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October 15, 2021 4 min read

Photo by Diogo Hungria on Unsplash

Time to focus on the dog, not on you

When you bring a new dog home, there are some adjustments for both you and the dog to get used to each other.

Here are some tips on how to settle your new friend into the household and build a fantastic and lasting bond that is based on trust!

1. Getting used to their new home

Unfortunately, with any shelter dog, we sometimes have limited information on the dog’s history and anything that it may have been exposed to in the past.

Give your dog some time to settle into its new home and make sure that you provide it with a safe place to settle and relax.

Sometimes dogs find it hard to settle once they arrive at their new home and, as a result, they may be a little unwilling to eat.

Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t eat for 24 hours or sometimes more, it can take time for them to feel comfortable enough.

Remember that your new dog may need some time to settle in. Don’t touch your new dog or approach them.

Give the dog some space and don’t force interaction. If your new dog is a little shy, giving it time to relax and approach you in its own time is much more successful than forcing it to interact.

Likewise, if your dog is very exuberant, only offering attention when it is calm will help build a good foundation for the right type of behaviour.

2. Setting the rules

Have a family meeting and set some house rules for your new dog.

Where is it allowed to be and where is it not? Who will feed it? Where will it sleep?

All of these things are important in helping the dog settle in. Make sure that you stick to these rules.

It is very important that we set the right foundation for how we want the dog to behave throughout its life. It’s not fair for the dog if we change the rules once it has already ‘settled in’.

Rewarding the dog when it abides by these rules will make it worthwhile for the dog to continue obeying them. What we are trying to teach the dog is that polite, calm and patient behaviour results in plenty of attention and whatever else it wants.

This will make the positive behaviour stronger. Temporary fencing, such as baby gates and playpens, can help prevent the dog from getting somewhere it shouldn’t.

3. Socialisation and training

Socialisation is not just important for puppies. Once your dog has had at least a week to settle into life with you, it’s a good idea to take it out and about to socialise with its surroundings.

Expose the dog to as many things as you can and try and keep the interaction as positive and enjoyable as possible. Take some treats with you and reward the dog for behaving appropriately in any situation, such as around other dogs, people, kids, crowds, or machinery, and the list goes on. This will help you develop a confident, well-adjusted dog.

Treats can also be handy to distract your dog or provide positive connotations in what may feel like a scary or risky situation to your pup.

For example, does your dog bark at the windscreen wipers?

When you get in the car, get out treats and play with your dog as you turn on the windscreen wipers. As long as you receive good behaviour — playing, calm and no barking at the wipers — you keep rewarding.

As soon as there is a bark and attention is on the wipers, if you can’t distract anymore, you stop giving treats. That way this behaviour isn’t reinforced. But once attention comes back to you and the treats and the wipers are forgotten, reward your pup for their good behaviour.

Once again, remember to do this all at your dog’s pace. The key to socialisation is that the dog is comfortable and taking it all in its stride. Use some nice tasty rewards to show the dog just how good all of these things are!

4. Start training!

Never assume that a dog has pre-taught behaviours. Make sure you train the behaviours you want the dog to exhibit. And every dog should learn basic behaviours like sit, down, stay, recall or come and to shake or have their paws handled.

It is also important that you do not allow the dog to practice unacceptable behaviours.

Obedience training classes are the best for this, so find a reputable trainer in your area and go along. They’re also a great occasion for meeting some new people!

In Summary

If you’re thinking about getting a new dog, the process can seem daunting. But with some careful planning and training, your furry friend will be an important part of your family in no time!

You want to make sure that they are happy and well socialized so take them on walks around different environments (so they don’t get scared) and teach them basic commands like sit, stay or come when called.

And remember- it’s all about setting clear boundaries from day one as this is crucial for their behaviour later on down the line.

Once you have these basics under control, look into some obedience classes where you’ll learn more advanced tricks as well as meet other pet owners who might become good friends, it’s a win-win! But most of all, your pup will be happy at home, and you will too.

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