Have You Just Adopted a New Puppy or Dog from an Animal Shelter?

You’ve Saved a Dog’s Life…
Now Ensure Your Life Together
is Filled with Love and Companionship

happy hound coverIf you’ve just adopted a dog or puppy from an animal shelter, good for you! When you adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue group, not only do you get to enjoy years of canine companionship, you also save a life. You should feel proud and good about your decision.

As a new canine parent, you probably have a lot of hopes and dreams about life with your new furry friend. Those of us who have dogs wouldn’t trade the companionship and joy that a dog brings to our life for anything.

After all, when you have a dog, you share your house with a furry creature who will be thrilled simply because you came home, fed him dinner, took him for a walk, played a silly game, or just gave him a really good scratch on the head. Having a dog is like having your own fan club.

Plus, nothing can compare to looking into those big eyes gazing up at you with unconditional love.

Of course, just like people, dogs are individuals. Not every dog behaves like the ones on TV. They aren’t robots; like people, dogs have good days and bad days. Plus, some dogs are shy and retiring, whereas some are big hairy goofballs.

When you bring a dog into your home, it requires a bit of adjustment. After the excitement of the first days of bringing your dog home have worn off a bit, you may noticed something obvious:

Dogs Don’t Come with
an Owner’s Manual!

Most people get more training in how to use their cellular phone than they get learning how to be a good owner to an adopted dog or puppy. Many small animal shelters and rescue groups have neither the resources or personnel to offer much instruction.

That’s why I wrote Happy Hound: Develop a Great Relationship with Your Adopted Dog or Puppy.

My name is Susan Daffron and am the author of Happy Hound. I wrote this book after years of volunteering at animal shelter and a spay/neuter clinic. There I saw many people where were completely mystified by their dog’s behavior.

After all, if you’ve never owned a dog before, you may be wondering what your dog is thinking sometimes.

“Happy Hound celebrates the joy and companionship of sharing your life with a rescued dog. It’s filled with pet care information and anecdotes about the author’s life with her own four dogs. I found it passionate and practical!”
 —  Dr. Marty Becker
Resident Veterinarian on
Good Morning America, syndicated columnist, and author of 11 books, including The Healing Power of Pets

It stands to reason: when you first bring home a dog, he doesn’t know the rules of your household. Your house may be very different from your dog’s last home.

For example, some adopted dogs may:

  • Have spent their entire lives outside, so they don’t know about housebreaking.
  • Have been allowed on the furniture at their last house (but you never want muddy paws on the sofa)
  • Have spent weeks cowering in a cage in a noisy concrete kennel, wondering why their favorite human abandoned them.
  • Never have seen stairs, vacuum cleaners, other dogs, children, men, cats, chickens or other things you take for granted

In many cases, you have no clue as to an adopted dog’s past. And the dog can’t tell you. Realistically, the dog doesn’t know you and you don’t know him. You haven’t established trust yet. A relationship takes time, but it really is possible for a obnoxious, rambunctious, jumping, wild thing or a shy, timid, phobic, weird, mutant dog to turn into into a well behaved companion that everyone enjoys being around.

You just need a little guidance and information on how to communicate with your new dog and help him adjust.

Learn to Communicate
Better with Your Dog

New dog owners struggle with some of the same issues new parents do. In much the same way it drives you nuts when Junior won’t clean his room, it can be frustrating to deal with a dog that never seems to listen and won’t do what you say. As with raising children, owning a dog requires patience and understanding.

Plus, sometimes dog owners don’t realize exactly how attentive dogs are. Even though it may not seem like it a lot of times, your dog is paying attention to your actions and reactions. You may be inadvertently rewarding your dog for unwanted behavior.

Happy Hound explains some of the things you may be “teaching” your dog without realizing it.

For example, does this sound like you?

