Lockdown was a catalyst for a great number of people deciding to buy or adopt a dog. The more time people spent at home, the more they realized a pet could make their lives better. If you have decided to adopt a dog, whether to give your kids a sense of responsibility or you an excuse to get more exercise, we have some tips to make the transition of welcoming a dog into your home run a bit more smoothly.
Preparing Your Home
There is lots to do before the dog arrives. You must buy or borrow everything you need to ensure your new dog is safe and has a comfortable bed and suitable food.
Do not make the mistake of leaving this all to the last minute.
Most dog shelters or breeders will send a dog to its new home with a lead and collar but check before you go to collect the animal.
In addition, you may need a harness for the car and a pet crate for the early days.
Factor in the cost of all this equipment before you decide to adopt or buy a dog.
Very often, you’ll find you can save on all your pet’s needs by buying food and equipment online.
Establishing a Routine
Dogs are pack animals and they are much happier when they have a set routine, so they know when it’s dinner time, when they can expect a walk, and also when someone is home to play with them.
Try to establish a routine from day one.
Allow 2-3 days for your new dog to settle if he’s a bit anxious, then start taking him for short walks around the neighborhood, so he can get to know his new home.
Take him for walks at set times, such as before breakfast and after work.
If you bought the dog from a breeder or private home, try and continue with any routines the dog is already used to. At least in the early days. This will help him settle.
Feed the dog at specific times. Most dogs are happier with two small meals a day rather than just one, but this depends on the age of the dog (puppies may need three or more small meals a day).
Decide where the dog is going to sleep – in a crate, in a bed in the kitchen, in your bedroom, etc.
If you are toilet training the dog, take him out for toilet breaks as often as possible until he gets the hang of where he’s supposed to pee and poo.
Getting to Know Your Dog
Most dogs are on their best behavior in the early days and it’s likely that your dog’s true personality won’t emerge for a while.
Some dogs are very anxious when they go to a new home, and they take a while to settle.
Let the dog settle in and don’t bombard him with visitors until he is comfortable.
The last thing an anxious dog needs is a steady stream of people coming to pet him.
Things like this can trigger an aggressive response.
Be very patient with your new dog. Understand that he may misbehave for a while, and if you have other dogs, it could take some time for the pack hierarchy to be established.
During this period, expect some fights for dominance.
Usually, this will resolve in a few weeks, but sometimes, dogs can’t live together, and if this happens, try not to take it personally.
Finally, if your dog shows any signs of ill health when he arrives, take him for a veterinary checkup as soon as possible. This is to rule out any communicable diseases that may be passed from one dog to another.