Helping Your Dog Adjust

Before you make a commitment to adopt a dog/dogs, I advise you think carefully and be absolutely sure you are ready, willing, and able to take on this commitment.  Below are some points you may like to consider before making an application and putting a deposit on a dog, or buying one outright.  Dogs are not disposable items, and you will not be able to have a refund on your dog as you would an item, simply because you have changed your mind later.   In the case where you have paid a deposit on a dog, which the seller then has agreed to keep for you, for a period of time, it is not refundable, if you change your mind.

A dog will not be accepted back for any of these reasons:

1. Any accidents to the dog/pup.
2. External or internal parasites.
3. Infectious diseases.
4. Patella luxation.
5. Hernias.
6. Dystocia (whelping difficulties) only applying to breeding dogs.
7. Disputes with landlords about the ownership of pets.  (Please ensure this is allowed prior to purchase.) 
8. Disputes resulting between spouse or other family members not wanting the dog.  (Check before purchase!)
9. Allergies you or a family member may develop to the dog.
10.   Dog/pup not getting along with other pets.  ( It may be agreed to have the dog returned to the seller minus costs to re-home the dog and the initial deposit on the dog will be forfeited.)
11.   Stress related illnesses such as Hypoglycemia.
12.   Undescended testicles (dogs sold as pet only) are not covered by this health guarantee nor are correct bites, size, colour, temperament.

Now, just to explain why the above; obviously number one is self explanatory, two the same as well as three. When a dog leaves me, all of these things are not there otherwise the dog would remain with me. However, Patella luxation is commonly misunderstood and I will try to explain why.

Yes, it is a common problem in Toy breeds mainly, but…and this is what a lot of people don’t understand, it can also come on gradually if the dog is permitted to constantly walk on slippery surfaces, jump up and down off furniture or run on uneven ground (such as running and then he hits a pot hole in the ground.) This problem is also common in football players, just to give you an idea. If the dog has been born with defective patellas, this will be made known to the buyer or adoptee if the dog is being gifted.

If Hernias are present at the time of sale/gifting, these will also be made known. But for hernias that develop later in life, I am not responsible. And the rest are self explanatory. In a sentence, basically if you look after your dog as you should…you won’t have a problem.

It is the responsibility of the purchasers to maintain this condition for the rest of the dog’s natural life.

The purchaser must be prepared to properly house, feed, exercise the dog, contain the dog on their own property, and protect it from elements of the weather, theft, and accidental injury.

Once the purchase price is paid and the dog handed over to the purchaser, the seller is no longer accountable. However, I make myself available for the term of the dog’s natural life for advice, via email only.


Adopting a teenage or adult Toy Breed of dog, is vastly different to adopting a puppy and these points made in this fact sheet, are to help you better understand how to help your new family member ease into his new home and life style.

TRUST:  Is something that is earned.  You must get your new adoption to trust you.  See this from his point of view.  You are a tall, over towering stranger to him, someone he does not know or feel he can trust at first.  You pose a threat to his tiny being.  When you first take your new adoption home, have him confined in a comfortable size area where he can feel secure and not overwhelmed with too much unfamiliar space around him.  Make sure he has his bed, food, water, toys, and give him a couple of hours to settle in.  Then you can take him out and cuddle him. The introduction to his new home should be gradual, subtle, “baby steps” and not have instant high expectations. Keep in mind, this little soul has only known the family or person who bred him and raised him in his familiar surrounds. He may be frightened or timid, or both…just as a child would be removed from his family and home. Give him time.

What you do not do, is put him in an unfamiliar back yard and let him be.  Look at this whole thing from way down low at his level… pretty frightening huh?

Speak to him often, in a soothing, calm, slightly high pitched voice, using his name often and lots of praises. “His Name” gives him the sense of familiarity.  A soothing, kind, voice is calming. Every day, place him on a non slip table top or even on your lap, and give him titbits. Some dogs will not readily accept them straight from your hand that’s why I suggested a table top. You will need to place crumbs of the titbit on the table directing in front of his nose and when he eats it, praise him. Make is something very tasty and hard to resist and soft, easy to swallow. Keep giving him the crumbs. Over days, using his name, point to the crumb on the table and allow him to eat it, gradually leaving your finger right next to it as he takes it.  As time passes, offer it to him initially from the palm of your hand, and then slowly get him to take it from your fingertips. This simple but effective exercise enforces trust. And when you have visitors, all the better get them to do the same with him.

When you allow him out to investigate his new surroundings in your home, let him sniff and roam and become familiar with all the different sights, smells, and noises.  Call him to come to you.  If he does not come, take a titbit, sit down on the floor and call him over to you.  It may take him some time to trust you enough for him to come, but eventually, because you are down low to his level and not up high and threatening, he will come.  As soon as he approaches, lots of praise and offer him the titbit immediately.  You may have to do this several times, but soon enough, he will be following you around like a little shadow without the need for you to call him to you. With a particularly timid dog, let him out only while wearing a harness and lead and let him go where he want to go and do the above, and if he doesn’t come, gently tug him closer to you, then reward him.

