So you bring your new boy home, excited to show him off, introduce to the rest of the family. Walk him round the village so everyone can meet him and give him a little cuddle. Oh how wonderful our life is going to be. EXCEPT your boy doesn’t walk well on a lead, pulls like a train in every direction (except the one you want) and then has an epileptic fit on the end of his lead if he encounters another dog on his walk. That didn’t exactly go to plan. So you bring your new boy home and take him into the garden to play with the array of toys you spent hours drooling over in the pet shop. You hummed and hawed whether to buy the jumbo tug rope or the squeaky hamburger or the large ball. But your boy is so special so you buy them all. EXCEPT your boy doesn’t play with toys. No matter which one you try and tempt him with, he simply isn’t interested. That didn’t exactly go to plan. So you bring your new boy home and show him his great new bed. Willow basket with a lovely plump cushion inside. It cost a fortune but you only need one and it is for life. And your boy is worth it. EXCEPT your boy won’t go in his bed, preferring the sofa or the cosy armchair in the corner. And if he does go into his bed he simply chews the bedding and the bed! That didn’t exactly go to plan. So you bring your new boy home confident that he is the perfect dog for you. You need to go out but can’t take him with you so you leave him at home with an array of treats and toys to keep him occupied. You make sure that you are gone for the very shortest of times as after all this is the first time you’re leaving him behind. EXCEPT when you get back, no matter how short a time you were away the house is in total chaos. The bin is spilt over with its contents strew everywhere. Flower pots knocked over leaving the lounge looking more like a garden than a home. Your favourite boots now resemble sandals where they have been chewed to bits. And any food left out (even in its packaging) has been removed from the kitchen and has been either eaten or shredded. To add insult to injury none of the treats have been eaten nor the toys destroyed. That too didn’t exactly go to plan So being the new owner may not always be the ideal that you had in your mind. Very seldom will you bring home your dog and get it all 100% right from the off. There is a period of adjustment from the time your boy leaves the Refuge to the time he understands that you are now his forever home, that could be weeks, months or even longer. It all depends the age of the dog, how long he has been in the Refuge and of course, most importantly, his previous history. Be realistic about setting goals otherwise you risk being quickly disappointed and eventually disillusioned. So if you’re teaching your boy to sit and he almost does it – praise him. Don’t insist on doing it time and time again as he’ll only lose interest and you’ll feel as though you’ve failed. Also don’t try and do every thing at once like trying to teach your dog the basic commands, plus how to fetch a ball, etc. Its pressure for the both of you. You need to get your priorities sorted. If living out in the countryside what’s more important walking to heel on the lead or immediate and consistent recall when walked off the lead? If you have to leave your dog alone on a regular basis what’s more important teaching him to sit and stay or learn how to be on his own without destroying his home? And praise your boy every time he gets it right. Not only does he feel good but you too feel good about seeing his progress. But the single most important thing to do is to enjoy being with your dog – remember this is after all why you chose this special boy in the first place. His cute nose, his shiny eyes or just the way he smiles and wags his tail at you!