Pluperfect & Merrymoon 
Top class breeders of high quality, healthy and happy Cardigan Welsh Corgis


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Adopting an Adult Dog

Why is an adult dog available?

Most kennels and breeders need to find good homes for their retired breeding and show dogs.  As most breeders can only house a limited number of dogs, they generally prefer to place their “retirees” to loving pet homes.  We believe after a career as a show dog and or producing show dogs, each of our dogs deserves a special, loving family. 

What is the advantage of adopting an adult?

For the prospective owner, there are many advantages to adopting an adult versus bringing a young puppy into the household.  These dogs are normally well adjusted to being handled, even by strangers; their basic personality is developed and the health of the dog is known.  The dogs are normally well accustomed to grooming and are usually crate trained. 

The fundamentals

In bringing a kennel dog into the home, there are several basic concepts which must always be considered. 
- Firstly, you must always put yourself into the dog’s “shoes” so you understand why the dog is behaving the way they do in new situations. 
- Secondly, you must always be consistent in how you train – this is how an animal eventually makes the necessary “connection” in their mind between environment and appropriate behavior. 
- Thirdly, as part of consistency it is vital all family members are engaged so that the consistency isn’t being delivered only by one person in the household – everyone must work the same way.


<>Housebreaking is the biggest concern prospective owners have when bringing in an adult animal into the household.  Even though counseled otherwise, I have found most people expect almost immediate results from an adult dog and get frustrated when the dog isn’t housebroken in three days.  Consider carefully how that kennel dog has spent its life – either in a kennel with indoor/outdoor runs or crated with extended periods outside.  In both cases, the kennel dog has no concept of “house” manners and this is the challenge before the owner – to help the dog make that connection.  Housebreaking is fairly easy but it must be done with consistency!  Just like any change you want to make – if you are not consistent with it you will not make the change very quickly.  You intuitively know this applies to dieting, to exercising, to learning new skills – it also applies to housebreaking a dog! 
Here is the process:
1)  From the start you must crate the dog whenever s/he is not being monitored.  This means when you are not right with the dog including at night when sleeping.  Crating is the first step in housebreaking as dogs do not like to soil their beds so it helps to control their behavior.  Most retired kennel dogs are already crate broken so this is a very easy first step.  It is also a great way for a dog to slowly integrate into the household – they will not view being crated as something “bad.”

2) The pattern you make is always to take the dog from the crate directly to the outdoors to allow them to relieve themselves.  Never let the dog out of the crate directly into the home.  You will have much quicker results if you go out with the dog to praise him when he eliminates outside.

3) Use a clicker for training.  These are cheap items which can be purchased at many pet supply stores.  Use the clicker to reinforce the desired behavior – it works much more quickly than traditional praise!  When the dog acts as desired (such as eliminating outdoors) click the clicker once and praise the dog lavishly.  This helps to the dog to associate eliminating outdoors as a positive behavior.  (I highly suggest you further investigate “clicker training” on the Internet – a fascinating and fun topic!)

4) After you have ensured the dog has eliminated outdoors, then bring him into the house.  From the beginning, ensure you can monitor the dog’s behavior at all times.  By far the easiest way to train is to "tether" your dog to yourself.  Use a 3 foot lead, loop it through your belt loop and keep your dog with you at all times.  You will be able to "check" the dog of they try to eliminate indoors, or if they chew on possessions.  This is also a great way to have the dog bond to you.  It's easy, it's fun and you and your new dog can enjoy each other without constant stress.  

Over the course of the next two to three weeks you will see improvement in housebreaking.  If you are consistent, the dog will begin to make the connection with eliminating out doors. 

Take small steps

Do not give the dog too much freedom too quickly.  Although you will be anxious to make him “a part of the family” rushing the adjustment and training process will only end up in failure.  Did you learn a difficult skill or behavior overnight?  Did you toilet train your baby in 2 weeks?  The people who experience the best results are those who are very committed to housebreaking their dog – they follow the rules and they get great results in a relatively short period of time.  If you haphazardly work with the dog you will have a haphazardly housebroken dog.  Think about it!

One of the greatest joys in adopting an adult to seeing how their personality blooms with personal attention.  Give them a new toy and give it a name - call that toy by its name.  When they learn that name, give them another new toy and give it a name.  Soon the dog will have a collection of toys and know their names.  Take the dog with you in the car, on walking tours.  Many stores allow you bring in your pet.  You can expose your new family member to many wonderful new experiences and delight at how much joy they experience with their new, wide world!  It takes some time and patience but it is very rewarding.



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