With a dog that is playing “dominant” which usually is exhibited as a game such as you call, he barks, and runs off coming back only to be just out of reach to pick him up, and makes you chase him, DON”T. Simply don’t play his game. Stand firm, call his name, point where you want him to go and firmly say “stay” and then approach, if he runs off, repeat, turn your back on him for a few seconds, and then firmly saying the command do it again. When finally he crouches down or stands still and you pick him up, again lots of praise and a reward. With this type of dog, it will take you some time to make him understand you are pack leader and what you say goes.

What you do not do, is chase the dog when he does not come to you.  Become angry because he runs away from you, and lastly do not yell, or chastise the dog, and never, ever, EVER, hit the dog when you finally catch him!

House training: Regardless of whether you were told the dog was house trained when you purchased him, and then you take him home only to find he is soiling inside the house, doesn’t make the breeder a liar. The dog was probably fine with the breeder inside her/his home. BUT…a house trained dog will not be house trained when visiting someone else’s home or in a new home. You need to teach him! It is all new to him and when nature calls, well, she calls loud and clear! Expect accidents and be prepared for training. And keep in mind too, not unlike humans, some dogs are cleaner than others.

CHILDREN AND OTHER PETS:  Slow, supervised, and limited exposure is the correct way of handling the introduction.  Remember, they are not familiar with one another and to build trust and a bond takes time. 

This will especially be true of trying to make a cat accept the introduction of a teenage or adult dog whom has not been exposed to cats before.  It is advisable to ask before adoption if the dog has been accustomed to cats and or young children.  It is not impossible to create acceptance, but if you are not prepared for a lot of time and patience, plus clear understanding, then it is best not to adopt a dog in this age group.

Children under the age of ten, and Toy breeds, do not mix well, generally as the child, through no fault of their own, can pose a serious danger to the dog, due to his diminutive size and therefore, vulnerability to getting hurt or worse.

Children should always be supervised around Toy breeds, not left to their own devices.  They should be taught how to approach, play, and handle the dog, with adult supervision at all times.  If a child gets bitten by a Toy breed, you can be very sure it was a ‘defence bite’ not a bite of aggression.  Children should be discouraged from picking up the dog from the floor, chasing and cornering the dog, or pulling hair, tails, ears, or any other part of the dog.  Children should also be taught that to hug too tightly, even if through affection, is not the right way.  Many dogs have suffocated in this very affectionate, well meaning, hug. 

If you are not prepared to supervise your children’s interaction and teach your children well, then please re-think your decision about adoption any dog, Toy breed or otherwise.

COMMON SENSE:  Is such a wonderful thing and so simple to apply to most all situations.  We all have it, but sometimes tend to forget to use it.  When you are considering where your dog is to play, sleep, eat, eliminate, which areas he is allowed to frequent, which ones are off limits, please think practicality and use your common sense in making the right decisions for the welfare and safety of your dog, and also what you consider important to you. 

For example, if the dog is not allowed on furniture make sure your dog understands this from the start.  Do not allow your dog on furniture one day and not the next.  It is all or nothing.  When you see your dog up on the couch, for example, a firm “no’ and take him off immediately, and do this every time until he understands what is expected of him.

The same applies if he wanders into a room that is off limits, an area of the garden etc.  Common sense needs to be applied.  Think dog…does he know what is expected of him?  Have you been teaching him correctly?

Make sure there is nothing that could potentially hurt your dog in and around the home, especially teenage or young pups with no common sense of their own!  Areas to be weary about are, swimming pools, dams, roads, electrical cords, gaps in fences, staircases.  All of these and more are a real danger to your dog.  Look around you and ask yourself, “Now, what would happen if my little dog…”  Use your common sense to see potential danger.

Keep in mind, there are also certain plants that can be deadly to dogs. Do an Internet search to become informed which plants there are. If you love your gardens, just as I do, designate a proper fenced off area where your dog can play, enjoy the outdoors and not get into gardens. Make sure your dog area is shaded, not in direct sunlight, the dog has water and dry food, lots of toys, a day bed, all his creature comforts regardless of if you allow him out there for an hour or three. The closer to the house this area is, the better as he will not feel deserted. This area can also be used to house train.

TIME:   If you don’t have time to put into your dog, then please don’t get one.  Dogs, like children, need your time and undivided attention, at least some of the time.  Especially during the settling in period, they may need a lot of your time.  Consider this carefully before adoption, not after.

Please consider and also put into practice these suggestions to make life happy for yourself, your family, and your new adoption.


This applies to teenage and or adult dogs.  Please keep your dogs on this diet until they adjust to their new home, then if you wish, you can gradually change the diet.

Dry Dog food should be made available during the day feed Royal Canin, (available from pet stockists) at the rate of one cup per dog.  Fresh water must be available at all times.

