Dec 16, 2018
Acclimating a new dog to your home can take as long as two months, so be sure you’re in it for the long haul. And remember, your new family member doesn’t understand what you’re saying. He learns what is and isn’t allowed from how you behave, your tone of voice, what rules you set, and all of the nonverbal cues you give him.
Here are 7 tips the Humane Society recommend to acclimate your new dog to your home:
These include a food and water bowl, a leash, age-appropriate food (don’t give a puppy adult dog food) and treats, a collar and ID tag, and a crate if you plan on crate training. It’s also a good idea to have a few toys ready for him.
You have to decide who will take care of feedings and who will take him for daily walks. Decide ahead of time what your dog is allowed to do, and what’s not permitted, and be consistent. For example, are you going to let him up on furniture, and if so, in what rooms? Where will he sleep?
Housebreaking your new dog is actually easier than you might
think—all it takes is patience and consistency. Be prepared for
accidents—again, remember that your dog doesn’t understand the
rules until you teach them to him. Establish a consistent
schedule for feeding your dog and taking him outside to
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If you bring home a puppy, he’ll have to go more often; plan on taking him out every two hours. Always take him to the same place in the yard (he’ll know from scent what you want him to do).
When he has an accident, interrupt him if you catch him in the act. Make a startling noise, or simply say “outside,” but be sure not to frighten him. Immediately take him to his outside “go location.” Above all, don’t ever punish your dog for having an accident, and always reward him for getting it right.
Even dogs adopted from reputable breeders and shelters are prone to diseases, so he has to have his shots as soon as possible if he doesn’t already have them. Take him to a vet to receive all his vaccinations. It’s also important to spay or neuter your dog. The best age to spay or neuter is from 6 to 9 months.
Many new owners don’t want to crate their dogs
because they think it’s cruel. Actually, dogs in the wild live in
dens, so to your dog the crate represents safety and helps him
relax. Be sure the crate is the right size (check with your vet)
and doesn’t have dangerous wires where he could catch his claws or
hurt himself. Generally, you don’t want to crate your dog for more
than a few hours each day, and always at the same time
It’s important for dogs to be submissive to their owners. Dogs are pack animals and will be calmer and less anxious if they know from the outset that you set the rules. It’s important to be assertive, letting him know clearly and consistently what the rules and boundaries are, but equally important to always remain calm. When he makes a mistake, convey your disapproval in a firm but calm tone. When he behaves properly, give him positive reinforcement in the form of praise and a treat.
Dogs have a lot of pent up energy, especially when they’re young. A regular schedule of exercise is critical to his physical and emotional health. Take him for walks, give him a place where he can run free, and play active games with him.
If this is your first dog, you might be a little anxious and concerned that you'll make mistakes. The truth is, you probably will, but if you follow the steps outlined here, stay calm and provide your dog with love, structure and discipline, he'll be happy, and so will you.
If you have questions, you can always check with your vet who will be happy to listen and give you good advice. Here at South Boston Animal Hospital, we're always willing to help you forge a great relationship with your dog and keep him as healthy as possible. If you have questions or need helpful advice, contact us today.