Are you thinking about adopting a new dog? Or are you a current dog owner that is trying to help a friend with their new pup? These tips may be helpful to you! The first few days of having a new dog in a new home can be very crucial with creating a positive relationship with your new animal companion. Though this is an exciting experience for you and the dog, the dog will still be confused about the new territory and their role within the home. Maintaining clear structure and rules will help ease the transition from new animal to family member.
Things to Do Before the Dog Comes Home
- Choose where the animal will be spending their time and what boundaries you will create. A good place to start is the kitchen. A new dog may be nervous and have an accident or look to get into things, so an easy to clean floor is ideal. Make sure you clean up any food items, kids toys, or appliances and remove them from the dog’s reach.
- If you plan on crate training your dog, be sure to have a crate set-up and ready to go for when you bring your new dog home. You will need to establish this as a go to place for the new dog. Put bedding in the crate and direct the dog there with treats. Make the crate seem like a welcome place or a “nest.”
- Create Boundaries by using baby gates, doors, or other blockade items to prevent the dog from going anywhere you do not want them.
- Have a collar with ID tag and your phone number on it ready for the dog. Also have whatever leash or walking equipment you will need to transport the dog and lead them around on their first day.
- Create a relaxing first day for your dog. Do not go overboard with introducing them to new people and things. Let them meet the people they will be living with and let them relax. If there are any children in the home, make sure they know how to properly greet a dog.
- When you pick up your dog, learn their feeding schedule so that it can be replicated at home for the first few days.
- When the dog is first brought home, it is a good idea to let them explore the outside area on leash first. This will ease the dogs mind when they enter the house, and they will be less anxious to get outside or bark at the door or window since they have familiarized themselves with the outside. Lead them to an outside area where they are allowed to “go potty” and let them do so before going in the house. This will relieve stress and reduce the chances of an “accident.”
- Starting from day one, stay consistent with your expectations and rules of how you would like the dog to act. They should be rewarded for good behavior only, and bad behavior must be immediately corrected.
- Spend a lot of time with the dog on leash both indoors and outdoors. This will allow the dog to understand where they are allowed to go and will help you for a strong bond.
- Attempt to stay consistent with the dog’s training and schedule. Stay on the same feeding schedule and make sure the dog know what they are allowed to do with corrections.
- If you encounter behavior issues you are unfamiliar with, ask your veterinarian for a trainer recommendation. Select a trainer who uses positive-reinforcement techniques to help you and your dog overcome these behavior obstacles.
- As your comfort level increases, you may start to introduce your dog to more people, other dogs (if dog-friendly) and new places, such as parks, etc.
If you follow these general guidelines, your relationship with your new dog will grow strong and you will have a happy dog! Keep in mind the moving process is very confusing for your dog, so have patience and be calm and consistent without getting over-excited. You will soon establish yourself as the pack leader and your dog will happily follow.