During the transition period, a dog needs time to adjust to the rules and schedule of your household.  A dog is a pack animal looking to his owner to be the leader and to teach him good, acceptable behaviors.  If the human does not take the lead, the dog will try to.  A dog cannot do damage if you don't allow this to happen.  Watch your new dog carefully and keep her in a crate or other secure area if you can't attend to her. 

Keep dogs on-leash when outdoors in unfenced areas, and watch even when in a fenced yard.  If there's a way to escape, most dogs will find it.

Don't tell a dog not to do something and then send mixed signals that his bad behavior is cute.  For example, if the dog is jumping on you, don't laugh and giggle, this only encourages the behavior.

Do not keep dogs in dark basements or non-family areas, which works against your efforts to raise a socialized, well-behaved, house-trained animal.

Don't let a dog grab treats or otherwise take charge.  "There's no free lunch" -- before feeding, treating, even petting, give a command (such as "sit") for them to practice and show off their smarts.

Start day one by teaching your dog appropriate behavior through consistent, positive reinforcement.  If you allow too much freedom, you may be teaching bad habits.

Realize there is always a solution to any problem.

What to Bring When Picking Up the Dog:

Buckle collar: leather or nylon is best.

Leash: a strong clasp and comfortable on your hands, such as thick leather or double-ply woven.

ID tag: filled out and attached securely to collar.

Crate/carrier to contain the puppy and any "accidents."

Supplies to Have Ready at Home:

Baby gates: good for confining when crating isn't required.  Make sure dog can't get head/paws caught in gate, can't chew threw the gate, can't knock the gate down, and can't jump the gate!

Water and food bowls: use tip-proof, stainless steel.  Stay away from plastic, which can smell and absorb bacteria.  And some dogs will eat their bowls!

Flea comb: to check for fleas, and combing is healthy for skin.

Flea preventative: Advantage or Frontline acquired from your veterinarian or from The Pet Shed.

Brush: brush daily; good for skin & can be better than bathing.  And it's a bonding experience.

Grooming supplies: get the right tools for your particular dog if you're going to bathe, clip claws and cut fur yourself.  Different coats require different brushes, check with the trainer or groomer.

Pet-specific cleaners: such as Nature's Miracle.  They remove pet stains and odors from rugs and other surfaces.

Treats:  Used as rewards.  Soft, chewy is the best, as they are more inclined to "work" for something that they can really smell.

Toys:  Use safe chew toys, such as compressed rawhide or edible Nylabones.  Soft toys are good for some dogs, but others will pull them apart, so remove if this happens.

No chicken bones: they splinter and can cause internal injuries.

Getting a Dog License:

Contact animal control or your veterinarian to license your dog.  This cannot be done until after they have received their rabies certificate.  In most jurisdictions, proof of spay/neuter reduces the license fee.

The First Day:

Congratulations!  You have just acquired a companion who will provide you with years of love and friendship.  In return, you must be able to keep a commitment of providing daily care, medical attention and training to help your dog become a well-behaved companion.  Dogs depend on routine, so learn what you can about your new dog's past schedule, then slowly reorient him to your schedule.  By the way, your dog will explore everything, so puppy-proof your house (place shoes inside closets, cords out of reach, clothes off the floor).

When You Arrive Home: Getting Acclimated...Housebreaking Help  - A transition tip: For the first few days, leave a leash attached to the dog's buckle collar while indoors with you, so you can stop him immediately if he starts doing something you don't want -- such as squatting to potty, chewing on a chair leg, jumping on the couch, or showing any aggressive signs towards anyone in the household.  Warning: Don't leave a leash attached when you're not there; the leash could get caught on something, or chewed up.

Introducing Your New Dog to Other Pets & People

DOGS:  Even if the meeting between dogs went well on neutral turf, it's different now that you are bringing a new dog to your current dog's home.  Before bringing the new dog inside, make sure there's another person around for the homecoming so that the dogs can meet outside.  Make sure all dogs are leashed.  Try to make the meeting fun with a walk, ball-tossing game or some treats.  Pay more attention to your first pet to lessen the risk of resentful behavior.  At any sign of hostility, correct the dog with a firm "Uh-Uh."  Don't be concerned if they don't warm up to each other immediately.  When the dogs come inside, a fight could break out, so leave the leashes on for quick control if needed.  Keep all toys and treats out of sight until everyone is comfortable.  Either dog may engage in aggressive posturing, marking, housebreaking accidents and possessiveness over toys and people.  Your first dog might be insecure about his place in your family's pack.  Reassure him, but do not let him misbehave or mistreat your new dog.  Resist the temptation to spoil either dog or to allow bad habits you will have to break later.  The more socialized your dog and new dog are, the less time it will take for them to become friendly.  Try not to be nervous, or your dogs may feel tense or try to defend you from the other dog.

CATS: You will need a more controlled environment to introduce your dog to a cat.  Keep your dog on leash, the cats will have to come around on their own.  Dogs often want to chase a cat only if the cat runs, but dogs with a stronger prey drive will be cat aggressive.  Firmly correct your dog and don't unleash her around your cat until you're totally comfortable with their interaction.  Your cat may hide or stick to high perches for several days or weeks until she is ready to accept your dog.  You may need to change how you feed your cat, so that your new dog will not get into her food.  (And restrict the dog's access to the litterbox.)

