How to Make Your Newly Adopted Dog Feel at Home

 Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect dog and brought him home! Now what?!

The first step is to build a strong bond by establishing leadership through: routines, rules, consistent schedules and control of resources. This is where we come in as Dog Trainers www.Canine 

Dogs are social animals, continually attempting to define their place within the family. They recognize leadership in their human family when their owners control resources and practice obedience training daily. Contrary to what some people think, establishing leadership has nothing to do with “dominance.” The owner should be in charge, but should not confuse leadership with bullying. Owners should NEVER hit the dog, hold the dog down or turn him over on his back.

Instead, show calm leadership by following two basic rules:

  • Ignore rude demands for attention.
  • Nothing in life is free. He must do something for you before you do something for him (e.g., “Want a treat? Sit.”  “Want your ball? Sit.”  “Want to go out? Sit.”  “Want to eat dinner? Sit” etc.)

Remember, when bringing a dog home from the shelter, in your dog’s mind he has just been separated from the pack. Sometimes he will have a name that is accustomed to hearing while in other cases he will not.  When he first arrives at home he needs to spend the next few days to settle in.

During this critical introductory period, be patient and kind but DO NOT lavish the dog with praise and attention. An attitude by the owners of” kind but firm”   is very comforting and calming to a new dog. Except for a visit to the vet, don’t take him anywhere during the first week. Instead, let him take some time to settle in and learn that this is his new home. Do not invite friends and neighbors over during the first week. Give your dog some time to get to know his new family first.

For the first few days keep him on a 6 foot leash, held in your hand, both inside and outside the home. This will help him bond with you and will aid in the housebreaking process. Keep a sharp eye on him in the house to help prevent housebreaking accidents. Correct him with a verbal “NO” only if you catch him in the act of house soiling. Never take him back to the spot of an accident and scold him. Do not place paper or pads on the floor for elimination. Instead, take the dog out every hour for a 5 minute potty break and praise him when he goes to the bathroom outside. Consider the use of a kennel crate to aid in the housebreaking process and to prevent destructive behavior when you’re not home – these are fairly common problems, especially for young dogs.

Most dogs settle in nicely in a week or two, but if you need more help, or when you’re ready to begin obedience training, give us a call at 214-238-2527 and follow the prompts there.