Adoption Tips

Introducing Your New Rescue to Your Children: 7 Simple Reminders to Keep Kids Safe


When you are rescuing a dog and there are kids present in the family, or even friends and relatives that plan to visit, there are several things you should consider as you introduce dogs and children. Additionally, there are several interactions you should discourage and curb when it comes to kids and their interaction with dogs. This is for the safety of children and dogs a like.

Many of these things may seem like a given, but for each and every dog owner and adopter there are always lessons that can be learned to reduce stress on a dog, and unwanted situations within the family. 

These 7 simply reminders can help keep kids safe and dogs comfortable in child/dog interactions:

1.     Children should not put their hands in a dog’s food bowl, or play in their food, nor tease a dog with food, bones, or toys.

2.     Pulling an item out of the mouth of a dog should be avoided. If they are chewing on something that is not there, try a drop it command, and if that is not working try using a higher value treat to distract the dog from the object it should not be chewing on and redirect to a more appropriate object.

3.     Close contact with a new rescue or unfamiliar dog should be monitored. Children and adults should not put faces up close into the face of dogs, pull or grab dogs’ ears or tails, or yank paws. 

4.     Climbing on or over dogs or laying on top of dogs can cause stress to the animal and stress reactions. Be gentle when petting dogs and approaching them.

5.     While dogs may look cuddly and like they want to be hugged, avoid hugging and pulling a dog tightly to you, it may cause the dog stress that makes it want to get away and the dog may react to let you know it is uncomfortable.

6.     Avoid yelling, screaming, and loud noises around a dog. The stress of yelling can cause a dog to react to your stress and anxiety. Commands do not have to be loud and angry to be effective.

7.     When teaching your dog commands, use a firm voice, but not a loud, angry, or pitchy scream to get a dog to behave. Treats and rewards will help your dog be at ease with learning commands. This should be practiced by adults, before having children mimic this. Make sure a dog is comfortable with commands before turning over the training to a child.

Please watch this dog bite prevention video – the perspective of your children and the dogs can be very different. It’s important to make sure to supervise interactions and look for signs a dog is giving that it is not enjoying certain types of attention.

In our next blog post we will talk more about signs of stress with dogs and toddlers

Falling in Love and Adopting - The Lu's Labs Way


Sometimes the dog you fall in love with on our website isn’t the dog you end up with – but you always end up with a dog you will love.

Our adoption process can be a little bit different than other rescues. It takes a little time to get through the vet checks, the reference checks, the interview, and the homecheck. But once you are approved your dedicated Adoption Coordinator (AC) works tirelessly to make that perfect match. Sometimes the dog that may have caught your eye on the website, is no longer available by the time you can start looking in earnest for your forever companion. And remember, there are other people like you who are also in the process of finding their family friend. So sometimes someone who has already been going through the process may be in line in front of you for the same dog.

We know it can be frustrating when you at first see a pup that you think you want, and he or she is not available to you. But the thing is about rescue, there is always another dog that needs rescuing. And they all have that endless capacity for love that labs exhibit. Each dog needs to be pulled from a shelter and given a chance at a wonderful life. And that’s what we do.

All our dogs are pulled from high kill shelters and bad situations in the south. (And now in some cases in Puerto Rico.) We have a great network of southern fosters that bring these dogs into their homes and show them love, sometimes for the first time for some of our dogs. They work with them on their manners, give them a roof over their head, make sure they experience treats and fun, and they get them all their initial vetting. The dogs get their shots up to date and go through a battery of tests. When needed dogs are spayed or neutered in the south, microchipped, and sometimes, if a dog needs surgery that will happen down in the south as well.  

With our well thought out process, the dogs start out in the south, and once they are ready for adoption they head to the north and are transported by another network of loyal volunteers who make up our transport team. Sometimes, when we have a concentrated group of dogs coming up from the same area, and we have it in our budget, we will pay for transport to the north. Once here they go into northern foster homes that can be anywhere from as far south as Suffolk, Virginia to as far north as Pennsylvania.  Once they are in their northern foster home, they are ready for their meet and greets. Most of our dogs are met within 7 days of arrival and go to their forever homes. AC’s explain the process in detail to each one of their applicants. 

AC’s work hard to help find the right matches and they are always hoping that their people will be the ones who get to meet the dogs of their applicants dreams. But just as there are many AC’s there are many qualified applicants. Patience is key and being willing to wait ensures that you will eventually get a dog that will be perfect with your family. We don’t try to force matches. Not every dog will match each person’s needs – no matter how soulful their eyes are.