In the evening, give this recipe: 

DOG STEW RECIPE:  Good quality minced meat in lamb, beef or chicken, use as a variety to change flavours.  Two kilos of meat boiled. Drain the meat removing the fat and set aside. Boil either soup bones, or water with stock from chicken, beef or lamb, remove bones, and in this stock boil rice and pasta. One cup small fine star pasta and two cups rice, once cooked, add the cooked and drained meat. Stir together allow cooling, then adding two very finely grated raw carrots, two tablespoons oil (preferably olive oil) half a cup wheat germ and half cup bran. Alternatively you may add poached eggs, or shredded cheese or a tin of Natures Gift dog food. Divide the food into meal size plastic containers and freeze. Serving should be heated in the microwave before serving, make sure it isn’t too hot.

Every day, give your dog appropriate dog biscuits to help keep teeth and gums clean. I prefer to use Dentabones which keep gums and teeth clean.


I retire my dogs from my breeding program at an early age because I don’t believe in over breeding or breeding just for the sake of puppies. Hence, when I have bred and retained puppies to further my breeding program, I will part with adults these puppies were born to. Personally, I would love to keep all my dogs till they die of old age, but as a responsible breeder, this isn’t possible, especially as I don’t believe in keeping great numbers of dogs without doing them injustice. So, I am selective and must part with what I need to part with. Therefore, for a multitude of reasons, adult dogs could be made available from between two years to five years of age.

Retiring them at this age, means they are still young enough to be enjoyed by a pet owner and live their rest of their lives giving an abundance of love and joy to their new owners. I do what is right by the dogs and the new owners and do match up owners with my dogs in accordance to life style of the new owner, other pets, family commitments and the personality of my dogs.

New owners need to realise that most of my dogs have been born and raised here with me and have only known the life of peace and quiet of the country and hands on by myself and my husband. For their own protection, there is a certain protocol I adopt to restrict stress and risk of infection to them. They have a routine way of life, as to feeding, play and exercise, and when they are put to bed for the night, my routine for breeding dogs may be vastly different to that of pet owners. Now, keeping this in mind, you must be prepared to be patient whilst the change over from what they have been use to here, to what is expected of them from you, takes place.

I may not charge a fee for older retired dogs, provided the person adopting them is prepared to undergo the following and accept my terms:

1. Accept that the dog will be in good health before being offered for adoption but will not be guaranteed for the following.
2. Patella luxations. Which is common in all Toy breeds, may arise as time goes on, however, in most all cases, doesn’t affect the quality of a dog’s life. I try to breed from sound dogs and if there is a case of a dog limping while with me, either I will make the new owner aware of the problem, or the dog will not be offered for adoption.
3. De-sexing is the new owner’s responsibility and if I am retiring a dog from breeding there has to be sound reasons for my decision and therefore deem the dog unsuitable for further breeding in most cases.
4. Teeth cleaning is the responsibility of the new owner and can be done at the same time as de-sexing.
5. Hernias, if there is any, will be duly noted to the new owner before placement of the dog. If there is a hernia, it too, can be repaired at the time of de-sexing.
6. My dogs are up to date with worming and flea treatments. However, I don’t vaccinate yearly as my research and knowledge tells me this is not needed and in fact, over vaccinating can lead to immunity problems. My dogs are not exposed to other dogs or where other dogs have been, which may not be the case with pet owners. Therefore, vaccination is at the new owner’s discretion.
7. My dogs are not micro-chipped. If the new owner wishes to have them micro-chipped this also can be done at the time of de-sexing.
8. Pedigrees are not given with adult retired dogs.

Below, you will find a contract which is to be signed and returned to me before the dog can be adopted. This is so there is no misunderstanding and to prove you have been made fully aware of all responsibilities prior to adoption.

(Please cut here and return)


I, (name of new owner)_____________________________________________________
Being of the address_______________________________________________________

On this day (date)_________________________________________________________

I am of the understanding of all terms and conditions regarding the adoption of a retired dog from. Anne Muscat, had informed me in writing, guidelines of adoption to which I agree. Anne Muscat had informed me in writing the protocol of how to settle, feed, and care for the dog. I understand the dog I will be adopting without an adoption fee or minimal adoption feed, will be in sound health and condition, and vet checked, but is not guaranteed for any problems that may arise in the unforeseeable future.

I am prepared to meet the stated terms of de-sexing, micro-chipping, dental needs (if any) hernia repairs (if any) as part of this agreement.

I am prepared to properly house, feed, and maintain the dog for the term of his/her natural life.

I understand that this is a legally binding contract of adoption.

(Please provide proof of identity such as divers licence)

Identity issued:_________________________________________________________


(Please note, this may be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace, veterinarian, doctor, chemist or officer of law.)

SIGNATURE OF WITNESS_______________________________________________

Upon completion, this slip can be scanned and emailed to Anne Muscat at the email address provided or mailed to Anne Muscat PO BOX 24 SLP Smythesdale Victoria 3351 at your earliest convenience. Adoption will proceed as planned as soon as this form is made available.

Written By
Anne Roditis-Muscat
Author of Dog reference books
© copyright 2012