Tips for Adopters

Congratulations on adopting your new family member! Here are some important steps we’ve outlined to help you and your new Sochi dog acclimate and thrive.

First few weeks.

This can be a challenging and stressful time for a dog. We can’t know every dog’s history and some miss crucial periods of socialization and boundaries. It’s okay because you’re here to help your dog now!

Different dogs have different ways of dealing with change and stress. If your new dog seems afraid, don’t push any interactions them. What seems soothing to you may not be soothing to the pup. Make them a safe cozy area in the home and let them open up on their own time, getting used to the sounds and smells of their new home. If they will be in a crate, allow them in the crate with the door open. There’s soothing dog music on YouTube if you wanted to leave it playing by their bed.

Dogs love routine. Try to have a routine so your dog knows what to expect for the day and doesn’t get overwhelmed.

If you have kids, introduce the dog slowly and do not allow too much interaction initially. Allow the dog to rest and interact on their terms.

Don’t immediately allow access to the entire house at once. Try to keep your dog in one area where you can see them. This will also help with potty training, if needed. You can also leave their leash on inside the house if you need to redirect them.

Fearfulness of humans: sometimes this may include retreating, barking, growling. Do not correct or say “no” to fearful behavior. You might see this with men particularly. Allow the dog to retreat by himself or herself or separate them. Have the scary person completely ignore the dog – even no eye contact, turn their back, etc. This may take a few days but when the dog is calmer around them have the person get on the dogs level, sitting or laying on the floor (but still not making eye contact with the dog). You can choose to have the person hold treats or place the treats next to the “scary” person. Your goal is to make the dog think this person doesn’t care. As usual, do not force interaction. Allow the dog to sniff; their fear should eventually dissipate.

Try not to introduce them to new dogs or new people, new parties, etc in the first week or two. A big mistake made in the “honeymoon” period is to introduce too much, too soon. Too much petting, talking, affection. We need to let our dogs acclimate at their own time.  

If you already have a dog at home, please review this guide to introducing two dogs. Devise a plan to initially keep the dogs separate or gated in different areas, allowing them to meet each other on neutral territory and sniff each other through the gates.

Enroll in some basic training for your dog. Training builds a bond with you and your pup, builds confidence, and is really fun for your dog. It is not only for dogs with behavioral issues. If you would like a recommendation for a trainer or a group class in your area, please contact us.


In the shelter dogs are fed home cooked "sochi" stew, a mixture of oats, veggies and meat. When choosing a kibble for your dog, please look into grain-free options. Dogs fed high quality food have less allergies, inflammation, and health issues. is a good resource that rates dog food brands and also has a discussion forum.

To transition your dog for the first few days or week, consider adding some plain homemade broth (onion and salt free), or plain boiled chicken, or a small amount of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) to their food. The fiber and extra vitamins are soothing as kibble can be very dry.

Is your dog eating too fast and getting an upset tummy or getting sick? Look into a slow feeder bowl on Amazon.

When your dog is eating give them space, but occasionally come up and drop something tasty into their bowl. This can prevent guarding activity and teaches them that it’s a good thing if you approach their dinner.

House Rules

Create clear boundaries in your home. Is your dog allowed on the couch or not? Only with permission? Do they need to wait patiently while you’re making their food or are they allowed to jump all over? Set boundaries and enforce them so things are not confusing for your dog. This is less stressful for dogs (they know and understand the house rules and this leads to less anxiety).

Separation anxiety: Create a safe place for your dog: use either a crate or a cozy gated area with their bed. Practice leaving for short periods at a time (even going out to get the mail) and do not make a fuss when you come home. You will ALWAYS return and it’s not a party. Reward when your dog settles down. You might want to start very small, simply with your dog in one room and you in another. Reward and come out only when your dog is calm. Remember no big hellos or goodbyes initially.

Dogs communicate via subtle changes in body language that humans often do not recognize. Please take a look at the included graphic. This is dogs showing signs of stress, and they are looking to the owner to remove them from the situation/ environment. Be an advocate for your dog!

Meet Your Vet

Don’t forget to schedule an appointment with your vet. They will want to see your dog’s passport. Remember the dates in the passport are written in the European format: DAY/MONTH/YEAR and vaccinations are valid for one year.


Sochi Dogs is run strictly on donations, so we need all the help we can get to keep rescuing dogs like yours. If you shop on Amazon visit and select Friends of Sochi Dogs as your charity of choice. A portion of your spending will be donated to us.

Buy dog food online through They have great deals and deliver right to your door. Go to: and the shelter will receive a $20 donation from your first order.

Don’t be a stranger

Keep in touch! We want to hear how you are doing. Be sure to join the Facebook group: Sochi Dogs: Happily Ever After to ask questions and share pictures or you can always reach us via email at


The Sound Proof Puppy Training App is an application available on the iPhone store that features many different sounds you can play. Try using this app while your dog is calm or while feeding treats to introduce and acclimate them slowly, playing indoors so they make good associations with all the noises in our world.

Training treats: we like the brand Real Meat or Happy Howie’s: a 2 lb. roll chopped into tiny pieces can last a while!

We love this jingle –free nametag from Boomerang Tags. It securely clips onto your dog’s collar and there’s no noise when your dog shakes.

To give your dog some activity and mental stimulation: Look into Kong toys, which you can stuff and freeze with: yogurt, peanut butter, or dog-appropriate veggies, among other foods!

West Paw makes rubber toys made in the USA. They are guaranteed to be replaced if your dog chews through the toy. They also make some interactive puzzle toys.

Look into a properly fitted front-clip harness or a martingale collar for your dog. Some brands: Sense-ation harness, Freedom harness.


The Other End of the Leash – Patricia B McConnell

101 Dog Tricks – Kyra Sundance. Fun things to do with your dog to provide mental stimulation and activity. There is also a children’s version of this book.

As a Dog Thinketh – Monique Anstee. Beautiful book that simplifies how and what dogs are really thinking                    Facebook: Sochi Dogs: Extraordinary Strays                       Tax-Id 47-2728960