Ten Things To Do Before Bringing Home a New Dog
1. Stock Up On Supplies
Your new pal wonâ€™t need muchâ€”the Burberry overcoat and crystal tiara are optionalâ€”but essentials include food and water bowls, safe chew toys, grooming tools, a collar and leash, an identification tag and a crate with bedding (towels will do if you donâ€™t want to spend money on a fancy crate pad). When it comes to food, try to buy the same brand heâ€™s already eating. If you want to change foods, make the switch gradually, mixing old food with new, over a period of a few weeks.
2. Divvy Up Responsibilities
To avoid conflict when Princess has to go out at 7:00 A.M., powwow with members of your household about who is going to be responsible for what. Who will walk the dog at various times of times of day? Who will feed the dog? Who will take the dog to the vet? And if itâ€™s you who winds up walking her in the middle of a rainy night, slap on a smile and rememberâ€”pet parenting is a privilege, not a chore!
3. Establish House Rules
Before poochie comes home, decide things such as: Is she allowed on the furniture? Will we ever give her â€œpeopleâ€ food? What behaviors are encouraged, and which are forbidden? Consistency is the key to training dogs, so make sure everyone will stick to enforcing the new system.
4. Be Consistent in Training
Dogs can get confused when one human says â€œdownâ€ and another says â€œoffâ€ when, for example, they jump on visitors. Then thereâ€™s â€œdownâ€ versus â€œlie down,â€ and â€œpawâ€ versus â€œshakeâ€â€”surely you see how this is perplexing to another species! Do Fido a favor and be consistent with the terms you plan to associate with various commands. Better yet, write out a vocabulary list of the words that everyone will use!
5. Dog-proof Your Pupâ€™s Environment
Tuck electrical cords out of the way, install safety latches in lower kitchen cabinets, etc. Make sure items that are dangerous to ingestâ€”like childrenâ€™s toys and chemicalsâ€”are off floor level. Some people find it helps to get down on the floor for a dogâ€™s-eye view of every room to see what might tempt a curious canine.
6. Learn Some Handy Housetraining Tips
If your new pooch is not yet housetrained, determine where his indoor â€œpotty spotâ€ will be. Figure out your plan to housetrain him, and coordinate with the entire household.
7. Consider a Crate
Crates often give dogs a sense of security by offering them a place that is all their own. Providing your new pooch with her own safe and secure spot will help her adjust more quickly.
8. Make it Legal
Find out about your communityâ€™s dog licensing rules and apply for a license. This information can usually be found by visiting your stateâ€™s department of agriculture website. You can also ask your local shelter for information about the rules.
9. Make a Vet Appointment
If you donâ€™t already have one, find a good veterinarianâ€”and bring your new canine to a caring veterinarian for a wellness exam within one week after adoption. Make this first appointment even before you bring home your new pup.
10. Combat Sibling Rivalry
This oneâ€™s for folks who already have a dog in the home. Before you introduce the new hound into the pack, pick up anything your resident dog might guard, such as food bowls, bones, toys and beds. Even if your dog has never exhibited possessive tendencies, it is best to exercise caution. This may be an intense experience for your resident canine, so do be patient with her.