you leave him for the night. He may have trouble settling in at first, but he should eventually relax and go to sleep. Remember, it’s important not to let your dog out of his confinement area if he’s crying or barking. If he gets attention for barking, he’ll keep it up for long periods of time.
Rescue dogs come from a variety of backgrounds but all dogs can do with more socialization! After your new dog has had some time to settle in and he is showing some confidence in you, give him lots of pleasant social experiences. He should be able to meet people (and other dogs, if he’s not dog-aggressive) at home and near home. Then eventually take him to new places like parks, obedience school, etc. Make sure you allow your new dog to be handled by other people only after he has a chance to trust you. Then do introductions to other people gradually. Family members should be first then friends he knows. Introductions can take the form of petting, playing fetch, even going for a walk with a trusted, dog-oriented friend.
- DO NOT force the dog to accept people immediately.
- DO wait for the dog to approach people, rather than people approaching the dog
- DO use treats and have patience if he is reticent to allow new people to touch or play with him.
- DO encourage visitors to ignore the dog if he doesn’t come to them.
- DO NOT lean over them or pat the top of a dog’s head. It is interpreted by some dogs as dominance and can issue a challenge or frighten them. Most dogs have no problem with this but it is always best to exercise caution.
- DO pat the side of the dog’s neck or side of shoulder after the dog has sniffed you.
Some adult dogs are not housetrained. If your dog has an accident, it’s not because he’s incapable or unintelligent, it’s because he has not been properly trained. To successfully housetrain your dog, you need to treat him like an 8- week-old pup. The confinement area is your key to success.
- Expect confusion & mistakes during the first few days even in a trained dog
- It’s vital to use a crate and/or a confinement area so as to not allow opportunities for accidents the first week or two – also helps chew-training efforts. Set the dog up to succeed
- If using a crate, it should be just large enough for the dog to turn around in and stretch out
- If using a confinement area, confine to one uncarpeted room (kitchen is ideal) with pet-proof gates
- Start by being very regimented and structured. You can always relax the regime later but it’s very tough to start relaxed and then try to tighten up later if there’s a problem – set the dog up for success in early weeks
- Until your dog is perfectly housetrained, he must be 100% supervised when he’s outside his confinement area. Tethering them to you with their leash is often helpful.
- Take your dog out frequently. Start by walking him at half-hour intervals.
- Provide extra opportunities to eliminate outside: First thing in the morning. After eating, every 2 – 3 hours. Last thing before bed. If dog doesn’t eliminate on any particular outing, try again an hour later
- If you see your dog sniffing and circling in the house, take him out immediately.
- Gradually extend the duration between opportunities, adding ~a half hour per week
- It is reasonable to expect an adult dog to hold on 4 – 5 hours max. Of course, many dogs can hold on longer but is it humane to make them?
- Accompany dog to eliminate – go with him rather than sending him so that: 1) you know whether he’s gone or not 2) you can reward at the right instant – praise and small food treat as he finishes • Go to the same spot to make it easier, or at least the same kind of surface
- Praise and reward all outdoor elimination for first few days – later you can ease off the treats (okay to continue praising)
- Interrupt him (“Ah! Ah! Let’s go outside!”) at the start of any mistakes indoors, then hustle him outside to finish. If he finishes outside, praise and reward this.
Note: interrupt, not punish – there is zero connection to the act that happened earlier.
- Clean all accidents thoroughly with an enzymatic cleanser (e.g. Nature’s Miracle)
- Add one extra room of house at a time every few days if dog is successful supervise closely every time a room is added.
- Sudden onset of indoor elimination in a trained dog may indicate a medical problem – consult your veterinarian immediately before getting behavior help
- BE PATIENT! DON’T LOSE YOUR COOL. MOST DOGS WILL HAVE ACCIDENTS IN THE BEGINNING. Parts reprinted with permission of SFSPCA Note: Submissive urination is not a house training issue. Dogs/puppies can urinate a small amount with fear and excitement or to please you by showing submissiveness. You can tell the difference between submissive urination and regular housebreaking issues by the amount and circumstances in which it occurs. As the dog gets accustomed to his/her environment this should stop. Do not reprimand your dog for doing this. It could actually increase the behavior.
At Rocket Dog we usually feed our dogs Natural Balance Dog Food. We prefer no-grain foods. These may be a bit more expensive however we find the dogs are healthy and we tend not to have problems with these foods. A good diet can make a big difference for the rest of your dog’s life. You will do well for your dogs, if you buy a good quality dry dog food (one without by-products). Dress it with some meat broth (no salt added), leftover vegetables or lean meat scraps. Dogs with allergies or dry skin can often be helped with an Omega fatty acid supplement or salmon oil.
A raw food diet is another healthy option for your dog.
For more information, contact Kasie@speakeasy.net or check out the website www.sfraw.com
Just as your dog needs proper nutrition from his food, water is an essential “nutrient” as well. Water keeps the dog’s body properly hydrated and promotes normal function of the body’s systems. During housebreaking, it is necessary to keep an eye on how much water your dog is drinking. Limiting water access in the evening can help avoid overnight accidents. Once he is reliably trained, he should have access to clean fresh water at all times. Make sure that the dog’s water bowl is clean and change the water often.
- 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-leash 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 leash 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. They also provide an opportunity to practice off-leash recalls. Training classes are fun for dogs and people alike.
A CAUTION ABOUT PLAY TIME Physical games like tug-of-war, wrestling, jumping and teasing should not be encouraged. Inciting a dog’s crazy behavior tends to confuse him. The owner has to be able to control his/her dog at all times. Even in play, your dog has to know that you are the leader.
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.
Your new dog needs your patience and affection, especially if he has been in many different situations recently. Whenever he does something good, be sure to let him know! Happy praise and affection really helps him to know that you care and that he is good. This includes if he is lying quietly and behaving himself…. Let him know that this is desirable behavior.
Be careful when you leave your dog in the car. Sitting in a car on a warm day, even a “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 (but not enough for a dog to squeeze through) or don’t leave the dog in the car.