Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bringing Fido home! Part 4: First few days



First few hours:

The first few hours keep the dog on a leash except in a VERY securely fenced yard. A frightened or confused dog may bolt from a strange place, be aggressive towards dogs, people or cats and might try to mark his new house. It is easier to correct him by a quick tug on the leash. Keep him on a leash even in the house if he seems agitated or wants to pace. No off-leash parks or romps for at least a couple of weeks.

DON’T hover, don’t shower him with excessive attention or love, let him relax and work his way into the family. Ignore him for as much as possible, as hard as that is. You need to be the leader and he will find his place with time. Don’t be surprised if he sleeps a great deal once he relaxes.

Getting acclimated/housetraining helpers:

When you bring your new dog home, leash-walk so that he can take in the smells of the turf and relieve himself. Pick a special place and encourage him to potty there. Be patient; it may take 10 or 15 minutes. Always praise warmly when he relieves himself in an approved spot.

Next, enter the house and show him around. Keep him on leash. If he lifts his leg, give him a quick leash correction (yank on the leash and release) and tell him "No" to disrupt the action, then take him outside immediately. Offer him a treat for going in the right place.

Remember, your dog will be excited and anxious about his new home. Don't be surprised at panting and pacing, housetraining accidents, excessive drinking or chewing, or gastric upset. In addition, any dog, especially a male who was not neutered early, is likely to mark new territory - especially if other pets have lived there. Tell every member of your family to resist the temptation to overwhelm a new dog. Give him some time and space to get settled.

Crating:
Next, take him to his crate. Encourage him to sniff around; reward him with small treats for entering and staying in the crate. Keep soft bedding and safe toys in the crate; rotate the toys for variety.

Crate facts. Housetraining problems are the top reason people give up dogs. Crates aid in housetraining because of dogs' den instincts - they avoid messing where they sleep. Crate should also become their safe place. Crating is cruel only if the dog is physically uncomfortable or if left too often or too long. Limit crating to 4-5 hours maximum a day. Important: Teach your dog that good things come in the crate. Place appealing toys in the crate; feed in the crate. Stay in the room awhile and praise when the dog rests calmly in the crate. Resist letting the dog out if she cries. However, if she has to relieve herself, honor that. Over the transition period, gradually open the crate door and increase the number of rooms to which she has access.

After the house tour, take him outside to potty again. Be sure to take him to the same spot.

Important: If your dog is not housebroken, begin housetraining now. Stay tuned in and responsive to your dog's signals of when he needs to go. The more vigilant you are now, the more reliably housetrained he'll be later.

However, having a few accidents the first week does not mean a dog is not housebroken. Excitement can lead to accidents. In addition, males tend to mark in the house the day or two. Once he begins to settle in, and you begin educating him in acceptable behavior, he will relax and behave.

Routine:
Dogs thrive on routine, so orient your new companion to your schedule. Dog mostly relive themselves after a good meal. Take the dog out 15 -30 mins after his meal and praise him when he goes at the right place. Take him out there first thing in the morning, last thing at night, before or after meals, midday. Take him out every few hours the first few days to figure out a good routine. Once you know his potty time, you can walk him fewer times and space the walks to his comfort.

The dog will explore everything, so puppy-proof your house (place shoes inside closets, put electrical cords out of reach, move prized objects to higher ground, if you cannot keep an eye on him).

Food:

Try to transition to his new food slowly if possible. If you dont have the food he is accustomed to, start with mixing some of the new food with plain rice. Even the best of the tummies can act out because of the stress and changes.
For upset stomachs, keep the dog on a plain boiled chicken and rice diet and lowly transition to his daily dry food. Use some canned food in the transition as well.

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