Follow these tips to give your new dog a smooth transition into his furever family!
- Supervision. This is one of my biggest tips for successful transitions! Fido cannot spend half an hour chewing your antique chair if you're right there to redirect him to a bully stick before he starts chomping.
- Boundaries. Too much freedom too soon results in doggy mistakes, messes, frustration, and bad habits. Confine him to an area with hard surface flooring (such as tile, laminate, or hard wood) for the first several weeks. It should be large enough for him to move around comfortably, but small enough for you to keep clean and dog-proofed. Walk-through baby gates work great to section off a portion of the house!
- Food puzzles. Plan to feed at least one meal a day via a Kong, Busy Buddy Barnacle, Slo-Bowl or other food dispensing toy. Eating from a bowl is boring for dogs and leaves them with plenty of energy but no legal outlet for it.
- Time to Decompress. Your dog needs some time to adjust to his new surroundings and home. Hold off introducing new human and dogs friends for at least two weeks. And please don't take him to the pet store or dog park--there'll be time for fun events later!
If you've rescued a dog from a shelter, this is especially important as they have a LOT of stress hormones built up from living in a shelter environment.
NOTE: puppies are a a bit of a exception. Controlled, low-key introductions to one or two people at a time is very important.
- Housetraining Alarms. Remembering to take the dog out is one of the biggest housetraining struggles people face. The alarm function on your phone or Alexa virtually eliminates this problem. Set it for every two hours for adult dogs, and you'll be well on your way to housetraining victory.
- Housetraining Audience. Go outside with your dog to make sure he goes and then reward him for it with three small treats.
- Chews. Good house manners include knowing what is legal to chew. Before bringing him home, purchase several intentionally consumable chews (bully sticks, cow tails, and No-Hide are my favorites). Rotate these every few days to keep his interest. Remember to supervise, supervise, supervise to ensure he's chewing them safely and appropriately.
- Begin crate training. This is so important! Even if you don't plan to use a crate long-term, crates are usually a must for safety and sanity while transitioning a new dog. Check out the Dog Guy's video series for how-to.
BONUS Tip #9: if your dog begins to have behavior problems, please contact a qualified, reward-based professional dog trainer right away. The sooner the behavior is addressed, the less time he has to build bad habits.
We're happy to help or refer you to a trusted local colleague!