NEW PEOPLE & CHILDREN:  Remember, your new dog is already nervous.  If surrounded by too many people, she might panic.  It is not unusual for children to get bitten if they rush up screaming at the dog, pet her roughly or pester her when she's had enough interaction.  Keep in mind: while a child can whine or cry, a dog can indicate frustration or fear only by nipping.  Try to put off introductions to outside people until the dog has had a chance to settle in. Teach your children and others how to properly behave around the dog, and never allow them to mistreat or harass the dog.  Never let young or inexperienced children play with your dog unsupervised.  Make new human introductions one at a time, on leash for control.  Let the dog take the initiative to greet the new person.  She may want to sniff the person first, before any petting.  Take your cues from your dog: how comfortable does she appear?  Many dogs love new people and attention, while others may be overwhelmed.  A new dog will be under stress and engage in behaviors you'll need to correct, such as growling or jumping on people. Teach your dog "off" when she tries to jump up.  Children should be taught the proper way to approach and play with dogs.

FOOD:  "Saving" on your food bill may increase your veterinary bill. Premium foods use higher quality ingredients.  Premium dog foods also have fewer byproducts and preservatives that can trigger food allergies. With cheap brands, dogs tend to consume more because they are starved for nutrients.  If you change dog foods, make the change gradually, as dogs thrive on a plain, consistent diet.  Feeding dry food helps keep teeth cleaner.

The First Day: Your new dog may not be interested in eating the first day. Still, put the food bowl where you wish him to eat and leave it there for 20 minutes.  After that, remove the bowl.  Do not offer food again until the next scheduled feeding time.  This teaches your dog when and where mealtime occurs.


Wouldn't it be nice if dogs were born housebroken?  Or if babies were born potty-trained...or if someone else paid your taxes?  Until such dreams come true, here are some real-life tips:  To Potty Training Tips

Chewing, Jumping & Barking:

Many "bad habits" (chewing, mouthing, digging, jumping and barking) are natural behaviors for a dog.  So keep the activity at an appropriate level. And if your dog is doing something you don't want, give him an opportunity to do something else you can reward.

Chewing is normal.  Give your dog a variety of safe chew toys that don't share similarities to your shoes or fringed rugs such as tennis and rubber balls, fleece toys, dental chew bones and chew strips.

Give your dog plenty of exercise and interaction to prevent boredom and loneliness.  If a dog is left alone for long periods, it's not like he can read a book or turn on the TV he has to amuse himself.

Remove forbidden objects from the dog's mouth; immediately replace with acceptable toys or treats.

Until you're sure you can trust your dog with free run of the house, confine him in a safe place, such as a crate or baby-gated kitchen, when you cannot supervise him.  Leave him toys to play with.

Remove trash cans or secure trash can lids from the area in which your pet stays.

Spray items you don't want him to chew with a distasteful solution such as Bitter Apple.

Do not excite your dog to the point of jumping up, biting or barking.

You can correct your dog's bad behaviors with humane, effective training methods.  And remember: breaking your dog of bad habits is far more difficult than training him the right way the first time.

Furniture-Hopping:  If you don't want your dog to get on the furniture, correct him as soon as he tries to hop up and he will learn quickly.  Decide what you want to do, then all family members must abide by those decisions.  Consistency is key to training and living with dogs.

Changing a Dog's Name:  It's okay to change your dog's name after adoption.  A dog usually learns his new name quickly, especially if you overuse it in the beginning.  Some believe changing the dog's name will help the dog build a deeper bond with his new family.

Nipping and Biting: When young dogs gnaw and nip, often people excuse this as "puppy behavior."  But it's unacceptable behavior that will continue, and get worse, if you don't correct it.  Like a child, a dog will test the limits to see if he can get his way, and to see who's boss. Consistently reward him when he obeys; correct him when he doesn't.

Safe chew toys (especially if teething) will give her something to do until she falls asleep.  The faster you establish a sleeping routine, the more sleep everyone will get.  Normally, a dog will not relieve herself where she sleeps.

The Importance of Keeping a Routine

Develop and use a consistent daily routine for feeding, exercising and potty time.  Walk your new dog or let him out in a fenced yard as soon as you wake up.  If you feed him in the morning, do so after a short walk or romp in the yard.  Then give him a chance to relieve himself after breakfast, before you go to work.  After you return from work, take him immediately to potty and exercise.  If he has exercised heavily, wait an hour before his evening feeding.  He will need another bathroom break anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours later depending on his age and personal habits.  He should have a potty break right before you go to bed.

Leaving Your Dog Alone &
Avoiding Separation Anxiety

Initially, your new dog may experience separation anxiety when you leave.  Crating her in the beginning can eliminate accidents and other unacceptable activity rooted in insecurity.  A crate provides a safe haven.  An alternative confining technique: baby gates in the kitchen or hallway.  If the area is too large, however, your dog may have housebreaking accidents.  Each time you leave your dog confined, make sure she knows she is a "good dog!"  Make good-byes nonchalant.  When you return, praise the dog for being good and take her out immediately.  Make your schedule as consistent as possible. Remember: it is not fair to get upset if a dog has an accident after being left alone a long time.

Medical Checklist:

Keep up on all shots.

Give heartworm preventative year-round in this area. Heartworm disease is deadly.  These can be purchased at your veterinarian or Maak Enterprises.

Regularly check between toes for debris.

Check and clean ears once a week.

If dog seems to pay excessive attention to his/her anal area, may be a sign of parasites or he needs anal glands expressed.  See your vet.

Get a dog tooth brush and toothpaste and try to brush daily or at least 4 times a week.

Dog-Proofing Essentials

Fence: Check carefully for any gaps ... loose boards ... turned up bottom edges.  Fix problems immediately.  If there's a woodpile against the fence that a dog can climb, move it.  Can your dog jump, climb or dig under the fence?  Or break through the pickets?  Never leave your dog outside unattended.  Sooner or later, your dog will get out - from fear, for the challenge or out of boredom.

Gate latches:  Can someone enter your yard or release your dog?  Can your dog open the latch?

House doors:  Often a dog can easily kick open screen doors, even if locked.

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