The staff of The Ranch Pet Resort and Spa are huge animal lovers, with many of us accepting multiple animals into our homes. When the situation arises with adding a new dog to our home, there can be complications as well as joys.
Whether you are adding a new dog into your family because of the passing of your dog, as in our case, or want a companion for your current dog, also in our case, want a dog for protection, companionship, or just happened to come across a dog that needs a home, The Ranch Pet Resort and Spa would like to address the challenges and joys of bringing home a new dog.
Filling the Void of a Beloved Dog
When our family decided to fill the void of our beloved dog of 14 years who had just passed, emotions were mixed. A few family members chose to keep the status quo and let our older dogs live out their lives without adding a new dog, and a few others wanted to fill that void with the pitter patter of new paws.
We carefully chose not to use the word, replace, when filling the void, as that word suggests our former dog could be replaced.
We chose to look at our situation as choosing to bring a new dog into our home to relieve the sadness that came with losing a family member who was with us through good and bad for 14 years.
Decide What Characteristics You Want In a New Dog
The Ranch has the benefit of seeing so many breeds of dogs, sizes of dogs, and both genders. What we can say is, “No two dogs are the same, and we can’t stereotype a breed of dog.”
With that thought in mind, we searched for a dog that had the qualities we wanted in a dog. We are an active family, so we wanted a dog that wanted to hike, swim, play, go on trips and adventures, and play in the snow!
We wanted an older dog, as we didn’t want to go through puppy hood all over again. We had hopes of getting a dog that was already potty trained and also wanted a dog that was crate trained!
We set our sites high for a dog that would get along with cats and our Giant Flemish Rabbit.
But most of all, we wanted a dog that would love us unconditionally and who could serve as a sense of support for our son to carry on the mission of our dog who just passed.
When Looking for the Right Dog, Take Your Time
When we decided to get serious about adding a new fur baby to our family, we searched the internet for dogs who needed homes, starting with PetFinder, the rescue sites, reputable breeders, sites that specialized in breeds we wanted, and Nextdoor!
Our list of what we wanted in a dog was long, so we focused on the importance of a breed that wasn’t a herding dog for the safety of our cats and Giant Flemish Rabbit. We relied on the knowledge of the caregivers of the dogs to get to know their varied personalities, and then we sought out to meet them.
As we met dogs in person, we made three evaluations:
- The dog just wasn’t a right match.
- We needed a second visit with the dog to see if the dog got along with our older dogs.
- We instantly loved the dog, but weren’t ready to commit. As the matriarch of the family, I knew the dog was going to be with me long after all my children left home, and I wanted to make sure the dog was as much a match for me as it was for the rest of my family.
In the case of numbers 2 and 3, we found that we waited too long and the dog got adopted, which made us both happy for the dog and sad for us. But we knew there was another dog out there for us, and that we needed to take time to find the right dog.
Finding the Right Dog to Bring Home to our Family-Or Did We?
When we met Rio, he had the look and characteristics we wanted-an active younger dog with the personality of a giant love bug. Short fur, though not a priority, was exciting to me as I just gained hours of time for not having to vacuum!
He was two-years old, gorgeous, cuddled up to my son, lived with another dog, had all of his shots and vaccines, was neutered, walked well on a leash, lived with a family including a baby, and was labeled a lab mix, a breed we had owned several times and always co-existed with our cats and rabbit without any issues.
We agreed to foster to adopt and much to the fosters’ sadness, Rio hopped in our car happily as we drove away.
While Rio looked great on paper, the dog we brought home was a hot mess. Through no fault of his own, he was a rescue dog who lived the first year and nine months in a shelter.
Rio was very timid and shied away from new events and situations. While “housebroken” at his foster home, he had several accidents at ours. He didn’t follow basic recall and loved to be “chased” when we wanted him to come or drop something or take him for a walk.
Worst of all, Rio chased our rabbit and cats at first. Upon looking at him more carefully and watching his habits, we believe we had indeed just brought home a hound dog, whose very love is following the scent of prey!
Three Days, Three Weeks, Three Months-Tips to Dog Adjustment in a New Home
Behaviorists like to share their tips about having a new dog come into your home with the 3-3-3 rule.
Three days-give the dog three days to decompress and settle into your new home. Life in a new home is full of excitement! Think of going on vacation-for most people, it takes us a good few days to settle in and enjoy our time away from our every day life. A dog is no exception.
Three weeks- by three weeks, a dog’s routine is fairly adjusted to yours.
Three months- at this milestone, the dog learns to bond and trust you. He accepts that he is part of the family, and the honeymoon has begun!
Rio, now Ryder, has just completed his three month milestone, and while he still is a work in progress, he has come so far! He has bonded with my son, which was the most important feature, and has learned to adjust to the cats, not without a few scratches.
Sadly, our Giant Flemish rabbit passed away while in the vet’s care, so that obstacle has been removed.
We also discovered that Ryder has a very playful nature when he is comfortable, so we decided to pay it forward by rescuing a dog off death row.
Ryder’s pal, now Charlie, went from the dog house to the pool house and lives happily on a golf course with a family who loves him enough to promise him a lifetime of love and affection!
Stay and Play at The Ranch Pet Resort and Spa
If you have a new dog or an old dog, we would love to have you visit The Ranch Pet Resort and Spa.
The Ranch Pet Resort & Spa is a pet destination like no other, and we’re located in the heart of California wine country. A beautiful setting, fresh air, luxury dog and cat lodging, exciting dog daycare in our one-of-a-kind playground, and full-service grooming await lucky pets.
And if that wasn’t enough, we even have a state-of-the-art doggie water park! A trusted name in pet care since 1947.