Bringing home a new dog is an exciting time but introducing a dog into your home can be fumbled if not well thought out. From puppies to rescues I will go over a plan for success to make sure introducing a new dog into your home goes as smooth as possible.
Before you get a dog you need to make sure you have the all necessary supplies that your new friend will need. Supplies include: a leash, collar, food and water bowls, age appropriate toys, a dog door or fence, training treats, and ID tags.
Also, a main supply to highlight is your pups food option. This is getting a little extra attention because picking a healthy food is key to a happy and healthy dog that will live a long and prosperous life. The best advice I can give is to read the ingredient list. I always reference Dogfoodadvisor.com for extra help. You can also read an previous blog I have posted titled "Best dog food reviews and ratings 2017" You dont have to do much research to find a healthy food.
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Puppy proofing is setting up your dog's environment in a way that will help keep them safe and out of trouble. This is done by removing anything valuable from ground level or barricading it out of the reach out of the dog. This includes wires to electronics, keep sake items, poisons or cleaning products, and food. Remember, a dog investigates with its mouth, so you cant fault the dog for chewing on your favorite headphones that you left on your bedroom floor (I know from personal experience). You also need to take into account the size of the dog. Items on the coffee table might be out of harms way for a pug but for a german shepherd, thats easy pickings.
The First Day
You've finally made it to this moment- Bringing your new dog home! A common mistake with new dog ownership is allowing the dog to roam completely free in its new home. While you dont need to confine him or her to a jail cell, there is a better way and I'm here to walk you through it.
Entering the home- While leashed, ask the dog to calmly sit before entering the threshold of the home. Puppies will probably not know the command of sit so you wont need to worry about the first step. Just make sure the puppy is calm before entering. Once inside, walk the leashed dog around the areas of the house, making sure they stay calm, closing off rooms that you dont want the dog in. This process shows the dog that there are boundaries. Once you have escorted your new dog around the home and they are calm you can let them off the leash while you closely monitor them. Let them explore by guiding them through their new living area.
A new dog should never have complete freedom to roam the house. You will want to restrict them to a side or portion of the house with access to fresh water. Giving a dog freedom to roam gives them too many opportunities to get into trouble. It may also give them the sense of kingdomship. I use this term to describe a behavior where a dog believes they are "king" of his territory and he must protect it from anyone, or thing that threatens it. This can become a major problem, so I always suggest limiting a dogs ability to roam without supervision. They must gain access to freedom around the house with good behavior.
A dog should always have a safe place, weather its a kennel, pad, or bed(the Wizdog Flower Bed is a great option) This is a stress free area where a dog can rest and feel comfortably safe. For more anxious dogs I recommend keeping the area in a consistent area. Dogs are naturally den animals so pick a spot with secure walls like a corner or next to the couch. Let the dog be while in there safe place do not try to play with them and allow them to relax. You will want to promote calm behavior while in their safe place this will help with training the place command in the future. It's important that you try not to not wake up or startle a sleeping dog. If a dog is constantly woken up from at state of rest they can start to get a sense that they can never completely relax which can effect the of the dog.
The Weeks To Come
Your new housemate will make a mess, and my advice to you is dont worry, just clean it up. Specially if you plan on leaving them at home while you're at work. Instead set them up for success with an Indoor potty, like the Wizdog Indoor dog potty. This gives them the opportunity to use a "bathroom" instead of your carpet or flooring. DO NOT rub their noses in whatever mess they make, you are only making things worse.
Toys to keep them occupied. If you dont want your dog to get bored and get in trouble make sure they have plenty of toys to keep them busy. I call these interactive toys "boredom busters" and they do a great job keeping your dog's mind stimulated and out of trouble. You can see some of these toys in the blog I posted last month.
Bringing home a new dog is a big deal. No matter how many animals you had in the past, or own at the moment, when introducing a new dog you should have a plan. Puppy proof the living area, guide them through the home, give them a safe place to rest, provide a place to eliminate either access to outside or an indoor dog potty, and supply proper toys.
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