  • Why can’t the dog just sit? I said it FIVE times?It’s not a good idea to repeat a command; odds are the dog heard you the first time. By repeating it, you are actually encouraging the dog not to listen to you (That’s probably not what you want!)
  • Sometimes I wonder if this dog is actually deaf! Some breeds of white and merle colored dogs are prone to deafness, so get your pet checked by a veterinarian first. If he’s not deaf, you need to consider the reasons he ignores you. If he truly is deaf, he can still be a wonderful pet, since deaf dogs can easily be taught hand signals.
  • Why do I have to yell all the time to get him to do what I say? You don’t. Yelling is stressful and doesn’t do much good for your relationship with your dog. Dogs hear far better than you do, so you don’t need to raise your voice.
  • What’s is the matter with this dog? He knows what I meant. He must be really stupid! If the dog is not reponding, he may not know what you want. Assuming you have communicated your wishes clearly using terms he understands, he probably isn’t sufficiently motivated to do what you are asking. You need to figure out what motivates your dog.

It’s easy to learn how to communicate effectively with your dog once you understand how. Happy Hound also offers explanations for commonly used terms like “alpha” and “positive reinforcement.” You may think you are “alpha” but your dog may have other ideas.

In Happy Hound, you’ll find out the things you can do to provide compassionate leadership for your dog. Some of the techniques may seem really simple or silly to you, but they speak volumes to your dog.

Learn What Makes
Your Dog “Tick”

Most dogs are motivated by only a few things. Understanding the dog’s view of the world is your first step toward developing a great relationship with your new adopted dog.

Armed with only a few simple yet powerful techniques, you can change the dynamic from one of stress and yelling to peaceful coexistence, where you can communicate volumes with just a look, word, or a gesture.

In Happy Hound, you’ll learn:

  • Three primary reasons dogs bark, along with two things to do and the one thing never to do when your dog just won’t shut up.
  • Reasons why neutering or spaying your dog actually makes him or her a better family pet – and a lot healthier and happier, too!
  • The best ways to start the bonding process with your dog and how to prevent a runaway before the bonding “takes”
  • Safest ways to check your dog’s ears and how to recognize the telltale signs of an ear infection
  • Six key items you should have on hand before you bring your dog home so you’ll both be comfortable.
  • Six safety instructions you must teach your children not to do to avoid dog bites and the four things they should always do if they encounter a dog they don’t know.
  • Three keys for surviving “canine adolescence.” As with human children, adolescence is a time when dogs test limits and try your patience!
  • The two main reasons dogs generally jump on people and four ways to convince the dog you really don’t need that type of greeting.
  • Two types of “inappropriate elimination” and why they should be handled differently. (Hint: it’s not a housebreaking problem!)
  • How to tell if your dog has fleas and the three areas you must treat to prevent reinfestation.
  • What to expect when you bring your dog home after surgery and the key to preventing even incessant “lickers” from damaging their incision.

As with people, no dog is “perfect,” but a well-adjusted happy dog is a pleasure to live with. I happily cohabitate with four dogs and it isn’t that complicated.

You Really Are
Smarter Than Your Dog

Right now, my life with my four dogs is peaceful. I know that some of it is just them getting older (thank goodness) but I’ve learned a lot too.

Over the last 10 years or so, I have managed to adopt dogs with almost every behavior problem imaginable. In the process of trying to help my dogs Leia, Tika, Cami and Leto, I ended up doing a lot of research on topics including (but definitely not limited to):

  • Separation anxiety (after our dog Leia tried to eat her way out of the house)
  • Hyperactivity/hyperkinesis (Tika is actually clinically a spaz; she has the doggie equivalent of ADHD)
  • Jumping, barking, digging (pick any one of our dogs; they all did these things when we got them)
  • Submissive and excitement urination (Tika piddled when excited, which given her exuberant nature is a lot; Cami piddled almost whenever you got near her)
  • Phobias/shyness (Cami’s official diagnosis from the behavior folks at the University of Washington Veterinary College was “generalized phobias;” in other words, she was really weird.)
  • Malnutrition/starvation/gastrointestinal disorders (our dog Leto was found as a stray in Los Angeles and apparently starved while living on the mean streets)

When I was volunteering at the animal shelter, I talked to them about what I was learning about my dogs and their problems. The manager encouraged me to start writing public service columns for the local newspaper, since I wasn’t the only one who was looking for information. At the shelter, we fielded the same questions over and over.

People I didn’t know started complimenting about the “pet articles” in the newspaper, so I started putting them online as a permanent archive. Many people contacted me through the site asking questions, and rescue groups started asking me for permission to reprint the articles.

Now many hundreds of articles and questions later, I’ve compiled all the information I learned into a book that is just for people adopting dogs.

