8 Essential Steps To Bringing A New Dog Into The Home
Although the not-so-fun parts of getting a dog, the responsibility and preparation parts are unavoidable for making a stress-free environment for the dog and helping him, and the entire family, adapt quickly to new household arrangements.
Here are 8 essential steps to follow before and while introducing a dog into your home, from stocking up on supplies to emotional preparations.
Before the dog arrives...
Make sure all household members are on the same page about a new pet
If your dog is going to live with more people than just you, everyone must be on board with a new responsibility.
Also, make sure it’s clear who is the primary caregiver. In other words, establish who will take the dog to the vet in emergencies, and who will be responsible for the grooming and buying food. Dividing obligations will help everyone know what they are supposed to do and, most importantly, avoid chances of leaving the dog neglected. The kids can be included too; for example, they can be responsible for walks, playtime, even bathing.
Get the necessary supplies in advance
Although you can always buy doggy supplies whenever you need them, there’s no harm in being prepared beforehand. In fact, once the dog is home, you’ll probably be too busy playing with it and enjoying pet parenthood. Here are some of the essential supplies and accessories to look for when getting a new dog:
- A good quality bed (the size will depend on the dog’s breed or whether it's a puppy or an adult dog)
- Dog kibble, wet food, and treats - bulk buying food is a cheaper and practical option, as it can be kept fresh for a long time. Don’t stock up all of your shelves with just one brand, though, as your dog may not like what you’ve chosen, so experiment in the beginning until you find the perfect match.
- Grooming supplies (dog brush/comb, dog shampoo, etc.)
- A sturdy carrier
- Feeding and water bowls, leashes and collars - make sure you have at least one extra of these
- Interactive toys and accessories
If all of this sounds too overwhelming moneywise, there are second-hand items like beds, collars, bowls, carriers you can get for a good bargain online, or even free as a giveaway solution.
- Dog-proof your house
It will take a while before your new pooch gets used to the new surroundings, especially if it’s a puppy. What’s more, all the sharp edges, steep staircases, cleaning products can be a health hazard for a small pup. Go around the house and adapt anything that may cause accidental falling, injuring, or poisoning.
A safe solution can be a puppy playpen, a great and cheap option for giving some space for the dog to move freely, without getting into harmful situations.
- Ask around for a good vet
Every dog needs to have regular yearly vet checkups and vaccination, so finding a good and trustworthy vet clinic is at the top of the priority list. Some pet parents opt for clinics in the neighborhood that are close enough to get to in case of emergency. However, you may want to check out other local clinics, as closeness isn’t always the best factor in making this decision. The quickest way to find a reliable veterinarian is by word of mouth from other pet parents.
After the dog is home…
- Remain calm and under control
As exciting as it is, welcoming a dog into a new home should be a relaxing process, kept under control. This is because your dog is going through a stressful event, as you’ve just taken it from a familiar and safe place into a completely new and, in its view, potentially dangerous environment. The first time your new dog enters the house should be on a leash, handled with patience and understanding. Let the dog move around the house only after you go first. Don’t make a lot of fuss about his arrival and avoid letting him snoop around and sniff on its own. The more you step up as his guide, the easier it will be later to train him and handle his behavior.
- Make a tour around the neighborhood
Dogs, especially puppies, can get really upset when in new and uncomfortable situations. If you notice your pooch getting restless and anxious the first time you bring it home, try the good old tiring out method.
Going for a walk around the neighborhood will not only eliminate the excess energy and stress but also give her a chance to familiarize herself with the new smells and sights in her new living area.
- Don’t mess up the first encounter with other pets
If you’re a multi-pet parent, the first time you introduce your new dog to your existing pets will very much determine the course of their relationship. With pets like rabbits, chinchillas, and other small mammals things can get tricky as your pets will need assistance in getting used to a new furry playmate. Being natural enemies, dogs and rabbits, for instance, need to be introduced slowly, on several occasions. Always keep rabbits safely enclosed in a rabbit hutch or a cage when keeping it around a dog, as both animals can get too excited and accidentally get injured.
The first time your dog enters your home shouldn’t be the day he meets new pets, as it can all be too overwhelming. Ensure that your pets live, sleep and eat in separate areas before they bond, as they can get unnecessarily territorial and dominant.
Establish ground rules from the beginning
The only way we can properly communicate with our dogs is through teaching commands and training. The moment your dog enters your house is the moment the obedience training starts. No matter how adorably curious he may appear, don’t let the dog take up all the house space. Prepare for a lot of begging, whining, and paw-tapping as dogs will do anything to get their way, but the sooner you put your foot down, the faster your dog will learn how to behave indoors.