The First Two Weeks With Your New Pal
Congratulations on the new addition to your family!
What happens now? What should you expect?
Here are some tips and tricks to making the transition an easy one for you and your new family member.
The first few days in your home are special and critical for a pet. With a little work and some planning, your new dog will be a well-behaved companion for years to come. It is important from day one that you set up a clear structure for your family and dog, so that he knows what is expected of him.
This can start before you bring your dog home:
- Dog proof any area where your dog will spend most of their time, always set them up to win. This may include removing breakables, rugs and plants, taping up electrical cords, installing baby gates.
- If you plan on crate training your dog, have the crate set-up and ready to go for when you bring your new dog home.
- Training your dog will begin the moment you have him. Take time to discuss with everyone what commands you will use when giving the dog directions. This will help prevent confusion and help your dog learn faster. Consistency is key.
- Bring an ID tag with your details on it with you when you pick up your dog so that he has some form of identification on him for extra safety.
You’ve picked your new pal up! Time to make the transition into your family smooth:
- Teach your new pal the rules from the start, show him what you expect and want from him. When you arrive home, your dog may be a little confused and unsure of the situation – change can be stressful. Don’t get upset if he doesn’t respond immediately, reward him when he does what you want him to do, he will learn faster this way. If he makes a mistake, ignore it, he doesn’t understand what is right yet.
You may want to give your new pal a few days to settle before imposing strict rules and boundaries. While you mean well, delaying this process any longer than that may actually hinder his learning in the long run and confuse him more. For example, if you don’t want him on the couch, don’t let him on the couch for the first couple of weeks, and then suddenly tell him off when you decide he should follow the rules now that’s he’s settled in. He will not understand why things have changed.
- Try not to overwhelm your new pal with too much activity during the initial adjustment period (adjustment period will vary from dog to dog and could be anything from one week, to one month). It is best for your dog to spend the first couple of weeks quietly settling in and getting to know you with brief and frequent outings to continue the socialisation process. To begin with, limit introductions to just a few visitors at a time. If your dog has time to become familiar with you and your home surroundings, he will be more confident when setting out on adventures.
- Keep your new pal either safely confined with appropriate chew toys to keep him mentally stimulated, or supervised at all times. This is the best way to keep your pal out of trouble in the early days. If you are vigilant about supervising your dog and showing him what you expect, your dog will learn to settle quietly, to chew only appropriate toys and become trustworthy in your absence.
Follow this guide for at least the first two weeks with your new pal, some dogs may take longer to adjust so be patient.
- DO immediately show your dog where their toilet area is.
- DO feed your dog out of a hollow Kong or other treat toy and snacks throughout the day. Also use part of your dog’s daily food while on walks, during training or when meeting new people.
- DO confine your dog to their safe area when they can’t be supervised
- DO provide plenty of appropriate chew toys to keep your dog busy. Redirect any chewing mistakes to an acceptable alternative.
- DO introduce your dog to new people and other pets gradually so you don’t overwhelm him. Use treats to help form a positive association to new people. Be sure he has access to his safe place for when he needs a break.
- DO enroll in obedience classes right away! This will help you understand how your dog learns and build that bond.
- DON’T allow your dog free run of your house straight away.
- DON’T take your dog off-leash in public until you have a strong positive relationship with him.
- DON’T feed your dog out of a bowl; all food should come either from a treat toy (Kong) or from somebody’s hand.
Love Has No Age Limit by Patricia McConnell – http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/store/Love-Has-No-Age-Limit.html, https://www.amazon.com.au/Love-Has-Age-Limit-Welcoming-ebook/dp/B005PZFVNQ