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Welcoming a New Dog to Your Home

Posted November 14, 2012 in Advice Column, Downtown

You made the big decision to bring a furry friend into your home. The next step is making the transition for your new pooch and your family a smooth one. It will be an adjustment, and it can take anywhere from days to months. Here are some tips to ensure your pup’s arrival goes well.

First, make sure you have everything you need before bringing Fido home. You will need a collar, leash, dog food, water and food bowls, treats and toys. You will also want to purchase an identification tag after choosing your pet’s name.

Secondly, try to plan your dog’s arrival on a weekend or a few days when you can be home to get to know each other. It is also important to have a strategy for introducing your new dog to members of the family like children or other pets. Also, you want to have a plan with your family on the house rules for your new family member. Who will take your pooch for its evening walk? Who is in charge of feeding in the morning? Are any areas of the house off limits? Set the rules prior to your new pup coming home so its routine can be established right away. Then, there is no confusion, and your pet can adjust easier.

It is essential to choose a veterinarian for your dog right away. Within the first week of bringing your pooch home, you should make an appointment for a physical exam and any necessary shots. Make sure other animals in the house are updated on all vaccinations and preventatives prior to introducing your new pet. Also, schedule an appointment to have your pup spayed or neutered if not done prior to bringing home.

It is also important to establish order with your dog as soon as you bring it home. Let your pet know you are the boss in the relationship. Dogs thrive in a pack with a strong leader. Reward your pooch when it does something right. At the same time, make sure it understands when you disapprove. Stay calm and let it know immediately with a low, disapproving tone. Sign up for an obedience class so you can work together with your dog to create a strong relationship.

Create a designated living area for your new pup. Dogs enjoy having their own space where they can relax, sleep and play whether it is a crate, bed or portion of a small room. It also makes housetraining and obedience training easier and helps your pet transition to its new environment. Dogs also need a consistent location for elimination purposes. Always assume that your new dog is not housetrained and go from there. Be consistent and maintain a routine to ensure it understands their designated areas.

Most importantly, let the fun begin. Dogs love being physically active and social. Take your pooch for a walk or run. Play a game of fetch or Frisbee in your yard or nearest park. Your pet will appreciate getting out and doing something with the family. Allowing it to release some energy will also help it adjust to its new life.

It is always exciting when a new furry friend joins the family. Follow some of these simple tips to ensure that Fido coming home is a happy and healthy experience for everyone.

Information provided by Carrie Bonnett, owner, Downtown Doggy Daycare, 724 Scott St, Des Moines, 288-0957.

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