You've Adopted A Dog....now what?

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO HELP MAKE THE TRANSITION A SUCCESS


THE FIRST DAY

Before entering your home, walk your dog on a leash outside your house, or the apartment building so that he can take in the smell of the turf and relieve herself. Always praise warmly when she relieves himself in an approved spot. 

Next, enter the home. To establish yourself as pack leader, remember to exude calm, assertive energy, ensuring you walk through every door first before inviting your dog. Keep your dog on leash when showing him around the home, and avoid speaking or making direct eye contact. Your dog will be overwhelmed and the less stimulation, the better. If he lifts his leg, give him a quick leash correction and tell him "No" to disrupt the action, and then take him outside immediately.

Introduction of your dog to all members of the family should be carried out on lead/leash.

DOG PROOF YOUR HOME because given the chance, most dogs will dash out from a new home!  Instruct every family member to ensure all doors (front, back, patio, screen, garage, backyard) are closed properly all the time, never left ajar.

  • Pick up children’s toys
  • Move food/medication from counter
  • Move all precious & breakable items
  • Remove frayed electrical cords
  • Remove anti-freeze and gasoline in your garage/driveway can be hazardous.

Introducing your new dog to other dogs should be done gradually and calmly and done on a neutral territory.  Prior to the introduction, leash-walk the new dog outside. Then bring out the other dog(s) on leash, making sure you are relaxed. Make the meeting fun with a walk together and some treats.

Using a leash indoors during transition for the first couple of weeks is a great idea. Leave a leash attached to the dog's buckle collar (not prong or choker) while indoors with you, so you can correct him/her immediately if necessary. Timing is everything. Correct immediately when an unacceptable behaviour occurs, not afterwards, then praise enthusiastically when your dog modifies her behaviour.  When you leave your dog alone, remember to remove the leash for safety reasons. It may take a few weeks before you can train and trust your dog with free run of the house. Until then, when you cannot supervise her, confine her in a cozy and safe place such as a crate or baby-gated area. You should not crate your dog longer than 4-hour intervals during the day.

Setting up a routine for your dog is key: Your dog will be excited and anxious about his new home. Don't be surprised with panting and pacing, house training accidents, excessive drinking or chewing, or gastric upset in the first few days. A consistent routine of feeding, exercising, and potty time will help your dog adjust much faster. Spend 10 - 15 minutes of quality time alone with your dog each day - play, cuddle brush, massage.

Exercise is key because a tired dog is a good dog!  All dogs, whether big or small, need at least one good long walk daily.   Leash-free parks are good for some dogs. Consider hiring a dog walker if you work long hours.  At home, set aside play time too!

Socialization is important. Expose your dog to a variety of situations gradually and under controlled circumstances so she feels at ease with other people and animals.

Separation anxiety: When you first bring your dog home, you should not spend the whole day with her. Instead, have a bed, safe chew toys, and water ready in the confined area in which she will stay when you're out of the house; whether it's a crate or in a gated-off kitchen area. While you are home, take her to that area, tell her to lie down, give her a chew toy and a treat and praise.  Next, step away. If she remains quiet, good; don't talk, because that will distract her from this desired behaviour. Before she begins to grow restless, take her back outside again to play or walk. Return her to the crate, and then go into another room for longer periods. Next, leave the house and come back in right away. Gradually make those trips longer and longer; vary the duration you're out. Your dog will be less anxious as she learns that you will come back. Before you leave your dog for extended periods, exercise her vigorously. Return from the walk & carry on for 20 minutes before leaving the house. When its time, leave the home quietly without making it an ‘event’.