Helpful Hints for New Adopters:
Things to Expect with a New Kuwaiti Rescue
If you have already adopted one of our Kuwaiti pups, or are considering it, there are certain things you should keep in mind to make sure the transition goes smoothly.
There will be an adjustment period. While we all hope to rescue the perfect dog that is easy-going and well-adjusted, that’s usually not the case. Most of the Kuwaiti pups have been abandoned and/or abused so there will be an adjustment period. This can range from a few hours to several months. Remember, our pups are not used to city/home life; this is a very different environment for them! As hard as it may be at times, patience is the key!
Prepare your house for your dog’s arrival. Before your new pup comes home, set up a dog-proof area for them. Make sure they have access to their new bed, bowls, toys, and crate. Also remove anything that might be harmful to them including plants, kids’ toys, and any objects that they might chew or eat. Do NOT give them the run of the house. Rescue dogs have typically suffered some type of trauma in their past and it is important that they learn that they are SAFE in their new homes. Giving them a small area in which to acclimate will help with this.
If you have other pets, introduce your new pup to them slowly. Even if the pup you adopt has been around other dogs or cats, you should always introduce them slowly to your pets. They have gone through a lot of changes in a short period of time, and will need some time to adjust to the new “critters” in their lives.
Spend time with your new pup. Change is stressful for both dogs and humans in many instances, but this is especially true for most of our pups that have had a difficult start in life. It is important that you be patient with them and give them a lot of positive reinforcement. Spend the first few days bonding with them. If they like to play, play with them. If they just want to hang out, hang out with them. Let them see that you are safe and not going to hurt them. Unwanted behaviors typically disappear as the dog adapts to their new surroundings and realize they are safe.
It’s okay if your pup wants to “hide” when they first come home. Remember, coming to live in your house is a big change for them. If they are feeling anxious or scared, they may deal with this by hiding when you first adopt them. This is okay! It gives them some time alone in a safe, quiet place. If they hide, the best thing to do is to ignore them, which can be difficult! Let them stay there and come out on their own. Or, you can offer them treats to coax them out. It’s important, though, that you do not pull them out! If you pull them out, it only makes them more anxious and afraid.
Don’t be alarmed if you see “unwanted” behaviors in your dog. Rescue dogs have some typical behaviors that you may see in your Kuwaiti dog. Don’t be alarmed if you see them. (In the next section we will list some suggestions for how to best deal with them.) Typical behaviors include:
- Guarding resources (food, water, toys, humans)
- Aggression towards other pets in the home
- Separation anxiety
- Marking territory
- Shyness, being timid
- Barking for what seems to be no good reason
- Leash aggression
- Being nervous with strangers
- Forgetting house training
***With a rescue dog you should always expect the unexpected.***
There are certain things you can do to manage unwanted behaviors.
- Crate training, crate training, crate training! Many behaviors occur because the pup feels anxious or scared. Those behaviors can be remedied by teaching them that the crate is their safe place where they can go and relax, and not be bothered by anyone.
- Exercise! A tired dog is a happy dog (and a happy owner!) Some dogs exhibit unwanted behaviors because of pent-up energy or boredom. Making sure they get a lot of exercise will help with this. Taking them on several walks a day, playing fetch, or taking them to off-leash parks are all great ways to tire them out. We will list some “helpful hints” about off-leash parks in the next section.
- Create structure/routine. Lack of structure or routine can also lead to boredom which, in turn, leads to unwanted behaviors. Try to set a routine for your pup, such as feeding them at the same time each day and having a set “exercise” time.
- Be a calm “alpha” guardian/pack leader. Be firm with your dog and consistent with your commands. Don’t let them “get away” with not listening! Hold them accountable by enforcing your commands.
SOME BEHAVIORS MAY REQUIRE ADDITIONAL TRAINING. Training immediately, often, and with consistency will help establish the alpha relationship. Training is an on-going commitment; to be successful, you must commit to training your dog for a period of time. Training for just a few sessions will typically not “do the trick.” If you need some recommendations of trainers, we are happy to give you some!
Off-leash parks are a great place for your Kuwaiti dog to get exercise. Many of our Kuwaiti dogs visit the dog park and love it! However, a dog park can be chaotic and overwhelming for a dog for their first few visits. To ensure your pup’s safety (and the safety of the other dogs and people!), before you go make sure your pup will respond to your commands.
Tips to make sure the off-leash dog park is a positive experience for you and your dog:
- The first few times you go to the off-leash park, keep your pup next to you and on a leash when you first get there to make sure they are comfortable and not afraid. This will give them some time to acclimate to their new situation, which can be quite hectic if there are a lot of dogs at the park. This also allows you to quickly corral them if an issue arises.
- The first few times you let your dog off-leash at the dog park, they may run off because, to them, you are not yet their leader. Again, knowing that the dog will respond to your commands, such as to “come” will help with this.
Slowly introduce your pup to ALL new situations. When you introduce your pup to ANY new situation, or to new people, do it slowly. Unfamiliar dogs, new people, and wide-open spaces can be stressful to your pup and they may act in a negative way, such as aggressively. In all new situations, allowing your dog to first sit and observe will help. This will also give them time to relax and acclimate.
Repeated exposure to new situations and people, and repeated opportunities for socialization will help ease their fears. As often as you can, take them to the dog park or for walks, introduce them to new people and new dogs, and let them socialize with people and dogs. The more often they are exposed to new situations, the more comfortable they will become with them!
Above all else, patience is key! Remember, you will definitely have a few less than perfect days with your new pup. Time and patience will help build the bond that will ensure a long, love-filled life for you and your Kuwaiti pup!
Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have. We are here for you!