Tales From An Adoption Coordinator


It’s really important that you understand we are all volunteers. We do this because these dogs have a piece of our hearts. All of them. Every time a dog is listed on the Facebook page, or the website, a little piece of us says, “I want that dog!” But you know if you were to follow through with that, then you would be considered a dog-hoarder, and someone would come and take you away.

So that’s why you help other people get their dog “fix”. In fact, some have referred to us as sales people, dog pushers, and also dog angels, on any given day. Our priority is to find the best home for the dog. At Lu’s Labs it’s all about the dogs. But of course, there is the human element. If it’s the best home for the dog, it automatically must mean it’s the best dog for the home, the family, and the new life everyone will experience.

This means we need to get to know you. It means we may ask very personal questions. We want to know what your intention is with our dogs. At times it may seem harder to adopt a dog than it might be to adopt a child. And you know what? We are okay with that. At times it may mean we turn off a very qualified adopter. But you know what? That’s okay. If you take our questions too personally and defensively you really don’t understand what we are here to do for the dogs.

We know you are really excited and want a dog and you want it NOW! Many, many of us were once like you! We were on the other side of the adoption emails dealing with our own Adoption Coordinators, and we were thinking…but that dog on the website, I want THAT one!  And it’s sometimes hard for us to tell you that patience is a virtue, especially in this fast-paced world of instant gratification we live in.

But the truth is, we get far more qualified adopters -- wonderful people who want to adopt through us -- then we have the funding and the fosters to pull dogs. So, it may take time. But every adopter who has waited a while will tell you it was more than worth it. We AC’s are pretty good at helping you find your heart dog. The dog that will just melt your heart every time you look at his or her antics and that beautiful face and say, “where have you been all my life.”

We are here in your corner, but we are also here for the dogs. That is the binding factor that brings us all together after all. Rescuing dogs. As volunteers, as owners, we all want to see these fur babies have the best homes possible.  It’s well worth the wait!



5 Pro Tips on Adopting a New Dog

Adopting a dog from a rescue is one of the most exciting and heart-warming things you can do for a dog who has been dealt a rough hand in life.

 If you are like us here at Lu’s Labs, you think a dog is supposed to have a warm comfortable place to sleep indoors. Preferably on cushy pillows or even on the end of a bed…sometimes in the middle. Bonus if they get to relax on couches, and a dog bed is a must.  Meals and treats that are healthy and consistent so there’s never a pang of starvation in their bellies. While also being mindful of not allowing your furry friend to put on too much weight. Lots of toys, people, and playtime to entertain them and exert their energy. Which also can cut down on mischief since they are too tired to get into the things they aren’t supposed to. And the most important thing a dog should have is love. This can consist of pats, scratches, and a general appreciation for their presence in our lives.

This is the recipe for a loyal happy companion. But sadly, not all dogs start out their path in life with these wonderful things. This is why every rescue dog may come with their own set of circumstances that can make adjusting to a new home take differing amounts of time for different dogs. Here are 5 pro tips that will help you and your new furry companion get through this adjustment period.

1. Be Prepared – When you bring a new dog into your home, make sure you have all the things a dog will need like bowls, beds, healthy food, a crate if needed, toys, training snacks, leashes and collars, a tag with your name, address and phone number on it and other items that can help making the adjustment period easy. Here’s a good list on our site that will help you decide what you may need. (Link to other post on Lu’s Labs)

2. Schedules – You and your new dog are not going to know each other’s routines, or even each other’s signs. There may be accidents in the beginning as you adjust to potty schedules and learn how to read the signs. From the beginning, it can be important to establish schedules. Dogs are creatures of habit, so by feeding and walking at the same time daily you can start to instill a schedule that you will both grow to understand. For more information on setting up cues this is a great training article.

3. Introductions – There are all kinds of introductions that will happen when you bring your new pup home, and begin to integrate them into your life. It could be other pets – dogs, cats, or even the family rodent! Children. Neighbors. Just think of all the introductions that can happen as your circle expands. When introducing new people and animals taking your time is always important. With other animals in the house, it’s a good idea to have separate spaces, gated off areas, or even allowing animals their own rooms so they can adjust to the new smells of each other through gates and doors.

