Well, you’ve finally decided to take the plunge for yourself and maybe your family, to add a new member to your home in the form of a new puppy or adopted dog. YAY!! This a always an exciting time but can also be a stressful time, especially for first time dog or puppy owners. I myself think a puppy is easier in the sense that you know their background (usually) instead of an older dog that is coming from a shelter but I am IN NO WAY against adopting a dog. Several of my dogs were adopted (rescued) from shelters and my last Mini Schnauzer, that I lost in the beginning of 2020, after having her for 12 years, was by far my favorite dog and my baby. My heart stills hurts and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.
Getting a dog from a shelter leaves you with a great feeling that you are helping one lonely dog that has been abandoned or abused or just dropped off because of different issues. But, they can come with bad habits and you just don’t know their “make-up” like you would a new puppy. It’s all a challenge but, in my opinion, so worth it all in the end. I love the antics that a new puppy has, but having to house break them, keep them from chewing everything in sight, and just all around keeping up with them can be exhausting if YOU are an older adult. LOL!
But here’s how you can help the new member adjust to their new home.
- Have Your Home and Your Dog’s Space Ready Ahead Of Time For Them. You should have everything ready for them so you can spend the time with them and not have to go out and get everything at the last minute. Taking a dog to a pet store right after you’ve picked them up might seem fun to you but your new little guy is probably feeling really overwhelmed at this point. It’s better to take him right home and get him acquainted with his new toys, food dishes, blankets, crate, bed, collar, leash, etc. (Did I say that they also are an investment almost right away?) Have the house puppy or dog proof just like you would for a baby or child. Check out the plants you have as many house plants can make a dog sick or even be deadly if ingested. Put them out of reach. Make sure any meds or cleaning supplies are out of reach. Put child proof locks on lower cabinets. If you get an older dog and don’t know it’s habits, you might have a “counter surfer” and GULP! Trip to a vet! Put up your shoes and anything that you like so it won’t be chewed on. Dogs tend to take your items because your scent comforts them. Make sure electrical cords are blocked. Get in the habit of closing the lids on toilets and trashcans. (Good time to train the husband and kids on this one as well!) Make sure your backyard is secure by fencing and gates that are always locked. If the new member is small enough to get under the fence or slats attach screening on the gates itself and lay bricks underneath.
- Avoid Overwhelming Your New Friend. Make your dog’s first day all about him, so he will feel safe and comfortable with you and his new surroundings. If you adopted this dog and was told he was housebroken show him where to go potty. If you had a guest in your house they don’t know where the bathroom is without asking. The dog can’t ask, so show him. When he does his business, praise him and give him a treat so he gets the idea. With a puppy, take him out to his designated area, give him his “go potty” command and praise him and treat him just as well. He’ll catch on thou it may take a while longer. Don’t get mad or make a big deal of it if either of them have an accident. They are learning. And they will try to please you. Dogs LOVE to hear your voice and if you speak encouraging and lovingly to them they catch on. Also, have their attention when you are talking to them. Make eye contact with them. They read your expressions as well so if you are happy with them, let them know. If not pleased with them, a scowl will give them the idea you are not pleased and they will remember. If you have a rescued dog and have small children, have them approach them slowly with a treat. Don’t let them run at him as this may startle the dog and scare him especially if he has come from an abused situation. Walk slowly and speak softly. Let the dog approach the others as they will be wary of new people and nervous of the whole new way, especially if they have been mistreated. Greet him with treats and praise. Rewarding him is positive reinforcement and this is the way they learn good behavior.
- Introduce Him To The Inside Of Your House. Introduce your dog to the areas of the house that he will be allowed to be in. Avoid the rooms that you wish him not to be in. Keep him on a leash as you do this as you have the hand of showing him where he is allowed and where he is not. Be mindful that he may have an accident or two. Especially if he is a puppy. He is nervous and probably excited just as everyone else is. There are new people and sounds and smells and these all can be too much at first for the poor guy.
- Never Leave Your Dog Outside On A Leash. Your dog is a member of your family now and should be treated as such. PLEASE do not leave them outside, alone, on a leash all day. I have seen this happen to too many dogs and it is heartbreaking. They need lots of love and reinforcement from you that you do care for them. You are their Alpha…the Leader and they will go to you for their food, care, and love. Treat them with love and patience and you will have a devoted dog for the rest of their life. A dog is a lifetime commitment, their life, not to be taken lightly. As always DawgyLove believes A House Is Not A Home Without A Woof! Thank you for visiting DawgyLove and check out all of our products.