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What do to when you first bring your new adopted pet home.
Start outside. It may sound simple but this gives your pet some time to assess the new environment and use the bathroom, so there's less chance of an indoor accident on the first night.
Immediately begin enforcing house rules. Includes chewing inappropriate items, jumping, begging, sleeping in your bed, etc. It can be tempting to give your cute new pet a pass during the first few days, but this is a mistake. First impressions are important for building a relationship with your dog, so don't let them get the wrong impression. This isn't about punishment, it's about consistency. Just treat them the same in the beginning as you expect to in the future.
Meeting with other dogs in your home.
We recommend having your dogs meet long before your bring your adoptee home. This should be done in an environment that is neutral for both dogs. There should be plenty of room to move around, but someone should be in control of each dog at all times until you are completely confident. A human representative that each dog trusts should be there to put them at ease. Initial contact should not be directly face to face. Try to prevent over-excitement, and keep an eye out for signs of aggression. This is a lot, but don't worry. Most meetings go over just fine, but we have to take precautions.
Implement a schedule.
We are all creatures of habit. Having a predictable routine can help your pet feel secure and confident. Times for feeding, playing, sleeping, and going to the bathroom outside should be as consistent as possible.
Don't be afraid to use a crate.
At first glance crates may seem like a punishment for dogs, but done right they can be a great thing. A crate is like a den for a dog. It represents a quiet time to rest. Most importantly, it keeps a dog (and your belongings) safe when you can't be around to supervise them.
Now let's tackle the obvious. There's a good chance that an uninitiated dog will not understand the purpose of the crate at first. Most likely they will cry and bark a lot for the first few times. Unless your dog seems to be in distress, it is important to completely ignore them while they are in the crate. Shouting, spanking, using a static collar, or any other reaction to your dogs barking may either validate the behavior, or worse, associate crating with punishment. If unwanted behavior persists, we recommend consulting a professional dog behavior specialist.
Thankfully, there are ways to make the transition period easier. Making the crate extra comfy with a nice bed can help. Reducing distractions can also help, so adding blankets around the crate and making sure the blinds are closed is a good idea. Don't leave your dog in the crate for overly long periods of time, and don't use the crate as a punishment. Lastly, make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom before they are confined. If you do all these things properly, most dogs will come to understand and enjoy the purpose of the crate, and you will have peace of mind.
Keep your dog busy.
Idle dogs go looking for trouble. Taking them on walks, having play time, and keeping toys around helps keep your dog occupied with the right behaviors. Exercise is important and spending time with your dog strengthens the bond between the two of you. Also, knowing what to chew is just as important as knowing what not to chew. Keep that in mind.
One common mistake pet owners make with a well behaved dog is not continuing to train. It's easy to reinforce behavior they already know, but neglecting to do so will result in backsliding. Any dog can be untrained just as easily as it was trained and it's our job as pack leaders to reinforce the behavior we expect from our pups. Dogs are happiest when their role is clear and they are able to fill it.
Bonus fact: The mental stimulation of a training session will tire a dog faster than any physical activity they can do.
Anticipate and prepare for your dog getting loose.
Eventually it will happen, and your dog will get away from you. Hopefully you will be able to quickly regain control of the situation, but not always. We can't cover all the different scenarios in which your dog may get loose, but here are two quick suggestions:
1) Martingale collar. This collar has a special slip that makes the collar tighten as your dog pulls on the lead. Used correctly it should not choke a dog but become tight enough that it can greatly reduce the chances of it slipping over your dogs head. The best feature is that when there's no tension, the collar is relatively loose and comfortable compared to a traditional collar.
2) Microchipping. This inexpensive implant gives your pet a scannable ID number so that any reputable facility that finds your dog can retrieve your information and return them to you. They usually last a lifetime, and your information is safe from people without authorization. A few things to note: You should always keep your contact information associated with the microchip up-to-date, microchips are not tracking devices, and they should not replace standard pet ID tags. Luckily, if you adopt from us your pet will already have a microchip in our name and we will be able to assist if the dog is found.
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