With small children, babies, and toddlers, it’s a must to supervise these interactions as everyone is getting to know each other. Keeping your dog on a leash so you can have better control will help you decide of excited wiggles, jumping, or running through the house will be a safety issue for the little humans. It’s also important to teach kids about your dog’s personal space, understanding the signs to back off, and not placing a dog in an uncomfortable or defensive situation. For more on introducing your dog to a cat, check out this article. for more information on introducing dogs to children, this article is helpful.

4. Training Tune-Up – Consider seeking out a positive training class or one-on-one session with a trainer to help you and your new companion get used to each other. Sometimes as people we need as much training as dogs do, to understand their needs and learn how to create the best interactions we can with our new dogs. Training and agility classes help you bond. You can reach out to your adoption coordinator and get a list of Lu's Labs approved trainers in your area.

5. Patience – If there is one thing that can be more important than anything else when adopting a rescue, it is patience. Understanding that this is a completely new environment for your dog, and in some cases rescue dogs have never had a warm secure place and humans to call their own, is an important part of the new adoption process. There’s no way of knowing the life experiences your dog has had before you. But taking time to understand they may not all have been positive, and very likely were not, will give you a better handle on dealing with behavior, and tempering your expectations. Rarely is a pup perfect from the moment they walk in the door. Adjustments to the way you live may need to happen as you transition and train a dog to be a member of your family. But the biggest reward comes when you don’t give up. When you utilize resources, recommendations, and research to help your dog adjust to its new life.

Good luck on your journey as a new dog owner! Every dog should have a warm, safe, loving home to call their own!



New Doggie Checklist

Whether you are a first-time dog owner, or a seasoned expert, it never hurts to have a list of things you need, things to do, and things you may want when you first get a new dog from a rescue. This quick checklist is designed to go with Lu’s Labs and some of our philosophies of dog ownership.

Quality Food – You may want to change the food from the rescue, this all depends on preference.

Treats – Think about having training treats, dental treats, Kongs for stuffing, and rewards on hand.

Bowls – Having their own dedicated bowls or feeders for food and water.

Dog Bed(s) – This may help with training so that a dog knows where their “spot” is.

Toys – Tug toys, throw toys, plush toys, puzzle toys! The list of toys is endless.

Crate – This can be a safe space for your dog since dogs are den creatures. It’s not meant as a place of punishment.

Crate pad – Something soft in your dog’s crate if they are going to spend any time there.

Gate – This may be an alternative to crating, or just a way to keep your dog out of the cat box.

Personalized Tags – Tag’s with your name, number, and information if your dog gets lost

Collar – Collars should not be prong, shock collars – the Martingale collar is recommended

Harness – Easy walk harnesses can help keep your dog from pulling while walking

Leash – One to two 4-6 foot leashes. In the beginning, you may want to double leash your dog, until you know them better to prevent slipping a collar and running away. No retractable leashes – they are not good for training, discipline, and can cause injuries to people and pets.

Poop Bags – These don’t have to be the expensive kind, but remember you will be picking up after your new dog. Poop bags will come in handy especially on walks.

Pet Car Restraints – Everything from car harnesses to tethers can be helpful for your new dog. These are safety devices that help keep your pup safe when stopping short, and keep them from running from the car when you open the door or hatch.

Vet – Have your vet set up ahead of time before you adopt.

First Visit – Take your dog to see the vet for a complete check-up within 7-10 days of your adoption.

Microchip – Make sure to get the microchip changed into your name.

Pet Insurance – With dogs, there is no telling what kinds of things you may encounter with their health as they age. Deciding on pet insurance can save costly bills in the future.

Spay/Neuter – If your adopting a puppy, the spay and neuter will be part of your responsibility. Adult dogs will come to you with this already done.

Monthly Preventative – We can’t stress enough, year around heart worm preventative and flea and tick preventative. Talk with your vet.

Training – For puppies and dogs under 3 from Lu’s Labs training is a must, but training is a good idea for any new dog so that everyone can get to know each other and work on reinforcing good behavior. We only allow positive methods of dog training with Lu’s Labs.

Grooming Kits – Brushes, combs, nail clippers, canine tooth brush, canine tooth paste (Make sure there is no Xylitol in tooth paste) doggie shampoo.

Non-toxic Cleaners – Find enzymatic odor neutralizers, and non-toxic cleaners to use on accidents.

Patience – Above all else, remember what you can bring to the table with your new dog is patience and understanding. There is always an adjustment period with a new rescue.

We hope this list has been helpful!