Looking for dog-related information? Here are some resources that we’ve found helpful and that we encourage you to check out. (Links will open in a new tab.)

Please keep in mind that this content belongs to other websites – at the time of posting the link, we agreed with their advice, but sometimes views and information can change. It is important to continue to engage in educational and learning opportunities to benefit both you and your pet. Please do not consider these resources to be your only access to information or advice — there are many options available and it is always best to ask your trusted vet or trainer before trying any of these on your own.

Also – all dogs are unique and have different needs, so please take the opportunity to ask the foster of the dog and the adoption coordinator questions about the dog you are interested in. They may have specific tips to help you and your new furry friend have a smooth transition.

If you have concerns or comments about anything on this page, please let us know.

Table of Contents

Local Resources (Ottawa Area)

Before You Adopt or Buy a Dog
Welcoming a New Dog
Building a Bond
Behaviour & Body Language
Dogs and Kids
Dogs and Cats
Dogs and Dogs
Feeding Your Dog
Pets: Travel and House Proofing
Crate Training: Importance and Purpose
House Training: Back to Basics
Leash Tips & Techniques: Manners and Training
Mental Stimulation Tips & Tricks: Another Way to Fulfill and Exhaust Your Dog

Local Resources (Ottawa Area)

Following is a short list of dog-care service providers in the Ottawa area — these are people we know and trust with our own dogs.

  • Dog Dayz, in Kanata has individual training and classes (including special puppy classes), doggy daycare, and groomers.
  • Dog World (Bedrock Kennels) near Almonte, offers training, grooming, daycare, and boarding.
  • Ferghus and Company, in Kinburn (west of Ottawa) offers training classes, a full agility facility for rent by the hour, and full do-it-yourself grooming.
  • We work closely with Street Wise Canine, based in Russell (east of Ottawa) especially on our more challenging cases. They offer group classes, private training, as well as boarding or board-and-train services.
  • Coyote Canine Dog Training has helped some of our adopters build a bond and address any adjustment struggles after adoption. Natasha has been extremely professional and helpful to our adopters and rescue dogs by visiting them in their homes and giving them one-on-one support.
  • Carp Country Canines Play Park on the outskirts of Carp (west of Ottawa) offers a fully fenced 2 acres of private dog park available for booking — Just for you & your personal pup!
  • Walk with Me Ottawa offers professional dog-walking — ideal for those of us who work long days. They also offer in-home boarding.
  • Looking for another in-home boarding company, where your pooch stays in the comfort of a home environment? Bone Voyage in Ottawa has what you’re looking for.

Before You Adopt or Buy a Dog

  • Do some research into what breeds suit your lifestyle and family. This quiz on DogTime might help you narrow down your choices.
  • Think about your living situation. Many people bring home pets only to realize that there isn’t enough room for them, the park is too far away, or they end up moving to a place where pets are not allowed. If your living situation is in flux, it may be best to wait.
  • Does anyone in your family (or frequent visitors) have serious allergies? Some dogs are hypoallergenic, or adjusting your pet’s diet or grooming can minimize the impact.
  • Are there, or will there be, children in your home? Look for a breed that is predisposed to tolerate children, rather than a high-strung dog that may not fit your future family.
  • Be realistic about costs — and it’s not just food and toys! Saving money by feeding your dog inexpensive foods may result in health problems (allergies, dental decay, or kidney failure, for example) that could end up costing your dog its life or costing you thousands of dollars. This article on Petfinder has some ballpark costs based on surveys of American consumers. Costs in Ontario are generally higher. For example, spay/neuter costs $200-$500; dental care costs upwards of $500-$1000.

Welcoming a New Dog

The best thing you can do for your family is to carefully plan your dog’s first days in your home.

  • “The first few days in your home are special and critical for a pet. Your new dog will be confused about where he is and what to expect from you. Setting up some clear routine structure with your family for your dog (i.e., one you will continue even when you are at work, and not just on the weekend) will be paramount in making as smooth a transition as possible.” Tips for the First 30 Days
  • “You’ve got a leash and a collar and a bowl and a bed and a brand-new dog. Yikes! Now what? This week, how to help your adopted dog settle in.” How to Bring a Newly Adopted Dog Home

Building a Bond

Here are some great tips to help you connect, and strengthen your relationship with your furry family member. A dog is NEVER too young or too old to start some of these simple tips. Whether you just recently adopted a puppy or adult/senior dog, or if you have had your dog for years, these may be some helpful hints to spark that furever loving, trusting, and respectful dog-human bond.


Our fosters work hard to shape appropriate household behaviours, but it is important for adopters to continue that training. This is especially true during the transition period when a dog might revert to previous bad habits that we had hoped were gone.

  • The Good Dog Life – Sean O’Shea is an American trainer who works with some really difficult cases, dogs that might otherwise be euthanized. He uses a no-nonsense, balanced approach.
  • This site covers everything from specific breed information to “speaking dog” or understanding dog behaviour. There’s a lot here, so grab a coffee and get comfy.
  • Just like people, dogs communicate using body language. Your dog is communicating with his entire body, not just his tail or his voice. If you want to know how he is feeling, you’ll need to learn to read your particular dog’s body language. Tip: this is also really helpful in reading the body language of dogs that are approaching you or your dog. Dog Body Language

       Are you ready for your final exam?