Happy Hound… gives the new owners of the rescue dog a very clear insight into the type of “baggage” nearly every rescue dog brings into a new home. This is different from the usual “how to” book that is written on teaching a new dog the desired behavior and manners in their new home. So many times a rescue group has no knowledge of a rescue dogs past so it’s difficult to understand some of their puzzling behaviors. Susan’s book will help solve some of these puzzles by helping you to understand the possible reasons for these behaviors.
— Sue Kabler, St. Louis Samoyed Rescue

Happy Hound” is a good book for people living with rescue dogs or any dog, I might add. Using her own dogs as examples, Susan Daffron emphasizes that no two dogs are alike and that different training techniques will be necessary for different dogs. This is an important concept for people who have limited knowledge of breed characteristics and think that because their former dog behaved a certain way and was trained (or not) a certain way they expect a new dog to behave the same way. “Happy Hound” has helpful advise about feeding, grooming, medical problems, house manners, etc to give readers an idea of the level of commitment required to raise a dog. And last but not least, the author emphasizes that it takes time and patience to raise a dog you can live with. And, if you can’t make a long term commitment for the life of the dog, you should consider not adopting. I recommend it!
Carol Kinne, Rescue Volunteer in Central NY

You Don’t Have to Be a
“Whisperer” To Be a Good Dog Owner

You don’t get a dog expecting things to go badly. You want what we all want: a canine friend who will grow up with your kids, and be a loving part of your family.

Most dogs are good natured and want to please. There’s nothing like having a dog look lovingly up at you with adoring liquid brown eyes. I spend most of my days with four dogs surrounding my desk. The peaceful sound of snoring and the occasional snuffle are part of my daily life. Periodically, a dog will wander over for a pet, and at 3:30 or so, there will be some agitation for a walk through the forest.

I am not any type of “whisperer” but I did put some effort into teaching my dogs some manners and the rules of the house. You don’t have to be a great dog trainer to raise a wonderful family pet you can enjoy for years to come.

Wondering What You Should
(And Shouldn’t) Do for Your Dog?

Many training methods focus on what you shouldn’t do (don’t say “no” to the dog in the case of positive reinforcement), but don’t tell you what you should do. That’s why in Happy Hound, I focus on strategies you can use to get your dog’s attention and figure out how to motivate him without yelling.

In Happy Hound, you learn:

  • How to get off on the right “paw” when you adopt your new dog. The first days after you bring home your dog can be critical to your future relationship.
  • The most important command to teach your dog.
  • How to figure out what motivates your dog
  • Why you may be ineffective as a canine parent
  • Why repeating the same thing doesn’t help. If you are saying the same command over and over, learn what you actually are teaching your dog.
  • How to teach your dog the most important “magic word” you need to know to enhance your communication.
  • How to really communicate with a dog in ways he can understand.
  • How to set up “house rules” that everybody can follow
  • How to deal with aggression and dominance
  • How to improve a shy dog’s self-confidence

… and a lot more

You’ll find that unlike breed-specific or veterinary books, Happy Hound has information that is specifically tailored to the special needs and issues related to living with a rescued puppy or dog.

Learn More About
Your Dog Now!

If you are curious what’s included in the book, check out a PDF file that contains the table of contents and the first chapter (701K). Note that because it’s a PDF file, you need the free Acrobat Reader to view it.

I believe pretty much everyone who loves animals and shares their life with a canine wants the relationship they have with their dog to be a good one. Let’s face it, the “pet adoption option” isn’t always easy. But Happy Hound will show you how you can raise a dog who (like the old saying goes) really will be your “best friend” and shower you with companionship and unconditional love for years to come.

For less than the price of a 40-pound bag of dog food, in Happy Hound, you can learn how to:

  • Decide which is the right dog for you, along with a checklist you can use to help prioritize your likes and dislikes.
  • Evaluate a rescue group or animal shelter
  • Purchase the right supplies without spending a fortune
  • Care for your new adopted friend with tips on grooming, bathing, feeding, and keeping your dog healthy
  • Educate your dog with information on which commands are the most important
  • Deal with common behavior problems such as digging, barking, submissive and excitement urination, chewing, and jumping

You can buy Happy Hound from your favorite online bookseller:

buy now
Click this link to order the book from Amazon.com.