I have some questions about how to best bring a new dog into a new home.
My boyfriend and I decided we both wanted to get a dog, so after looking at shelters online, we finally went to one where we met this guy
. He is a Yorkshire cross, which means he is larger than a typical Yorkie and, as you can see, he has an eye injury which he already had when he was brought to the shelter by people who found him wondering about in a parking lot next to their workplace. That's all we know about his previous life. He's been at the shelter for a bit over two weeks.
When we visited him last week, we took him for a long walk. When we first walked though the shelter almost all dogs were barking excitedly, some jumping up and looking for attention. Not this guy. He just stood in his enclosure sitting, looking up with his one functioning eye. So we decided to take him for a walk. At first he didn't want to walk at all, but quickly followed us after that brief hesitation. He walked very nicely, especially with my boyfriend holding the leash. With me, he sometimes jumped up in excitement, and nipped at my clothes a couple of times. We stopped when he did this, ignored him, and as soon as he stopped, carried on with the walk. Whenever we stopped because we just felt like it, he stopped as well, seemingly very chilled and relaxed. He seemed to enjoy affection, but not overly so - he only jumped up as we walked, never as we were petting him, for instance. Then again, we'd only just met... The people at the shelter told us he loves being carried, and that causes a big part of the jumping - ie, he will go back to chilled and relaxed once being held up. We never carried him, but we did have to handle him a couple of times when he got tangled in the leash, which he allowed in a very relaxed way. He behaved very well around other dogs, sniffing politely, I suppose saying his "hello"s and then moving on. Once we got back to the shelter, he got back into his enclosure just fine, no barking, just sitting in his bed and looking up. This is all we know about this fella. Other than he is super, super cute, of course. He has been snipped early this week, is microchipped and vaccinated. We will have to take him to a vet who specializes in ophthalmology to have his injured eye checked. That's ok with us.
Both my boyfriend and I have only had cats before, never a dog. We live in a one bedroom apartment in the center of Brussels, but we have a fenced backyard the same size as the interior of the apartment. We are relaxed people ourselves, and we enjoy going out as well as staying in and having an evening on the couch. We don't really know other people who have dogs, although I see a lot of them walking by. We are looking forward to adopting a dog, but there are many questions we have:
- This is the time to have someone tell us this is totally not the right dog for us. So is he? The people at the shelter weren't very forthcoming or inquisitive, they just seemed worried that we lived in an apartment (the shelter is in the country side of Belgium, where culturally people only live in apartments in the city when they are in college and their first few years of work life, after which they generally get a house near their parents and move back to the country; we are seen as "alternative" because we have not done this, nor do we intend to). They have since called to let us know they will let us adopt him, though!
- What equipment is required to have when you bring a dog home? I would like to know which are an absolute must and if we should be looking out for something specific. We do not want to crate him.
- What should we do on the day he comes home? How to introduce him to his new space and ourselves in the best way? The shelter is an hour drive away.
- My boyfriend works away from home full time, but I teach, so part of my work day is spent at home, sometimes with visits from students coming in for private lessons. This means we have to leave him alone sometimes for periods of about 6 hours, and that he will have to behave very politely when people are over. How to ease him into it?
- I would like to clicker train him. I have evidently never clicker trained a dog (or even clicked a clicker, ever). How quickly after he comes home with us can I start? I am willing to put in the time and effort, but I still wonder - is this overly ambitious of me, given how much more excited about me he seemed as compared to my boyfriend? I will add the dog seemed to have little interest in food, and totally rejected the treats they had at the shelter (which in his defense didn't look very appetizing). Books, dvd's and website recommendations are all welcome.
- We feel excited about adopting him, but also a bit anxious about it. Is this normal?