Ever wonder what some of your dog’s body language means? Especially when it comes to growls, snarls or snaps, some people are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with what their dog is trying to tell them. After reading about and looking at some photos of dog body language, try completing this test to check-in with your skills! Take the test!

Dogs and Kids

  • Children can be very threatening to dogs. A small child is literally “in a dog’s face” because of their small stature. Children make abrupt movements and startling high-pitched noises that are very unnerving to a dog. Take steps to get things off to a good start. How to Introduce Dogs and Children

Dogs and Cats

  • There are many ways you can introduce cats and dogs. These are the six steps one trainer has used successfully many times, for a slow and safe introduction of a new cat to resident dogs. “Slow” can be as quickly as one week, or it can take months, depending on the pets being introduced. Six Steps to Introduce a New Cat to Your Dog
  • Even if your dog has successfully lived with cats in the past, it is important to remember that each dog and each cat is an individual and therefore each introduction is different. How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat

Dogs and Dogs

Meeting a new dog or cat is exciting and the over-excitement can cause them to invade each other’s space and make bad first impressions, so they need guidance and reminders for good doggy manners. Bottom line: slow & steady wins the race!

  • The number one rule when bringing a new dog into a household that already has dogs is to do it gradually. The worst mistake people can make when adding a new pack member is to just bring the dog into the house. To the dogs that were already there, this is an intrusion on their territory by a stranger. To the new dog, being thrust into an unknown environment leaves it without any rules to follow or boundaries to respect. Cesar’s Way: A New Member of the Pack
  • If you have a dog and a new one will be entering or visiting your home, there are things you can do to ensure that the meeting goes off without a hitch. Introducing Dogs to Each Other
  • Most dogs can share a home comfortably with a canine guest or housemate. How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Dog

Feeding Your Dog

Wondering what to feed your new K9 companion? We will send you with a short supply of dog food to help wean your furry best friend onto their new diet. Please do your research to pick the best meal for your dog, your budget, and your household. Consider kibble options, raw options, and home cooked. Please make your own educated decisions that you are comfortable with, also speaking with a pet nutritionist or your vet can help. These are some places to get you started:

  • Ask a Vet a Question: Are these foods bad for dogs? This site has a good list of what’s safe, mostly safe, or toxic.
  • With sensitive or allergic dogs, home-prepared or a raw diet may be your best bet. “Increase your companion’s health and longevity by incorporating fresh whole foods into the daily diet. As with human nutrition, dogs and cats are healthiest when eating a wide variety of minimally processed foods.” Home-Prepared Diets for Dogs and Cats
  • “For the majority of dog guardians, feeding dogs commercial food makes the most sense; it is not only convenient, but—if they select high-quality food made by companies with proven records of ingredient integrity—it provides their dogs with a generally wholesome diet.”Choosing the Best Food for Your Dog
  • “Get lifesaving dog food recall alerts anytime there’s a recall event in the U.S. or Canada.” Dog Food Recalls

Pets: Travel and House Proofing

There’s more to traveling with a dog than just putting it in the back seat. Read more about pets and travel safety.

Is your home safe and secure for a pup? Check out these home-proofing tips to ensure your home is safe & ready for a curious and adventurous furry family member:
HomeAdvisor: Pet-Proofing — Keeping Your Home & Yard Safe for Dogs or Cats
Household Quotes: Keeping Pets Safe In The Home


Crate Training: Importance & Purpose

Below are some articles about beginning crate training with a puppy, and they also have great tips for helping your new dog use the crate in your home as sometimes they may need a reminder or encouragement. These articles also outline the importance of using the crate: to keep your pup safe, calm, secure, and prevent bathroom accidents or injury in the house (such as eating something dangerous). Crate training is essential for the adjustment period to help the dog feel safe and secure in an unfamiliar place. Moving into a new home can be stressful for a dog and using the crate can help ease the anxiety and help the transition. Some dogs will also test their boundaries in a new home and using a crate when they are unsupervised ensures that they follow the rules/not practice unwanted behaviours.

House Training: Back to Basics

For many, crate training and house training go hand in hand. Here are some articles to get you started on house training a puppy, or these tips can also be used to help your new adult dog if they are having accidents in the house.

Are accidents in the house a new thing? Or maybe your pup can’t seem to make it outside, or seems to be going more than normal? Ask your veterinarian – There may be something medically going on with your pup.

Leash Tips & Techniques: Manners and Training

Leash reactivity presents itself in may forms. Whether your dog is lunging, barking, growling, and pulling, or if your dog is cowering, shaking, or bolting in fear/insecurity, these articles may help point you & your dog in the right direction. Helping your dog feel confident and secure on the leash is important for everyone’s safety, as well as for the relationship between you and your dog. These articles should not be used instead of a trainer, and we highly recommend that if you are facing leash issues to contact a local trainer.

Mental Stimulation: Tips & Tricks

Does your dog hate rain? Or the snow/the cold? Maybe they are a hyper pup, or working breed, and walking just doesn’t seem to cut it… While walking, running and adventures outdoors are important to fulfill your dog, here’s a fun tip – this is not always enough for some dogs, and there is another way to tire & stimulate your pup! Here are some fun things that are not your typical walk around the block:

We hope this information was helpful to both you & your furry family member!

Rocky Road Rescue