When I Come Home

ApolloSunlightI have probably never been in a house before and things will be strange to me. I may be tense and possibly withdrawn. Be sure to let me go to the bathroom before entering my new home. I will be afraid, though you might not notice. This is normal. At some point I will pick a spot to lie down (on an old blanket or cushy pillow). Let me remain quiet unless I come to you. Be patient and gentle. Speak soft, soothing, one-word assurances such as "Good" or "Easy". Speak "NO" more strongly for unacceptable behavior.

If you do not want me in a certain room, use your hand like a traffic cop and say firmly but gently, "NO". Stay that way until I get the message. Repetition and softness are the keys to my learning.

I like comfort, so start now to block me from the sofa if you do not want me on it. Put down a blanket or pillow for me and show me where to lie.

Mirrors, fireplace glass and sliding doors reflect my image. This may perplex me - "Who is the other dog?" Let me explore.

Time my duty trips as soon as I wake up in the morning, at noon or when you return from work, just before dinner and before going to bed. I don’t know how to ask you to go outside – so please don’t wait for me to tell you. If you keep me on a schedule, I will adjust.

Time my feeding and remember: the hand that trains is the hand that feeds. I will also start bonding at feeding time, so others may want to share in this at first. But it is best for one person eventually to do the feeding. Feed once or twice a day with high quality dog food and some oil.

I may startle easily at first - don't sneak up. Come from the front. Speak softly, I will always hear you unless I am sleeping. If I am sleeping, please don't startle me. I may make a sassy "grumph" if you do as I would to my kennel mates. Make sure I am awake before petting me. Over time I will adjust to a soft intrusion.

I'd love a big compressed rawhide bone for my teeth. You may have to show me how to hold it. And make sure to supervise me while I chew it, so I don’t bite off large pieces and choke.

CriscoChairI may be very afraid the first few nights. The sounds, smells and shadows are all new to me. I may fuss. Reassure me with words and your closeness.

If you let me into your bedroom, I will quickly settle down. Your closeness and scent are my security in this bewildering environment. Remember, once you allow this, you have committed. Like all learned behaviors, this is what I will expect to be allowed to do.

If not allowed in your bedroom, please keep me nearby and develop my confidence with soft words of assurance.

At first I may stare ahead and seem unresponsive. Remember that I am undergoing stress adjusting as you probably are too. Quiet and calm is the way to reassure me. Soothing words are great for both of us.

When it is duty time, if you have a safe fenced in yard, let me loose. Otherwise, use at least a 6-foot leash and martingale type collar. After I have done my duty, praise me with "Good,” a light pat and "Let's go eat.” I am beginning to learn to please you, to stay with you and to learn acceptable behavior.

Unlike other breeds, I rely mainly on sight. I cannot easily find my way back as other scent oriented dogs can, so PLEASE do not let me loose outside of a fenced area. You will not be able to catch me if I start to run. Do not let me loose where I can escape, even unintentionally. You may think I will stay with you, but my instincts will take over and I just lose my head.

I do not know what traffic is. I will be easily distracted by all the sights and sounds in my new world. My safety and my life depend on your wisdom, care and understanding. Please, never allow me loose where I might chase across traffic.

Ordinarily a dog is trained to heel, stay, lie down and recall. I shall try to be a polite dog if you teach me. Good books are available on training or I may be taken to obedience classes.

Remember!!!!! Do not let me loose in an unfenced area.

With your patience and devotion, I'll surprise you and respond with more in kind.