We have all heard far too many stories of dogs being rescued from death only to escape during the transport stage or from their new homes, many of these incidents have been preventable and we have to learn from each tragedy.
Please remember that your dog most likely will have had a history of fear and living on the streets, and in times of stress and change their first instinct is to run. It is vital the following is followed to ensure your dog is kept safe.
ITEMS TO TAKE WHEN COLLECTING FROM KENNELS
When going to collect a dog from kennels please take with you:
• A slip lead
• A crate
• Photo ID
• Water bowl and water
The SLIP LEAD is to keep your dog secure; unlike an ordinary collar and lead, your dog cannot back-out or wriggle free of this. The transporter will not release the dog without a slip lead.
A CRATE is necessary to keep your dog safe during transport. If the dog has shown signs of fear agitation or aggression during the trip from Romania the transporter will only release your dog if you have a crate. We recommend you are prepared and buy a crate just in case. The dog will be placed into the crate, you should not open the crate door. The filled water bowl should be put into the crate BEFORE the dog.
When collecting your dog remain calm and avoid loud noises and flash photography. The dog may be overwhelmed so try to keep the car journey home quiet and calm. Do not have children or other pets in the car.
ARRIVING HOME / GARDEN TIME
When you arrive home carry the crate with the dog still inside into the house. Only when all doors and windows are shut open the crate door and allow the dog to come out in his own time.
Do not let the dog into the garden until he has a slip lead on securely. As your dog progresses in confidence you can attach a long ling to the slip lead handle so the dog has more freedom. Never allow an unleashed dog into the garden not only to ensure their safety but also to prevent them from burrowing under a hedge or bush meaning you cannot get them back indoors.
It may be necessary to allow the dog to toilet in the house until a slip lead can be used.
Never allow unsupervised access to the garden until the dog is fully settled.
Always keep a door / stair gate closed between your dog and the front door to prevent your dog from darting out when the door is open.
Do not leave any windows open / even by a crack. This applies for upstairs windows too if the dog will have access to those rooms.
Do not leave the external doors unlocked, it has been known for dogs to open an unlocked door and escape.
It is advisable that you keep the lead on the dog for the first few days within the home until you can fully assess the nature and temperament of your dog. The lead will allow you to guide your dog around / into the garden and you will be able to step on it or pick it up without grabbing their collar or entering the dogs personal space should a need arise. Of course always supervise a dog with a lead on to avoid choke hazards.
Physical contact with the dog should only be instigated by them. The dog may not be ready to be touched and you should allow them time and space and let them come to you when they are ready. Never crowd or stroke a dog that is not actively engaging in the contact.
It is vital that the dog has as little stimulation as possible for the first 48 hours, as they will probably be very tired and will need to relax and sleep. Visitors should be kept away until the dog is fully relaxed and confident in their new home, which could take days or weeks.
It is sensible to keep the dog behind a stairgate initially when visitors first enter the house, as your dog may go through a guarding stage and see visitors as a challenge to their security. You should keep the dog in a separate room being the stairgate for the duration of the visit, and if allowing the dog access to the same room as the visitors keep at lead on the so you can lead your dog away safely if necessary.
It is quite possible your dog will suffer food aggression. If you are a multi pet household you should feed your new dog separately, including treats. Bones or other chew toys should not be left out as this may cause a fight to occur.
On arrival the dog may have an upset tummy, treats should be avoided / kept to a minimum and a bland diet for the first week is advisable. If the dog does have a loose tummy feeding them chicken and rice is ideal.
INTRODUCTIONS TO RESIDENT PETS
It is very important that slow introductions are made, and the new dog is given their own separate space away from resident pets. Conflict between the new dog and resident dogs is normal and to be expected while they get used to each other, and it is your job to keep everyone safe by allowing each dog their own space and supervising all interactions. Keep leads on all dogs until they are fully socialised with each other.
It may be an ideal to see your dog running around enjoying themselves, but it only takes one variable out of place (a loud bang, unfamiliar dog or person) and your dogs’ instinct to run may kick in and they may never come back to you. As street dogs it is their nature to run when they feel afraid.
Until your dog is comfortable with you and being on a lead do not walk them outside the garden.
Practice walking on a lead around the garden. Many ex street dogs find having a collar or lead on very challenging following the trauma they suffered from the dog catchers choke poles.
When taking the dog outside of the garden the following MUST be used:
• A slip lead
• A collar
• A harness
• A training lead which clips to both the harness and collar
Ensure an ID tag with your phone number is on the dogs collar, for safety reasons we advise against putting the dogs name on their collar.
While your dog gets used to walking outside the home we recommend that the collar is a Martingale style collar.
The harness should be a safety harness that they cannot back out of, ideally a three strap style. We recommend Ashcroft Animal Accessories.
Beware that the dog may be able to quickly chew through leads / harness straps etc so you should carefully inspect these each time. Use a strong good quality lead and if you have a chewer use a metal lead.
It is a term of our adoption contract that the above are used for at least the first six weeks of walking the dog outside the home.
Only when you are sure the dog is confident enough the slip lead can be waived, however we recommend continuing to use a harness as a collar can easily be slipped and a dog pulling on a collar can be damaging to their necks and backs.
Do not let your dog off the leads until you are certain of their recall. This will be months and for some dogs they will never to suitable for being off lead.
Hold each lead firmly, ideally in a different hand. Remember if your dog gets spooked they are likely to try and run away, and this sudden strong pull can catch you off guard with the lead slipping out of your hand.
We recommend that you initially take your dog on short walks, doing the same route, so that they get familiar with the way home should the worst happen.
TRAVELLING IN A CAR
Please secure the dog by lead or car harness to a fixed object in the car and ensure this is securely in place and hasn’t been chewed through before the door is opened to prevent the dog from darting out.
Please remember this information is given to protect you and your dog. There have been far too many dogs who have slipped their lead, escaped from their gardens etc and have ended up lost or involved in traffic accidents. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Please note that Lotus Stray Rescue are always on hand to provide support and advice.