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Dos & Don'ts for Bringing Your New GSD Home

Follow these steps to ensure your new GSD has the best chance for success in their new furever home!!


take your dog straight home. Walk him around in the front yard, inside, and in the backyard - on leash, and let him smell his new lodgings. Take him/her to the potty area, and praise them for pottying outside - correct for trying to potty inside. Obedience and structure begin immediately.

  • DO start a schedule immediately when you bring your new dog home. If you are going to be off for two days to spend time with the dog, but then will have to go to work for 8 hours, then start the "soon to be schedule" during your days off.  
    • Do put your dog in a crate or the enclosed and safe area chosen.
    • Do leave the house, even for a short errand, to show him that you will be back.
  • DO respect your dog's space. Give him time to adjust to you, and your family, by allowing him to solicit attention and interaction. If he goes to lie down for some alone time, respect that. If he comes up for some loving, then give him a little - but don’t go mad hugging and kissing all over the dog because he hasn’t done anything that is worthy of such praise. But I LOVE HIM you’re saying - we know - we’re thrilled! But from the dog’s point of view, all that attention and praise from you usually means he’s done something right - and if all he did was walk up to you, that should not warrant immediate lavishing of affection.
  • DO ask your dog to do something for reward and affection. Even if it’s only sitting, or a “look at me”. Then you can praise that behavior, and start a relationship built on him doing things for your affection. You have just adopted a working breed dog - so let him do his job! Let him work and then praise him - it’s a great way to start your relationship.
  • DO monitor all the dog's interactions with the other dogs in the house and of course any children in the house. Do not allow your new dog to bully or boss the existing dogs in your home.
  • DO remember that for a dog the most loving thing you can do is provide structure and rules he can understand. For a dog, learning consistent rules that he is able to follow gives a sense of control and builds confidence. Once you have gotten to know each other and your dog has confidence in you as a good leader you will be able to show your affection in other ways and the dog will return it. Dogs are love machines, but remember that dogs are also individuals. Some dogs like being hugged. Some dislike it and prefer butt scratches or tummy rubs. Get to know your dog, pay attention, and learn to read your dog. Both your lives will be better for it.

We are here to answer any questions you may have. Please use us as your best resource. Between our Board members alone - we have over 125 years of experience with this breed - there is nothing we have not seen or heard!

You can contact us through PM on our Facebook page, or FB Group.  Or email your questions directly to the contact who facilitated your adoption.


  • DO NOT take your dog to the pet store to shop for a new toy. This dog does not know who you are and has no reason to trust you and look to you for guidance. If the dog gets uncomfortable or stressed out, the only being he can rely on is himself - and he only has teeth to protect himself.
  • DO NOT take your dog to get a bath at a Doggie Wash. He is not used to your touch, and has never been to that place before, so between the stress of that and you physically manhandling him, he may get defensive and have to protect himself.
  • DO NOT invite all your friends over to meet your dog. Remember - this is his first time coming into your home. He doesn’t know anything about this place - it doesn’t smell like anywhere he’s been before. He is not used to the way you live, or how you talk, or walk or the schedule of your day. He has no idea what to expect.
  • DO NOT think that just because you can take a bone out of his mouth, means your neighbor can do it or should ever be allowed to do it. Use caution - get to know this dog, the good - and the bad!
  • DO NOT take him for a big outing. You do not know what to expect from your dog. What if he is extremely terrified of purple cars? And a purple car drives by while a child is petting him and he reacts? What if he was attacked by a yellow dog wearing a coat, and your favorite neighbor came over with his Poodle in his new sweater?
  • DO NOT PUT YOUR DOG IN A SITUATION WHERE HE CAN MAKE A MISTAKE.  This is then your fault - not the dog's.
  • DO NOT hug and kiss your dog and lay on him. He is NOT the dog you had for ten years that just died that you did that to. He never will be that dog. You decided to save a life - and the dog you adopted has his own personality that you will need to learn about. If you get snapped at or bitten because you pushed the dog past his comfort level and decided that he should allow you to hug him and lay on him, then you could ruin any chances for this dog to have a great new life. Control yourself and think of the dog’s needs - not yours. Always keep in mind this dog has not had the advantage of one loving home all his life. He needs your guidance and protection. He needs time to accept you, you family, and your lifestyle. Time does not mean hours or even days but weeks and perhaps months. Most rescuers find that dogs do not "blossom" into their true selves in a new home until 30-60 days.
  • DO NOT physically correct your new dog in a threatening manner. He will only see it as you being an unstable and unreliable leader who resorts to physical violence and he will protect himself from what he sees as a threat. He has teeth, you have thumbs - you will win and he will lose, really lose.
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