I recently had the opportunity to ask Courtney Dasher some questions about helping your pets adjust to their new home. If you don’t know Courtney, I’m sure you know Tuna the Dog from Tuna Melts My Heart.
Tuna the Dog
Tuna is a 6 year-old Chiweenie with an exaggerated overbite, recessed jawline and a magnificent wrinkly neck (a.k.a shrivel neck). Courtney Dasher rescued him in December of 2010 in Los Angeles when he was a four-month old puppy. A year into their friendship, Courtney created an Instagram account, @tunameltsmyheart, dedicated to Tuna’s photos. He now has more than 1.9 million followers on Instagram and more than 2 million on all of his social channels combined. I have to say, I’m a little jealous of you, Tuna!
How you can help your pets adjust to their new homes
Though I wasn’t able to talk to Courtney on the phone because of my prior appointment, I did get to ask her questions. She kindly answered them for me on video.
What is your advice on introducing a new puppy (or adult dog) to your household that already has pets: dogs and cats
Courtney recommends keeping your new dog on a leash with you while you allow him to smell the environment. You know your house, so allow your new dog to explore it with you! Don’t be surprised if he marks the territory where your other pets have been because it does happen sometimes. Just make sure you have a cleaning solution on hand.
We don’t want our new puppy to go into the kitchen because the door to the basement (where the kitty litter is) is in there. What advice do you have to train a dog to stay out of a certain room? He does well about 60% of the time, but when he’s excited he won’t listen to stay.
Courtney suggests a pet gate which is a great idea! Right now It’s A Dog has a pet registry where you can create a profile for your dog and basically register for pet items! They’ve also got a contest running through October 31st. Just register your dog, enter the sweepstakes and add items to your dog’s pet gift registry.
How did you and Tuna meet?
Courtney met Tuna at a Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles, and she knew she wanted to foster him. He was only 4 months old at the time. After she was home with him for a few days, he won her heart, and she knew she was going to love him unconditionally.
What made you decide to create an Instagram account for Tuna?
Courtney didn’t set out to garner a large following when she first set out. Instagram was fairly new at the time. She had a year’s worth of photos of Tuna, and she knew he’d bring people a lot of joy and laughter. A year after she began Tuna’s account, it went viral when Instagram featured him on their page. He went from 8500 followers to 32000 in 8 hours!
What is your favorite way to celebrate Tuna?
Courtney likes to celebrate that different is beautiful. I agree! Tuna has his unconventional look because of his overbite, and that has brought us all a lot of joy over these past few years. She also likes to celebrate the fact that he is a rescue dog. She uses the Instagram platform to promote rescuing.
Knowing you rescued Tuna, what tips do you have for new pet owners and how they can help a pet adjust to their new home?
When Courtney first rescued Tuna, she wasn’t sure about how she could handle it. She wishes It’s A Dog had been around then! They have a lot of resources for dog owners like how to housebreak your dog and how to welcome your new dog into your home.
Thanks to Courtney for answering my questions! Be sure to head to It’s A Dog and enter their sweepstakes. Don’t forget to follow Tuna the Dog on Instagram! I’d love it if you followed me while you’re over there too. I think my dog is pretty awesome, and I love that we can celebrate rescue dogs together.