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Christmas Puppies: Bringing Your New Dog Home

Christmas Puppies: Bringing Your New Dog Home

December 23, 2013 by Margaret Davis
Categories: Holidays,New Dog,Training,Tips

Now that you’ve chosen your new dog, (if you didn't read part 1: Christmas Puppies: Picking the Right One!, its here) it’s time to bring her home! 

Set Ground Rules

It is time for another family meeting. Dogs thrive on routine and consistency. Your dog needs for her world to be black and white with no grey areas. Decide what your family’s house rules are for your dog before she comes home. Here some points to discuss:

  • Is she allowed on the furniture or will she stay on the floor?

  • Will she be allowed to have table scraps or will she eat strictly dog food?

  • Will she be allowed to jump up on people or not?

  • Will she be housetrained outdoors or to an indoor area?

  • Where will she sleep?

There are no right or wrong answers – just decide your family’s rule. It is not okay for one person to allow the dog on the couch and another to scold the dog for being on the couch. Develop the blueprints for your dog’s routine.

The First 48 Hours

Allow your new dog time to relax and become comfortable with you, your family, and her surroundings. Watch for stress signs. Think of a time when you felt ‘stressed’. Did you like it? Could you learn anything new? Did you just want time to relax and get used to things? These first 48 hours are not the time to visit the dog park or visit the neighbors. Use this time to earn your dog’s trust. Teach her that you understand her body language and are willing to give her time to adjust.
[Podcast: The Language of Stress]

Introduce your Pets

Start the process of scent mingling if you have existing pets at home. Follow these steps:

  1. Rub a towel on all family members hands

  2. Rub the towel on your existing pet, being sure to get some of her saliva on the towel

  3. Rub the towel on your new pet, including saliva

  4. Rub the towel on family members hands

  5. Rub the towel on your existing pet

  6. Brush your pet 

  7. Brush the new pet with the same brush

  8. Brush your first pet with this brush again, to mix the dander of the dogs

Continue this process once a day for at least a week.  This process blends the 'pack' scents. This is how movie animals learn to tolerate each other on movie sets. The idea is to fool the animal in to thinking she knows the new animal already.
[Podcast: Getting a Second Dog

Select a Vet and a Trainer 

Select your dog’s veterinarian and trainer. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian within 48 hours of bringing your new dog home. I recommend that you schedule a lesson with your trainer one week after getting your new dog. (You can also take advantage of our on line classes here: Online Classroom. )

Pick a Dog Food

Put some thought in to what you plan to feed your new dog. Visit www.dogfoodanalysis.com for an informed descision. Find out what your new dog is currently eating so you have some on hand to make food transition easier.

A good rule of thumb for switching food is:

¾ old food with ¼ new for two days,

then ½ and ½ for 2 days,

then ¾ new – ¼ old for 2 days.

This gives your dog’s digestive system time to adjust to the new food.

Get Your New Dog Supplies

Regardless of your personal profession or hobby, you understand that good equipment is important to success.  Here is a list of ‘must have’ items for your new dog:

  • Buckle collar for puppies

  • Martingale or ‘no slip’ collar for older dogs

  • Indoor nylon leash

  • Cotton web long line

  • Six-foot leather training leash

  • Hollow sterilized bones

  • Bitter apple spray

  • Treats

  • Food

  • Bowls

  • Small crate for bedroom

  • Large crate for family living area

  • Dog car seat belt

Love, Trust, and Respect

Make sure that you have at least 48 hours to devote to your new dog when you bring her home. Remember the keys to success are love, trust, and respect.  Think of love as bonding. Be sure to follow the three rules of housetraining your dog as you start your life together:

  1. Keep your dog in the room where you are, in your line of sight dragging a short nylon leash

  2. Clip a cotton web long line to your dog’s collar when you are with her outside

  3. Confine your dog when she cannot be with you

These three rules will address love, trust, and respect with your dog.

Start a training journal for your new dog. It is important to keep track of your goals, issues, and triumphs! You will be spending many years with your new dog. Now is the time to lay the foundation built on love, trust, and respect. Notice anything that your dog does not seem to like. Notice what she does like. Notice what she will sell her soul for! How is she fitting in to those family rules you established? After the first 48 hours do not make excuses for your new dog’s behavior. It is time to train yourself and your dog!

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