April 30 is National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day. All of the dogs pictured in this post are currently available for adoption from Best Friends Animal Society. Nicola Reynor wrote this guest post.
Bringing home a new dog is often an exciting time. For the dog, though, going to a new home can be very stressful. As such, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of your new friend in every way possible.
If you’re not sure about being able to take care of your pooch, don’t worry. Here are some tips to help you make your new pal feel comfortable in his new house.
Being prepared in advance will help your dog adjust easily to his new house. Having everything you need on hand will also mean less trouble for you.
Start with determining an area in your house where your dog will spend most of his time. This is necessary because he will probably be under stress due to the change in environment. Remember that a new dog is bound to have accidents even if he is fully house-trained. So restricting your dog to a particular area will only make clean-up work easier for you.
Buy an adequately-sized crate for your dog or use safety gates to keep your dog restricted to a particular area. Don’t feel guilty about doing so; your dog will appreciate it as he will feel he has his own place to rest.
Be sure to dog-proof the area by keeping it free of rugs, breakables, chemicals, and plants. Also, be sure to tape loose electrical cords securely.
Apart from a crate or baby gates, you’ll have to buy many things beforehand. Here’s a list you can use:
- A leather or non-stretch buckle collar with an ID tag securely attached
- A training collar or harness
- A thick leather or double-ply woven leash with a strong clasp
- Comfortable and easy to clean bedding
- Grooming supplies to bathe your dog, brush his coat, and trim his coat and nails
- A flea comb to check for fleas
- Stainless steel water and food bowls
- Premium dog food and treats
- Non-rawhide-based chew toys
You might not know for sure if your dog will take a liking to the dog food you purchase. So don’t stock up on any one brand or variety. Buy smaller packs or get free samples of dog food; you can buy a bigger pack when you know what your pup likes.
Go Slow with the Introductions
Whether you’re introducing your dog to friends and family members or with existing pets, be sure to do it gradually. You don’t want to overwhelm your new friend. Moreover, not all dogs like to be petted and stroked by unfamiliar people.
Discourage loved ones from petting, hugging, or picking up the dog altogether; you don’t want to scare him! Instead, have them offer the dog treats so that he associates your loved ones with good things. Remember to have the dog on a leash and allow him to approach, sniff, and drive the conversation. Also, avoid having guests over for the first few days of bringing your furry pal home.
If you have kids at home who are excited about bringing home a new dog, take them to the animal shelter where you’re adopting the dog from twice or thrice before you bring the dog home. This will help the dog get acquainted with the kids, and as the novelty factor will wear off, your kids won’t be screaming in joy around the dog when you take him home.
When it comes to introducing your new dog to your other dogs, introduce them one by one. Be sure to do this outside in a food-free and toy-free zone to avoid distractions. Keep both pets on a loose leash and watch and manage their interactions. Never leave them alone together during the initial days. Initial interactions with other pets like cats should be brief.
Dogs take well to routine life and feel better when they know for sure that things will happen in a particular order. So don’t be slow to establish a routine in your new friend’s life!
Your new friend may have been fed at a regular time every day at the shelter. Find out his feeding times from the shelter and follow the same schedule for a couple of days. Introduce him to your schedule gradually.
Don’t bring your new pal home when you’re on a short vacation; this will get him used to having you around and may lead to separation anxiety when you have to get back to work. Instead, stay with him all the time only for a couple of days. Leave the house for short intervals initially. Gradually increase the time and go on short shopping trips or run quick errands. This will get your dog used to being on his own.
Train from Day One
It is important to start training your dog from day one. And as you’ll be at home to watch over your dog, you’ll be able to train him better.
As mentioned, your dog may have accidents even if he has been house-trained. So be sure to begin house-training him. Start with simple commands like sit and come first. Make sure that everyone in the house uses the same commands, or your dear pup is bound to get confused.
Never resort to violent means to teach your dog good behaviors. Be patient, and don’t forget to reward him when he’s good.