Guidelines For Picking Your New Puppy Or Dog Up From The Airport and Handling Instructions for Your First Few Days Together

1) Things to take to the airport:

2) When you first pick up your new dog make sure he/she appears healthy, fit, alert, and unharmed from the flight. Usually a quick check from outside the crate is all that is required.

3) Your new dog will probably need to relieve him/herself—if your drive is less than 2 hours (and the shredded newspaper bedding is not uncomfortably soiled) its best to wait until you're home or at least find a less stressful spot along the route (park, highway rest stop, etc.)—airports are noisy and confusing places. 

4) If you are picking up an adult dog and feel you must release him/ her at the airport, be sure to bring a secure collar and leash with you. Use a chain on the choke ring. Have him/ her sit for you when you put a collar and leash on. Keep you body next to his/ hers. Don't bend over him/her and keep your face away from his/ her face. Once the collar and leash are securely in place, get into the heel position next to the dog, tell him/ her to "Fooss (Heel)" and walk briskly. Walk off the first bit of stress or apprehension and watch his/ her reaction. He/ She should relax quickly. Then give him/ her some slack and take him/ her outside. 

5) If your are picking up an adult dog, always release him/her from the crate in a secure area that he/she cannot escape from (e.g.,  a room, kennel, or garage since a fence can be jumped.) Open the crate door, have a treat ready, step back and let him/her come to you. Speak to him/her. He/She will probably be happy to see a person who wants to interact. 

6) NEVER reach inside the crate—definitely keep your head and face out of the crate! Air travel can be very stressful and frightening if its the dog's first trip. Keep in mind that from the dog's perspective he/she has just been kidnapped from the only home its ever known, confined to a crate, put on a noisy plane, dealt with air pressure, temperature and balance changes; transported in several vehicles (airport and yours) and is now being thrust into a completely foreign environment! How would you (or your child) react to such treatment?! 

7) In the case of an adult trained dog, if he/she doesn't come right away give him/her a moment, and then speak his/ her name and the command "Come" or "Here" and then repeat his/her name and "Fooss (Heel)". Be very firm, confident and demanding in your voice if you do give him/her a command.  If that doesn't work place a few treats just outside the open crate and be patient. You may need to leave the area for 10 to 15 minutes to give the dog an opportunity to investigate the new surroundings before responding positively to you. 

8) No food the day of arrival to avoid bloat! Only a few treats fed by hand. 

9) To speed up bonding during the first few days after arrival you can feed a whole days ration of kibble by hand; every time he/she comes near you, on his/her own or when called, or does something good or has responded to you. This way interaction with you is *always* a good thing, coming to you is always rewarded, and you are the only one who provides food. Take advantage of this and he/she will bond quickly. 

10) We feed our dogs Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed, however, any premium dog food is fine. You can switch to another food without expecting problems after a day of no food. Start with small portions, or as described above spread throughout the day by hand feeding the food as treats. 

11) To avoid an upset stomach and dehydration provide only bottled water for the first two days and then gradually switch to your local water. The change in water can have a stronger effect on a dog's system than change in food. Think of what happens to tourists when they drink foreign water. 

12) Your dog may need 2-3 days to get past jet-lag and adjust to your local time. If he/she seems restless at a certain time it may simply be that his/her internal clock is saying that it should be daytime, play time or feeding time, etc.  Adult dogs may display a whole range of undesirable behaviors due to new surroundings, including crabbiness, depression, restlessness, being over alert, etc. Some mourn their old home and may look for the people they are familiar with. This will pass—some dogs adjust quicker than others. Some accept one person in the new household quickly, but stay very reserved toward others. Because of this they may also become protective of the person who holds their main focus during the adjustment period. Make sure he/she learns to accept all members of the household equally.

13) If children are present, please be especially careful. Children and dogs—even if the dog has grown up with the children—should never be left unattended. For a child, a new dog or puppy may be irresistible... the child may not mean to hurt the puppy, but doesn't understand how to properly handle it. They puppy may not have meant to break the child's skin when it nipped him, but it didn't know any better, etc. Always make sure your new puppy/dog has a "safe zone" (we recommend the crate) that he/she can retreat to when feeling the need to get away from the commotion of your home. 

14) If you have other pets, introduce your new puppy/dog gradually to them—one at a time. Always provide your puppy/dog with a place of its own where it can get away from others when it needs to. Contrary to popular American belief, dogs do not need other dogs to keep them company... this practice can lead to "doggy" dependent behavior which is certainly not good if you intend to train and compete with your dog.

15) Exercise is good but in the beginning be careful that he/she doesn't overexert him/herself (especially in the case of puppies and young adults).  

16) Puppies are like human babies—they need lots of rest. 

17) In summer months provide a cool place for a few days allowing your new puppy/dog an opportunity to gradually adjust to the new climate. Make sure he/she doesn't overheat or dehydrate. In winter months keep him/her in a warm place for a few days until he/she has adjusted to the new climate. The weather and overall climate—like temperature, humidity, pollutants, etc.—where you are may be significantly different from his/her old home. Please be aware of that and allow for his/her system to adjust. 

18) If you feel you are getting nervous when handling your new dog and it seems to affect his/her performance,  chew some gum—it masks the adrenalin everyone breathes out when nervous.

19) If heartworm is a threat in your area, provide preventive treatment ASAP.

20) If Lyme Disease or West Nile Virus is a threat in your area, discuss preventive treatment with your vet ASAP.

Print a copy of this and take it with you!

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