Surprise! We Adopted a New Dog - Here's the Scoop!
I make it a point to never really look at adoption sites – because I question my impulse control when it comes to cute dogs in need of a home. The other day, I ignored that point and went on Petfinder “just to see” what Chihuahua dogs they had. I was just curiousssssss.
As I’m looking, I start get excited and realize it might be time to add a third dog to our home. My husband, John and I already discussed getting a third dog at some point...and we concluded that that point is now! Fast forward a few days later, we fell in love with a little black Chihuahua.
We ended up naming him Bruce. Bruce Wayne Gonzalez. IYKYK.
There is so much I can’t wait to share about the whole experience, the preparation, and what management and training I have done and am still doing for all of it. I have been filming a lot of the journey and intend on sharing bits and pieces of it when I can, as we go along. My goal is to document this process and as always, hopefully it provides you with some value .
Here is a general overview of the timeline and what my focus has been on with the dogs – keeping in mind that I only had about a week before we were picking Bruce up. He was coming in on the rescue transport the following weekend and that would be the day he’d be coming home with us.
The Week Before We Picked Up Bruce:
The very first thing I focused on was management. I sat down and put a lot of thought into what gates, crates, playpens, and leashes I needed. I also calculated how much more food, treats, toys, bowls, beds, and supplies I’d need. I stocked up on everything from high value treats to long leashes to pet carpet cleaner in case of accidents.
Luckily, we have a guest bedroom and that immediately became the room where I wanted to set everyone up for success. John and I cleared up the bedroom, moved furniture around, and placed 3 crates in the room. Jade and Freddie on one side of the room and Bruce on the other. This gives them some distance and allows for a better adjustment, in my opinion.
Another important part of preparation was making a note for the entry door of our house explaining to anyone coming inside the couple of things we need from them. Along with physically taping it to the door, I also texted it to the couple of people I knew would be in our home within the first few days/weeks. This helps ensure success for everyone involved.
Here is my note I put out:
The next thing I focused on was cleaning up for Bruce’s arrival. Let’s just say, I relate to Monica from Friends and I didn’t want to be worried about needing to clean up once he was already here. Doing a good overall cleaning of your space will help you new-dog-proof your home and avoid your new pup from trying to swallow the rouge hair tie that fell under the coffee table. I vacuumed, mopped, and made sure to pick up any wires, cords, etc. off the floor or try to place them more out of reach. Look around and try to get down on a dog’s level to see what they might see. Think like a puppy as you look around.
I washed all the bedding I was going to use for him, the crate, all the rubber toys and puzzle toys, and I threw all intact plush-type toys in a delicate cycle in the wash.
Then it was time for training my resident dogs. If you are new to our content, meet Freddie (Chihuahua mix) and Jade (Pit bull mix). I prioritized reintroducing them to their crates and relaxing for a while because we would need that to be an option for when Bruce arrived. We hadn’t needed to use them in a couple of years now and although they both were/are fully crate-trained, it’s understandable those skills can get a little rusty or damn near go extinct without doing it in a long time. They both did well and I was so impressed with how quickly they got into the routine of it again.
Planning, preparation, and scheduling were the next thing to tackle. I wrote out what my intentions were in terms of a new routine for my soon-to-be three dog household. What days I’d be doing adventure outings with which dogs, which dogs would get walked and when, scheduled let outs and yard time, feeding times, enrichment time, naps, and bedtimes. Allow yourself some flexibility of course, but having these things laid out and committed to paper (or the Notes app on your phone, like I do) helps in making it easier on you. Even if you’re somewhat close to the things you planned out, you’re doing an amazing job! Am I always on schedule with my dogs? Nope. Am I doing the best I can while also trying to keep my sanity? Certainly.
So, prep your shit! Fill those Kongs, order extra dog food, stock up on paper towels, plan when you will go on walks and have things ready to go so you don’t have to think about it when it comes time, set your alarm for 10PM so you can get the dogs to bed and have some alone time to catch up on House of Dragons and The Bachelorette as you enjoy some Sour Patch Kids.
Trainer Tip: Set Alarms! I promise you it is a game-changer. Set an alarm to feed the dogs, set one to bring them on a walk, set one to remind you the new dog has to go out again, set one to remind you to put them away for a nap so you can fill your own cup. Whatever it is, set it and you won’t need to worry you’ll forget it. Trust me, there is a gift in freeing up that mental space.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF MY ONE WEEK PREP BEFORE BRUCE:
Training (Resident Dogs)
Planning, Preparation & Scheduling
Trainer tip: set alarms
Print out and/or text house rules for family and guests
We went to pick him up on Saturday, August 27, 2022. Of course, we instantly fell in love with him. I held him in my arms the whole ride home, as he dug his head into my armpit. Since I had prepped everything at home, my next priority was decompression.
I kept everyone separate the first three full days. I couldn’t have been more relieved when I realized that Bruce was generally calm inside of a crate (at least for now) – elated, is probably more accurate. This allowed me to easily keep him separated and safe while he caught up on some much-needed sleep and also put me at ease in regards to house training him.
There is this concept called The Rule of 3:
3 days: your dog is getting their bearings and trying to decompress
3 weeks: they are getting used to your routine and understand the day-to-day
3 months: your dog starts to understand that this is their new home
On the next blog post, I'll detail our first full week with Bruce, Jade, and Freddie! This post will cover our day-to-day, milestones we hit with training, and my biggest takeaways from the journey so far.
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Thanks for reading! I appreciate you being here.
See you on the flippity-flip,
(Please note: This is my unique experience and not everyone’s situation will play out the same way. I do include our journey and a lot of details regarding our milestones and things I did and would recommend you try. If you are experiencing issues, please consult a certified dog training professional, behavior consultant, and/or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. For resources to help you find a qualified professional in your area, click here.)