Introducing a new dog to your family whether its a puppy or an older dog …there are a number of things that you are going to need that will make the transition more successful for all.
Let’s talk about puppies first.
Your puppy is going to be hungry! If they are very young they will need to eat 3-4 times a day. Remember they were allowed to nurse with mom any time they needed to. Most likely you’ll start in the early morning – like 7ish and go until 9 in the evening.
Make your appointment with your vet within the first week
– to get your puppy started out on the right paw and do a general wellness exam. This will help acclimate your dog to visiting their doctor. Even though your puppy may have come with a health certificate – you’ll want to make sure that all is well.
To crate or not to crate?
Crate training will help avoid catastrophes in the night from bathroom accidents to dangers around the house. Remember your puppy is in a brand new environment and their can dangers lurking from fans to electrical cords or chemicals under your skin. The crate will ensure that your puppy is contained. Also! The crate should be placed in the room where you are sleeping. This is the first time your dog is sleeping alone, let them be able to see you and hear you.
Your puppy is teething. Just like a toddler they need soft and hard toys to work on during this process. Make sure they have access to both of those, trust me it will save your shoes, furniture, remote controls and anything else within reach.
Is your dog a digging breed?
Some examples are Aussies, Jack Russell’s, Labs, Huskies, Doodles and others. Digging is natural! Dogs like to cool down on the soil, bury their toys and in general make their own spaces. To keep them from digging up your entire yard, you can create a designated digging area. Fill a small hole with sand and put some toys in there. Each time your dog digs bring them to the digging area.
During the first few weeks you have a few key goals
- Teaching your dog to be alone and entertain themselves, this is partly kennel training (you can use an exercise pen as well). Try leaving them in there for a few minutes while you are nearby, when they can go a few minutes without barking, giving them a treat. You can gradually increase the amount of time that you are away from them as time goes on. This is the perfect time to work on this and help to lower the chances of having a dog with anxiety or isolation distress.
- House training – your puppy needs to go out every time they wake up, 5-10 minutes after they eat, and after a big play. Reward them when they go potty. Give them some time to go, puppies are sponges and they are reacting to all the fun and smelly things out there! If they don’t go, you can go back inside, and wait until they start sniffing – then out again, they are ready to go. Praise + praise!
- Start socializing (but not nose-to-nose or playing with other dogs). Just let them see and hear sounds that are new to them. Sit outside of a playground in your car, take a ride to a restaurant drive though. Pay attention to your puppy, if he/she is scared, it’s okay – take it slowly and go at their pace- you don’t want to force anything.
For an adopted dog that may be a bit older or even a lot older things are similar.
The first couple of weeks should be about creating reliable routines for potty time, eating time, exercise and play time, alone time and sleep time.
Younger dogs will benefit from naps. Keeping your dog’s bed time on a routine will help reduce the zoomies, and restlessness at night.
This is mostly common sense! Teach your kids to respect the dog’s space, and how to approach and play with the pup appropriately. It’s not funny or cute for your child to climb all over your dog or even hug them, (even if they know the dog) it’s just not safe!
Adopting an older dog or bringing home a puppy is a special time, but it is also a stressful for the dog. Everything is new! People, environment and schedules have changed for them. Set everyone up for success by planning ahead for needed supplies and giving them ample time and space to get acclimated and learn the routines of their new family. Those few weeks of adjustment time are nothing compared to a lifetime of relaxed fun – and love that will be yours!
If you need help with this process, feel free to contact Amy Di Piazza of Essential Canines. She is a local, Sarasota dog trainer with multiple years experience.