Don't see your question here? Don't be shy. You can ask us anything. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our Adoption Team Members will be in touch.
Q: Can you hold a dog for me?
A: Unfortunately no. Sometimes it takes a few days to get schedules coordinated and we understand that but in general we want to get our adoptable pups into their future home as soon as they are ready.
Q: Is a harness or collar better to leash train?
A: We recommend trying both. Every dog is different. We do recommend a sturdy 4 foot leash, never a retractable leash. For collars, we like martingale collars for leash training and harnesses that hook on the shoulder or chest. Never use a collar to leash a train a puppy under 6 months of age. They should always learn with a harness. Their trachea isn't fully developed and it can be damaged with a collar pulling on it.
Q: What should the first few weeks after adoption look like?
A: This is VERY IMPORTANT. Going to a new environment is stressful for a dog. The first 3 weeks should be all about decompression, bonding and learning the routine. Dogs find far more comfort from routine than from affection so keep the affection to a minimum for the first 3 weeks. Yes, we know how hard this is but it is really important. You want quiet, boring, simple routine for 3 whole weeks. This means plenty of crate time, short leash walks, potty breaks and meal times on schedule. Calm predictability is key. Too much intense stimuli can be detrimental. After the first 3 weeks your new dog understands that he/she is here to stay, has bonded to you and understands the smells, sights and sounds of your home. They now trust you and the routine and are ready to explore a bit. This is when you start to have visitors and go on adventures but remember, that until you trust your dog's recall, it's best to have a leash on at all times.
Q: I just got home with my new dog and he/she isn't eating or drinking. Should I be worried?
A: Most dogs won't eat or drink much for the first 3 days in a new environment. Don't worry too much. Make sure they have access to fresh food and water and show them where the bowls are. Without fail, they start to eat and drink on the 3rd day. See above answer as well.
Q: Should I crate my dog?
A: YES YES YES! This is one of the single most important success factors in an adoption. If you don't have a crate, we will provide you with one at no charge. All of our adoptable dogs have started on crate training. Dogs take comfort from their own space. Don't think of the crate as doggy jail. It's more like their very own special bedroom. Anytime you can't watch your new dog, show them to the crate and give them a special crate only treat. If you need help with crate training, let us know. We can help! For a newly adopted dog, the crate is a safe place where they can get used to the sights, smells and sounds of their new home without being pressured to physically interact.
Q: My adult dog is having accidents in the house. What do I do?
A: We work hard to potty train all of our dogs before adoption but even adult dogs can regress when going into a new environment. Have the dog drag a leash and keep to a potty break schedule every 2 hours. Pick up the leash, show them the potty spot and say the word "POTTY" so they know what you want them to do. When they potty outside praise. Never punish a dog for having accidents inside. Try to learn their "tell"...sometimes it's sniffing the ground, going to the door, staring into your eyes, moaning, circling etc. When you see that, pick up the leash, head outside to the potty spot and don't forget to say "POTTY". Dogs typically have to potty after they wake up, come out of the crate, finish eating or drinking and when they are done playing. When potty training, remember to always go outside with your new dog when they go potty. You provide protection for them and dogs feel vulnerable when they potty.
Q: My dog is having separation anxiety when I leave. What should I do?
A: This is very common with newly adopted dogs. They are so happy to have their very own person and don't want you to leave. Make sure to keep the affection to a minimum for the first 3 weeks. Show your new dog the crate regularly. Even when you aren't leaving. Crate your dog for 5 minutes then for 45 minutes and then for 11 minutes or some random schedule. Pick up the keys and put them down. Put on your shoes and then take them off. Go out the front door and then come back in. Try not to let the dog associate the crate or certain behaviors with you leaving. Don't make a fuss when you put the dog in a crate or when you let them out. Say the word crate and point when you put the dog in. Then leave and say nothing else. When you come home, don't go straight for the crate. No matter what the dog is doing. Say nothing, do some random task and then let the dog out of the crate without giving lots of affection and praise. JUST BE COOL. I know this is hard but with consistency it does work!
Q: My shy dog is not warming up to other family members. How do I get him/her to trust other people in the home?
A: One at a time, have the other people in the home provide all the good stuff. That can include hand feeding, leash walks, car rides (stopping for a cheeseburger works wonders) and quiet proximity time. Try sitting near the dog and reading a book or singing a song. It is common for a dog to bond more closely to one person in the home in the beginning so take the time to make sure everyone in the house has a chance to bond.
Q: I have multiple animals in my home and my new dog is not sure of the cat (substitute for pig, chicken etc). How do I integrate them?
A: Patience is a virtue. Slow, controlled integration is key and the crate is an important tool. Make sure the new dog has lots of crate time and can get used to the cat without forced physical interaction. In the crate, the dog will get used to the sights, smells and sounds of the kitty first. Have the dog drag a leash and always be present when they are together. If the dog is staring at the kitty (or chicken or pig etc) and looking stiff and tense, break their attention and when they look away, praise. We have trained many a dog to be cool with chickens, pigs etc. This takes about 3 weeks of consistency but it works barring no serious prey drive. Redirect any tense, stiff, staring and praise any relaxed, looking away, soft body language. Bounce off of us anytime as you go through this process!
Q: What if my adoption isn't working out?
A: No problem. We want a good match for everyone including all animals and humans involved. We always take our dogs back.
Q: Is the adoption fee refundable if my adoption doesn't work out?
A: The adoption fee is 100% refundable in the first 4 weeks after the adoption. After the 4 weeks, we will still always take our dogs back but the fee is not refundable.
Q: What kind of payment do you accept?
A: Anything! Cash, check or credit/debit card.
Q: Can I see where you keep your dogs?
A: Of course! All adopters are welcome to come to the Wags facility or to one of our foster homes to see the dog they are considering adopting. We encourage you to ask anything and we promise to be open and honest. We care about everyone's well-being in the adoption process, not just the adoptable dog. NEVER adopt from a rescue (or breeder) that won't show you where it keeps its dogs.
Q: How long have you had the dog I am considering adopting?
A: It varies but we will share the length of the dog's stay and any background information that we are aware of. At a minimum we keep all of our dogs for at least 3 weeks. This helps us ensure that we can do a good medical and behavioral assessment before placement.
Q: Do you do any training before adoption?
A: This also varies but we have started on good manners with humans and other animals, crate training, leash training, house training and riding in a vehicle. Ask us anything! We are happy to share with you any quirks, temperament traits, likes and dislikes etc.
Q: What kind of medical care do you provide?
A: At a minimum, all of our dogs are spayed/neutered, microchipped, dewormed per schedule, vaccinated for Rabies, Distemper/Parvo and Bordetella per schedule, heartworm tested and treated if positive, on heartworm preventative, flea/tick free and on preventative. Some dogs come to us with other things we need to treat and we can share all of the records with you as well as prior veterinary contact information so you can continue care. Feel free to ask for our intake protocol as well.