Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting a new dog? Create a Calming Environment

Be prepared.  Before bringing your new dog home have the basics already on hand so there are no frantic trips to the store.  Food and water bowls (try to use the food your dog has been eating and you can change foods later if you want) crate and bed, collar and leash, toys and treats for training, and an ID tag.  
Keep it pleasant but low-key at first. For a puppy or dog, being taken to a new home and then deluged with lots of loud, lively strangers can be really overwhelming.  The first day or two, keep the mood mellow and calm.  Set up your dogs crate and bed in a quiet but well used area of your house so they do not feel isolated.  You may want to plan on a quiet weekend at home with your new dog.  
Set a routine. Dogs, like children, love a routine.  Decide on feeding times, house rules, times for a walk, and times for playing.   Be a nice boss, but a boss.  Decide on a walking route that is fairly quiet, without many other dogs and people.  Use this route for the first week or so.  This will help build the bond between you and give you a chance to get to know one another.  
Veterinarian.  Set up an appointment for your new dog to visit the vet for a wellness check.
Introductions. Keep the introductions to a minimum when you first bring your dog home. If you must have people come over to meet the new dog only have one or two people over at a time.  After a week or so (or after your new dog is fully vaccinated) you can allow people and other dogs to meet your new arrival.  
Training.  Start training your new dog using positive reinforcement to teach manners.  For instance, have your dog sit before you pet them, before they get fed, and at the door before going out for a walk or playtime.

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