Bringing home a new dog? What you need to know!
Helpful Tips When Bringing Home a New Dog
When I first got Felix, a 2 year old standard poodle, he was a mess. Not only physically being riddled with mats, and smelt to high heaven – but emotionally a wreck as well. Extremely skeptical of us, our resident dog Rue, his new environment, and every sound and smell in the house. I knew he needed time, confidence building, and most of all lots of love and consistency. Bringing a new dog home can sometimes be overwhelming for the family and the new pet, but here’s a few helpful tips to make the transition easier.
Before picking up a new member of the family, have some supplies ready to go. Crate, bowls, leash and collar to name a few. Inquire with the rescue or breeder if they’ll send a small supply of the food they are used to eating home with you can so you can avoid any gastrointestinal upset. When transitioning to a digestible diet like North Winds Premium Superior Select it is always best to mix the old diet with the new gradually over the course of a few days. Having pumpkin on hand is always good, as even just the stress of the moving can cause loose stool. It’s imperative to make sure the pumpkin is not pie filling, you can trust us at Pet’s Plus to have healthy organic pumpkin selections on hand so you can be better prepared!
When introducing a new dog to your pack, take them on a walk together or meet somewhere neutral. Having them meet in an environment where your resident dog may feel like his/her space is being encroached upon (or meeting nose to nose) may cause tension between the two of them. It’s best to take them on a walk where they are under your control, in a neutral environment, that allows them to associate each other with a positive thing! Even our resident dog Rue, who loves all dogs and isn’t protective of anything in the home, can still be an overwhelming ball of energy to dogs like Felix who are initially apprehensive of their new environment. I know Felix appreciated having the opportunity to get acquainted outside instead of being bombarded in the house! Regardless of personality, not cutting corners on this initial meet and greet is imperative. Be prepared to take the proper time to do this as soon as the new member of the family arrives. Also make sure you give them plenty of extra potty breaks the first few days, as they adjust to their new schedule.
After having Felix for over a month, he has made it apparent he’s smart as a whip. He is constantly in tune to what we are doing and watching for any opportunity to jump in and show off his tricks. Huge turn around from when we first brought him home, where he would barely listen to absolutely anything anyone wanted, even the most simple of things (like eat your food.) It’s important to not ask too much of your new dog for a few weeks when you initially bring them home. Let them settle into a routine, and allow them the chance to get used to your families habits, noises, and smells. Going on walks around the neighborhood gives them a chance to get grounded in their new environment. Exercise can also help with stress that may come along with adjusting to a new home. Taking it slow will help them build confidence and instill trust in you that you will keep them safe.
Crate training can be an important safety tool for your new dog. Never use a crate as punishment or a “time-out” zone. If you feed them in their crate, and leave the door open for them to go in and out of while you’re home they will start associating it with a positive and safe place to be. Some dogs feel so comfortable being in a crate they prefer to sleep in one! Offering lots of positive reinforcement that tempts the dog to go in a crate on their own accord instead of physically forcing them is helpful. Allow some extra time to do this each day, instead of just shoving them in quick because you’re running late for work. Being crated when you leave home can help avoid issues like getting into the trash, chewing up furniture or doors, or most importantly anything that could be hazardous to their well being. It can come in handy down the road too, even if you don’t plan on using it at home for forever. A couple of common examples being if you ever visit a friend or a hotel that requires them to be in a crate when you aren’t there. If they are already used to being crated, this avoids a lot of extra stress on your dog when you’re traveling.
When they are crated and not supervised, be cautious of what you leave in there with them so it’s not a choking hazard. However, when you’re home and want to keep them busy and reduce anxiety – chews and interactive toys are an awesome way to achieve that. Chews like North Winds Premium Peak Chasers are long lasting, non staining or splintering chews that are sure to keep your dog’s mind busy and teeth clean. Picking out the right bone for your dog is important as some bones are softer and better for puppies, and some are tougher that will hold up better with a more intense chewer. North Winds Premium offers those and everything in between! Inquire with any of the Pets Plus staff to help guide you to the right selections for your pet. Thunder jackets are another helpful tool. They are like anxiety wraps for animals that uses pressure points to scientifically reduce anxiety. North Winds Premium True Course Full Spectrum Hemp Oil has been a life saver for me over the years with many of my animals. Benefits ranging from pain control to reducing anxiety, it can be administered up to twice daily safely to make you and your pets life a lot more manageable.
Rue and Felix thank me everyday by being the healthiest best dogs they can be, and I know yours will too! Small steps now lead to big change down the road, and the more money you can save from everything from dental to vet bills – the better. We’ll be here for you every step of the way, but let’s get off to a good start!