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Soft Paws: Less is more approach always beneficial to newcomers

Doesn’t Marley look so comfortable perched on CGHS/SPCA Animal Care Technician Kyle Miller’s lap!? Marley is the sweetest, mellowest, five-year-old Labrador mix. She absolutely loves cats and would do well in a household with feline companionship. She enjoys the company of other dogs, but prefers not to play too much.
June 11, 2018 11:27 am Updated: June 11, 2018 11:50 am


The most critical time in a dog’s life is the first few days (or in my opinion, first two weeks) in a new home. Whether we have an eight-week-old puppy or a canine senior citizen transitioning into a new environment with a brand new family, a less-is-more approach is always beneficial to the newcomer.

• Limit your new pet to a gated room or two, unless on leash. This is especially important if a resident dog(s) or cat(s) may define the visitor as the perpetrator or threat to their stable household.

• If you have other pets, definitely feed the new household addition separately. Watch toy (especially chew toy) interaction carefully. It only takes one rawhide for a dog fight to ensue.

• Walk your dog at home for at least a week, preferably two. Save excursions down the road or to the park until the dog has developed some confidence in your leadership.

• I can’t emphasize enough the value of early crate training. Ease of housebreaking, a safe place to rest with a chewie while cleaning or repairs, or a visit to the supermarket needs to happen. A crate is a valuable aid post any surgery, a sprain or soft tissue injury when the dog requires appropriate rest. Travel with a crate-trained dog is a dream. Safe and sound in your vehicle, safe and out of trouble in a motel room — the same goes for visits to family and friends.

• If your new addition remains tense, insecure, reactive in any way, seek the help of a professional. Information on the internet is variable at best, and often incorrect for the problem at hand.

• A dog growling at any family member is an immediate red flag for assessment and intervention.

• Mother Nature did not intend for her canines to change “packs” eagerly or easily. Be patient. Less is ALWAYS more!

Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or website at Stop down and see us at 111 Humane Society Road, off Route 66 (about a mile south of the intersection with Route 9H) in Hudson. Our hours are 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. every day. The Food Bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food anytime during business hours. All of our cats and kittens are “Furrever Free” with all expenses paid. Spay/neuter clinics for cats are $75 male or female, including a rabies vaccination and a 5-in-1 feline distemper combination vaccination. Nail clipping services are available 10-11 a.m. every Saturday at the shelter, no appointment necessary, for a donation of $5 for cats and $10 for dogs.