How to introduce your dog to your home
Adding a new family member to your home is an exciting experience for the whole family. But before you bring your new dog home, there are some things you should think about and plan out. It’s better to be prepared and have everything ready so you can enjoy and train your new dog.
Items to have beforehand
Having items like food, treats, food and water bowls, some toys, a crate, a collar, a leash, and some blankets or plush dog bed can make it easier for you so you aren’t rushing around to find these items and not enjoying your dog after you have brought them home.
Make a Sleeping/Relaxing Area
Have a plan where the dog is going to relax and sleep when you aren’t able to watch them or when you leave the house. This should be a quiet peaceful place where there won’t be distractions like children running around.
Where’s the Potty Area going to be?
What kind of outdoor area do you have for the dog to go potty? Will the dog be able to go potty outside or do you need to get a doggy turf potty (these are mainly used if you live in an apartment on multiple floors and only have a balcony). Remember, you’re going to have to potty train, so you’ll be going inside and outside a lot at first.
Lastly, you should “puppy proof” your home. Cover electrical wires or have them where your dog can’t get to them. Make sure hazardous house cleaners are put in cupboards with child locks (dogs can use their nose to open doors!). Make sure children learn to keep their toys picked up. I would recommend having doors to rooms you don’t want the dog to go into kept closed.
When you have the essentials, you are ready to bring your new pup home!
Keep them leashed when entering the house
When you bring your dog home, have them on a leash as you enter your home. Walk them around with you and let them sniff around to get used to everything. (If you let them off leash, they could go potty somewhere or start tearing up something that they shouldn’t!!) While your pup is learning about your house, you should keep them in one room with you at a time. This will make watching them easier for you and you won’t be running around the house trying to find them, or what they have gotten into!! You can keep them tethered to an area or have gates closing off an area where you can see them. (Most dogs won’t go potty in the area they are resting.)
If you need to walk around the house, you can attach them to you with a leash around your waist. (This will also help with the “Follow Me” command because they will associate being around you as normal.) This will help also when they have gotten accustomed to the house rules and will follow you around the house themselves.
Potty training is the most important thing to start. If you have a puppy, this will be every couple hours since puppies have little bladders and can’t hold themselves very long. This will begin as soon as they get up, after eating, after drinking, after playing, after a nap, before you leave them crated, and before they go to bed at night. It’s important to have a routine so the pup can begin to understand when it’s the correct time to go potty. Accidents will happen, but to remember that they are still learning. Do not punish a dog for going potty inside. This can lead to them being scared to potty in front of you and they can start to hide their pees and poos in places where you won’t find it. This can be a stinky situation!!
Proper Dog Toys
Teaching your dog what their toys are from other household items that aren’t for chewing and tearing up is also important. You wouldn’t want to find that your dog has been chewing on your favorite expensive shoes! Kids should keep their toys picked up so the dog doesn’t get confused and start playing and chewing on your kid’s teddy bear, barbie, or legos. This can lead to ingestion of an item and cause blockage in the dog’s stomach. (Meaning an emergency trip to the vet!!)
Dog’s First Vet Visit
This should happen preferable the first week or so after you bring your pup home. Be sure to check around and ask family and friends about their recommendations. It is very important to establish a veterinary clinic. Your dog is going to be going here for check-ups, vaccines, and when they feel under the weather. Their first visit is usually a wellness exam to make sure they are in top health. (Some breeders and rescues will pay for your first visit!) The veterinarian will go over what vaccines and any health questions you have. They may also recommend foods, places to take your pup like daycares and dog parks when they have been fully vaccinated. They can also recommend training classes.
Your dog may take weeks to get comfortable with their new routine. It’s a lot to learn and remember for them. You wouldn’t expect a baby to know this much in a few weeks!!