The First Day
Dogs thrive on routine, so orient your new dog to your schedule. As long as you are consistent and provide leadership, the dog will adjust.
When you bring your new dog home, leash-walk outside, so they can take in the smells of the turf and relieve themselves. Pick a place and encourage the dog togothere. Be patient; it may take 10 or 15 minutes. Always praise warmly when they get it right.
It is essential to use apositive vocal tone. People have a tendency to be silent and not express happiness or enthusiasm – yet that is exactly what the dogs need to hear. They need to know when they are doing things correctly.
Next, keeping the dog on leash, enter the house and show them around. Remember, your dog will be excited and anxious about their new home. Don’t be surprised at panting and pacing, housetraining accidents, excessive drinking or chewing, or gastric upset. In addition, any dog, especially a male who was not neutered early, is likely to mark new territory – especially if other pets have lived there. Tell every member of your family to resist the temptation to overwhelm a new dog. Give them time and space to get settled. The less freedom your dog has in the beginning, the fewer opportunities they have to develop bad habits before knowing the house rules.
Next, go to thecrate. Encourage sniffing around; reward with small treats for entering and staying in the crate. Keep soft bedding and safe toys in the crate; rotate the toys for variety. Your dog may cry and bark while getting used to confinement. Do not let them guilt you into giving ACCESS to soon! In the meantime you can quiet him by offering exercise first, then providing chew toys and stuffed kongs while inside the crate. Once your dog knows the rules, they can have more access to more areas or things, but this is an important step and it is required!
Crate facts: Housetraining problems are the top reason people give up dogs.
Crates aid in housetraining because of dogs’ den instincts – they avoid messing where they sleep. Crating is cruel only if the dog is physically uncomfortable or if left too often or too long. Teach your dog that good things come in the crate. Place appealing toys in the crate; feed in the crate. Stay in the room awhile and praise when the dog rests calmly in the crate. Resist letting the dog out if they cry. Over the transition period, gradually open the crate door and increase the number of rooms to which they have access.
Do not let the dog sleep on your bed, and in some cases, on the furniture, especially while establishing a household routine with your new pet. Be sure to instantly remove this privilege if at any point you notice the dog starts to ignore any rules they once knew.
Everyone in the family needs to agree to follow these rules. Consistency is the most important part of dog training. If one family member chooses to ignore the family rules the entire process can break down.
Mealtime is a great training time.
The first few meals should be fed by hand, while reinforcing the sit and watch me command. Your dog will quickly learn that you are in charge of the universe. Don’t be afraid to change the routine often so they learn to eat with distractions. Do not free feed (leaving food in the bowl throughout the day), this not only makes it difficult to predict when your dog will need to use the bathroom, it also removes the opportunity to use mealtime as a training tool.
Dogs learn from repetition, so don’t be discouraged if your dog misbehaves just when you thought you had the rules squared away. Most dogs need to have it repeated many times before they can truly incorporate it into their everyday behavior. Dogs will also likely test you now and again to make sure that the same rules apply! As frustrating as this can be, it demonstrates the intelligence of your dog.
When a new dog is added to a home, every dog in the house has to re-establish its ranking within the family pack. So introducing your new dog to other pets in a home is measured by baby steps.
In all cases, avoid rush greetings, especially nose to nose greetings. Please exercise caution and consider reading more material on this matter before proceeding with any introductions.
Before letting dogs have full contact, make sure both are well exercised and somewhat acquainted. Some dogs can play with housemates almost immediately; yet others may take weeks or months before they get to this stage. A casual side-by-side walk is a great way to break the ice and help dogs get used to each other’s appearance, scented body language. If at any point you see their bodies stiffen or the hair on their back rise, call them back to you with a happy confident voice and try again another day.
Dogs feel more secure when they have a predictable routine in place, keep the schedule of the new dog and the establish pets as consistent as possible, especially in the beginning of your new relationship. Remember to give the established pets more attention and exercise when the new dog comes in to the house. Resist the irresistible urge to give the new dog all your love and attention as you could potentially be setting up a grudge between your dogs and create a sense of competition.
Lastly, enroll in an obedience class as soon as you can to help establish your relationship with your dog and to work out your communication style. Your dog will love when you become their competent leader. Consider working towards your Canine Good Citizen Certificate or joining a sport. The bond you will form together will last a lifetime!