Bringing home a new dog is an exciting time! It's also a time of change, for both your existing family members as well as your new dog. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and find your new dog, or yourself, quickly overwhelmed. Follow these tips for a successful, stress-free start that will lead to a lifetime of happiness with your new dog.
1. Give it time
Your new dog is experiencing a lot of changes, it can take some time for them to adjust. In fact, you may not see your dog's true personality for several weeks, or even months, after bringing them home. Be patient and understanding with your dog during this time as they acclimate to their new surroundings and life.
2. Establish a routine Try to feed and walk your dog at roughly the same times daily. Establishing a routine will help your dog adjust and feel secure.
3. Training starts now Your new dog is constantly learning, so training starts the moment you bring them home. This will help establish boundaries right away and prevent bad habits. Show your dog their bathroom area as soon as you bring them home and give them frequent access to the area. While your dog is not being supervised they should be crated to ensure their safety and prevent accidents or destruction.
Training your dog builds a foundation that allows you to communicate with them and develop a relationship based on mutual trust and understanding. Training sessions should be short and positive, 10 minutes twice a day is sufficient for most dogs.
Sit Hold a small treat in your hand and show it to your dog. Say “Sit”, then slowly move the treat from your dog's nose up and back towards their forehead, causing them to look up as their butt goes down. As soon as they are sitting say “Yes” and reward with the treat. Down With your dog standing, hold a treat in front of their nose. Say “Down”, then slowly move the treat to the floor between their front paws. When your dog bows their head down, slowly move the treat back towards their chest slightly to prompt their rear to go down. Say “Yes” and release treat. Stay With your dog in a sit or down show them your open hand and say “Stay” before taking a small step backwards, maintaining eye contact as you do. Immediately move forward and reward your dog, then release by saying “Ok” and tossing a treat on the ground. Gradually add distance as you practice. Come when called Toss a treat to get your dog a small distance from you, then quickly run several steps backwards while excitedly calling your dog. Once they are on their way to you say “Come” and reward them when they get to you. Slowly add distance and distractions. Loose Leash Walking Show your dog where you want them to walk by holding a treat in front of their nose as they stand at your side. Say “Let's Go” and move forward 3 steps . Say “Yes”, stop and reward. Slowly add more steps between rewards.
When you encounter an unwanted behavior with your dog teach them what you want them to do instead of focusing on what they're doing wrong.
Jumping Immediately withdraw all attention from your dog, crossing your arms and looking away from them. Tell them to sit if they know how, otherwise ignore them completely until their paws are back on the ground. Repeat every time they jump until the behavior stops. Consistency is important, even negative attention will act as a reinforcement for jumping. Barking While your dog is barking, say “Quiet” then stand quietly and calmly until your dog pauses. Immediately say “Yes” and reward.
The “Say Please” program (also known as “Nothing in Life is Free” and “Learn to Earn”)is a simple, effective way to teach your dog that good manners while establishing your role as a kind but strong leader. The premise is simple; in order for your dog to receive something they want (toys, treats, getting on the couch, etc.),they must first “say please” by sitting. This simple routine can transform your dog's overall behavior and both treats and prevents a variety of different issues.
Your dog's crate should be the the appropriate size; Big enough to stand up and turn around but not big enough for them to play or walk around in. Accidents are much more likely to occur in a crate that is too large, especially with puppies. Create positive associations with the crate. Leave the door open at first while your dog gets used to their crate. Place their bowls inside the crate at mealtimes and toss treats inside throughout the day to encourage them to enter and spend time in the crate. Begin saying “Go to bed” as you toss a treat in a sweeping/pointing motion into the crate. Your dog will soon catch on and you'll be able to send them into their crate on command. When your dog is comfortable spending time in their crate with the door open, begin closing the door. Start with simply closing the door, then immediately opening it and giving your dog a treat while they are still in the crate. Don't get excited or make a big deal out of opening the crate door. Repeat often, gradually increasing the amount of time you leave the door closed. Give your dog their favorite sturdy chew toy such as a stuffed Kong to help keep them entertained and relaxed during longer stays in the crate.
Dogs and Kids Don't rush introductions. It may take several days or even several months to integrate your new dog into your existing family. Instruct children ahead of time how to greet and interact with your new dog. Explain to them that it is important to stay calm and quiet while meeting the new dog. Do not allow children to restrain, hug, kiss, or climb on the dog at any time no matter how well the dog seems to deal with it. Remember, ALL dogs are capable of biting. Familiarize yourself with canine body language and intervene when you notice the dog is uncomfortable. Encourage kids to be involved with training. Training is a great way to teach your new dog to respect younger members of the family.