Getting a new dog is very exciting – both for you and your four-legged family members. The first few days in the new home are extremely important for the dog. It will certainly be very confusing and unsure of how it is expected to behave.
It is important to set up clear rules and frameworks in the home to help the dog have a painless transition. Here are 10 things you can think of to make it easier for your dog during this transition period.
Be patient with the dog
When bringing a new dog home for your family, remember to be patient. It can take a long time for the dog to get to know his new home and really feel at home.
Sabine Fischer-Daly, a veterinarian at Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University, reminds us that no two dogs are alike. Furthermore, she believes that while for some dogs a couple of days is enough before they have made themselves at home, for others it can take up to several months. The dog’s real personality may not come to light until some time after it has arrived at its new home.
Getting a new dog home is something fantastic, but it is important to remember that it can also be difficult and stressful. Dr. Fischer-Daly points to the importance of having realistic expectations of the dog, as well as an understanding of what it is going through. “Dogs’ response to their new home varies from individual to individual. Some people hide, are shy, and indulge indoors, while others can become over-excited with lots of energy ”.
Set up clear routines and frameworks
Having an open dialogue within the family before you bring home a new dog is important. In addition to preparing the parts of the home that the dog gets and will have access to, Dr. Fischer-Daly on the importance of discussing whose responsibility all parts of the dog’s care are. “Discuss and plan who takes care of what, what is allowed in the home, and what commands you will use for the dog.”
Set up a routine immediately when the dog comes home to help him feel safe and secure. Feed and rest the dog at regular times immediately.
If you already have a dog, be careful about introducing the new family member
“Introducing animals to each other is a slow process that must take time,” explains Dr. Fischer-Daly. When the dogs are to meet each other for the first time – make that meeting outdoors, on neutral ground. Have both dogs connected to be able to control how they interact with each other?
During the introductory phase, have separate places for the dogs in the home. Remove all objects (eg toys) that could cause conflict. This will help to reduce the tension between the dogs, which in turn can minimize negative experiences for both. Do not leave the dogs together alone without supervision for the first few weeks.
If you see any sign of aggression or conflict from any of them, it is important to act immediately. Dr. Fischer-Daly believes that if you see any signs of aggressive behavior, you should separate the dogs immediately. Separate the new dog from the other family members until you have come up with a plan to solve the problem – either by changing the dogs’ behavior or, if necessary, returning the new dog.
Consider a dog cage
Dog cages are good tools for new dogs and are highly recommended by experts. The cage should not be used as a punishment but used to create a safe place for the dog – a place that only belongs to him. He can go here when he wants to feel safe, e.g. if the dog is to be alone at home for a while.
The goal of dog cages is to create a safe place. The cage should be large enough so that the dog, in a comfortable way, can sit up, lie down, or spin around. When dogs have been “caged trained”, many dogs see their cage as their safe place. Many dogs like to sleep in an open cage or go there if they feel anxious. Be sure to inspect the cage carefully before buying it – you want to make sure it is large enough for your dog.
Satisfy your dog’s needs
Allowing your dog access to a selection of toys (such as chewing or interactive toys) can have a very positive impact on your dog’s mental health. These toys allow the dog to get a good outlet for his energy and remove focus from other things in the home that dogs like to chew on (such as furniture, shoes, or cords).
Be careful and keep an eye on your dog when he gets new toys. The toys should not be easy to break but should be soft and pliable so as not to damage the dog’s teeth. Toys that break into small pieces can, if swallowed, damage the dog’s stomach and intestines. Dr. Fischer-Daly suggests pressing your fingernail against toys to see if it is too hard. If your fingernail does not leave a mark on the toy, it is too hard.
Also, be careful not to buy too small toys for your dog. The toy should be large enough so that your dog can not swallow it.
Dog courses are a good support
Getting support and help from a dog trainer on a dog course is a great way to strengthen the relationship with your dog. Training the dog to coexist in a “human world” is important and should be a priority for you and your new dog.
The training should focus on reinforcing positive behavior. Avoid all types of training and information from sources that focus on punishment based on the dog feeling fear or pain. These methods are heavily criticized and have a negative effect on your dog’s well-being. These types of training often lead to the dog becoming scared and aggressive.
It is important to tackle all types of unwanted behaviors quickly before they become a commodity. But it is how you react to these behaviors and how you work with them that is crucial to your relationship with your dog. Through positive reinforcement, you can build a lifelong, satisfying, and happy bond with your dog.
Train the dog to be room clean through positive reinforcement
As with any dog training, it is important to have realistic expectations and patience when training your dog to be room clean. When you bring a new dog home, it can already be room clean, depending on how old it is. However, it is still the case that accidents can occur indoors when the dog gets used to his new home. Dr. Fischer-Daly explains that the dog can be overstimulated by any changes and simply does not know where it is allowed to urinate.
To avoid this unwanted behavior and accidents indoors, take the dog out when it is allowed to fulfill its needs and reinforce the behavior directly in the form of candy and praise when urinating outdoors. All desirable behavior can be reinforced in the same way – with candy and praise.
Create resting routines
Before the dog’s first walk, make sure it has a suitable collar with an ID tag on it. Rest your dog a number of times a day and try to do it at the same time each day to create a clear routine.
Find a good vet
Before you bring your new dog home, it may be a good idea to find out which veterinarian you want the dog to go to. If you adopt your dog, it is sometimes recommended to take the dog to the vet directly to get a thorough health check.
Slowly switch to new dog food
If you do not intend to give the dog the same food as it received at the kennel or at the adoption center, there are a few things to keep in mind. Dr. Fischer-Daly believes that a too rapid transition to a new type of food can cause stress, an upset intestine, and diarrhea.
Gradually switch to the new lining. Use the old food for a couple of days and gradually mix in the new food until the dog has completely switched to his new food. If you are unsure about the type of food that is best for your dog, consult your veterinarian.