Bringing home a new puppy
My sister lives in California and is feeling ready to invite a dog into her life. She found this little guy, Ebbie. Here’s a link to his rescue organization.
Anyway, as we were talking I told her the advice I tell all new dog owners. And this applies to you whether you are adopting a rescue dog, a rescue puppy, buying a pet store dog/puppy (but you wouldn’t do that now would you?) or buying from a breeder:
First, bring your dog home and give him a walk around your neighborhood. For a small dog it can be a small dog walk – around 30 minutes. For a larger breed, a larger walk, at minimum an hour, better to be longer. Keep the walk controlled meaning the dog should be at your side or behind you. Remind him of his place as often as necessary, either by a gentle tug on the leash and a correction word/sound, or by stopping in your tracks whenever he starts to pull on the leash. If this doesn’t get his attention then you can start doing left hand turns (turning toward him if he is on your left side) whenever he gets out in front of you. It really doesn’t matter how far you get, just keep walking. This is you laying the ground work for the rest of your relationship with the dog, showing him that his job is to follow you and that you are going to be his leader…don’t skip this part.
After the walk, bring the dog inside and show him the areas of the house that are going to be available to him. It is a good idea to limit access to the whole house until you’ve both gotten to know each other better. After the tour show the pup where his food and water will be and have both bowls filled for him. Leave him there to fill up if necessary, without hovering over him. After he eats or drinks, take him out again to the place you want him to eliminate and see if he has to go.
Then, and this is the most important point of all – Leave him alone.
Really. Don’t fuss over him. Don’t try to show him how much you love him. Don’t try to make up for the bad story of his life. Don’t try to get him to cuddle up with you. Just leave him alone.
But don’t shut him alone in a room! Be around, be available to him. Sit down on the floor and read a book, watch TV, do something other than look at him. If he comes over to you, great! Give him a pet and let him lay next to you but don’t touch him constantly or pull him up onto you. If he crawls onto you, in the first few days, I’d gently push him off. I don’t like my dogs thinking that they can crawl on me – it seems disrespectful. If he prefers to keep his distance, let him be. Most dogs will need about two days to acclimate initially and all dogs really need about two weeks to begin to understand their new schedules. Help the new pup out by keeping to a schedule. If he can predict when things will happen he will be a calmer and happier pup. And keep up with his daily walks, this will help him more than any single thing you can do for him. Walk him daily, in a controlled fashion, for at least an hour at a time. You will be amazed at the results of doing just this.