If quarantine has given you the unique opportunity to bring a new furry friend home, you can look forward to hours of entertainment and unconditional love from them. Training begins the moment you bring your new dog or puppy home. Your new family member will probably be confused about their new surroundings, so having structure helps them transition into this new phase. It can take weeks before a dog or puppy reveals their true personality (this is often the case with rescue animals who have been through lots of change), so it’s doubly important you provide stability and routine for them.
1. Make sure everyone is the family is on the same page when it comes to training, like using the same words (e.g., one person using ‘sit’ while someone else uses ‘down’ for the same command might slow down the training).
2. Have a safe spot for your new pup that’s just theirs. Crates are perfect safe spots for dogs. Make it comfortable with a toy, blanket, and a treat to encourage them to use it. Don’t use the crate as punishment or your pup will never use it as a spot for comfort.
3. Give your dog alone time. These are unusual times and chances are you’ll be returning to work in the next month or two. If your new pet is used to your presence every hour of every day, they’re going to feel down when you’re abruptly gone for hours at a time. Minimize separation anxiety by giving them alone time regularly even while you’re home. This can be setting them up in another room with a Kong or other treat and closing the door, or you can clean your car or garage while your pup stays inside for a few hours. Better yet, take your dog to dog daycare so they can socialize with other dogs while you tackle your errands or work from home. Check out our Facebook page for details on our own dog daycare options.
4. Lots of families took in second or third dogs over these past two months. Ideally the new dog would be introduced to the resident dog(s) on neutral territory and on walks with enough distance between them so that they focus on the walk and not on each other. If an owner doesn’t know this, though, and lets the new dog walk into the home or yard, the resident dogs might feel territorial, which can lead to tensions. If you’re experiencing any tension, it’s best to separate them and try taking them on walks together (again, with enough distance that they don’t stare at each other).
5. Keep a consistent routine for your new pup. Feed them at the same time and take them outside within 15-20 minutes of eating so they can learn where to relieve themselves. Give them praise when they do, so they know they’re doing the right thing. Don’t be surprised if even an older housetrained dog has an accident or two—it can take weeks to acclimate and they need your guidance. Have regular play time, training time, and alone time for them so they start to understand what daily life with you is like.
6. Take them to the vet for a check-up and make sure all their vaccines are up-to-date. Your vet will recommend which vaccines your dog should have and will recommend heartworm and flea preventatives. Many vet practices are open and have protocol in place to keep you safe from COVID-19.
7. Schedule dog or puppy training so that your new pup (and you) learn manners and expectations with positive reinforcement. Your new pup wants to please you and training is the perfect medium to tell him or her how to do just that. We can help with that, by the way. We’re enrolling for dog and puppy training beginning Friday, May 15th, 2020.
Giving your dog structure and comfort in this new phase of their life will make it much more enjoyable for everyone. We hope to see you at class or at daycare! Enrollment inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org now or call 248-427-8245 beginning Friday, May 15th when we re-open for business.