Getting a new pet is such a wonderful and exciting time for just about everyone! As soon as we’ve signed the adoption papers, we’re ready to release our new fur babies into our homes without a care in the world. This is where a lot of owners make mistakes; we’re so overjoyed with the idea of having our new dog that we forget how to properly invite them inside. This can lead to months and months of frustration and difficulty. Your dog needs an outline of rules, boundaries, and the dynamics of their new home no matter what age they are.
Take Your New Dog for a Walk or Run
There’s a few different reasons why you don’t want to head straight home after you’ve got your new pup. The first being that this is an incredibly exhilarating for both of you; you’ve got a new companion, and your dog is likely very happy to be out of a shelter exploring the world. If you bring this excitement into your home, it quickly turns into chaos and destruction. Give your dog an hour to an hour and a half to use the bathroom, and walk with them on a leash.
You need to use this time to establish leadership while exerting their physical and mental energy, and the best way to do this is through the power of the leash. Jogging or walking with the lead allows you to give your dog non-verbal direction and set the pace. Afterward, your new pup will be far more likely to listen to commands and respect your authority in the home. This also prevents them from urinating, also known as “marking,” all over your carpets and furniture.
Enter Your Home Calmly
Your pet is probably pretty tired after expressing all that momentum, but coming inside their new place will still put a little pep in their step. This is fine, just keep them on the leash and walk them through each room slowly. Don’t talk to your dog in high pitch voices, and only speak when you need to correct them, or give them praise for good behavior. If they already know how to follow commands like sit and stay, now is a good time to use them! The idea is to create an understanding that they’re welcome, they just need follow the rules.
Set Clear Boundaries Right Away
Two of the biggest reasons people return pets or give them back to shelters is because they don’t get along with other pets, and they’re destroying the house. Even if it’s a puppy, inappropriate behaviors such as jumping on counter tops, begging for food, and using the restroom in the home needs to be addressed right away. When your dog acts up or uses the restroom in the house, tell them “no” firmly and take them outside. They’ll understand that this isn’t tolerated inside, and that if they want to be indoors with the family they have to respect the boundaries.
Avoid Conflict with Other Dogs in the Home
Aside from irreconcilable differences, most of the time introducing a new dog to the others is pretty easy. Just remember, your current longtime pet may not take to the new dog right away, and you need to step in at the first sign of trouble. If your current dog interferes with your new one having a chance to drink from a water bowl or eat their own food, there’s a good chance you’ll have a fight on your hands. For the first few weeks you should monitor their feedings until they become acclimated to one another, even if they get along. It’s best to keep them separated when you aren’t home until you’re 100% sure that there won’t be any problems.
Keep Trashcans Out of Reach
Although we would like to believe that we can just leave the house, trusting our dogs not to stick their noses where they don’t belong, it happens. Sometimes we have extremely well-behaved dogs that don’t really get into things, but when you bring a new canine into the mix and house dynamics change while the owner is away. If you have a new puppy, every new kind of scent and food is up for grabs, and all they want is to try whatever you’re having. Keep your trashcan inside of a sink cabinet or gate the kitchen area so your dogs can’t make their way in.
Establish What Belongs to Them, and What Belongs to You
Remember when you gave them the tour earlier in their homecoming? Well, your dog needs to know which of those rooms is off limits. If not, they’ll run on in and take whatever they like; this means chewing on shoes, peeing on beds, and hiding their toys in your closet. Be sure that you shut the door or find a way to block off any area of the house that you don’t want them snooping around in. Dogs are very curious creatures, their goal in life is to travel places unknown, and this includes every corner of the home.
Create Your Daily Routine
Your dog needs a schedule, this is absolutely crucial during the beginning stages of getting to know each other. Designate a time in the morning set just for using the restroom, and taking an hour to go for a walk or a run. After your dog has cooled off, then you can feed them their morning meal. Perform the same ritual during the evening and be consistent about it throughout your dog’s life. You don’t have to stick to this schedule specifically, do whatever works best for you and your new pet. However, they do need to be let out to use the bathroom at least twice a day; feeding may depend on when your dog actually chooses to eat. As we all know, some pets are picky about when and what they’re fed.
Once They’ve Adjusted, Give Your Dog a Little More Freedom
While your dog does need structure and leadership, it’s okay to loosen up the ties once they’re used to living with you. In order for them to trust you, they need to know that the trust is mutual. Your dog wants to please you, and at some point you’ve got to at least give them a chance to prove that they can do a good job. Don’t be afraid to let them cuddle with you on the bed every now and then either. As they get older, they start to understand more about you and the things that you like and dislike. Dogs truly are man’s best friend, and you’ll be happy you spent the extra time spoiling them.
Consider Adding a Doggie Door
It’s good to be protective over your pet and their safety, but a dog door lets your dog move around with more convenience. Instead of waiting all day for you to get home from work, they just walk on outside on their own and hand their business. If they get bored and need a little more sunshine, they’re able to do so without bothering you to let them go. We don’t all have a house with a yard, but if you do, a dog door definitely makes a big difference.
Patience is the Key
Just like a new child, a dog needs time to learn and test their limits. They won’t understand how everything works in the beginning, so expect your dog to make a few mistakes along the way. As long as you remain consistent with the rules of your house and your daily routine, your dog will settle right in. If you’ve brought home a puppy, remember that they haven’t experienced as much of life as an older dog has. An older dog understands that human beings are the ones who provide them with food, shelter, water, and protection from the outside world. All a puppy knows is that they’re in a whole new world, and they’re ready for the magic carpet ride! Whatever you do, don’t give up.
Before you decide your dog is just an unruly little monster, ask yourself what you could be doing wrong as the owner. Bad behavior is often just a result of a pet who is frustrated, confused, or just doesn’t have a clear, consistent outline for their rules. When things start to get out of hand, you can always hire a trainer to help you work out the kinks. Every dog is different, and you may just need to approach the situation from a different perspective. There is always something that can be done as long as you stay involved with their training. You can use treats as a form of positive reinforcement, all dogs respond to food. Just be sure to stick to their treats, and don’t start giving them scrap from the table, no matter how much they stare right at you with those giant, adorable eyes!