How to Take Care of a Puppy: Bringing a Puppy Home
How to Supervise a New Dog
When you get a new dog, you may be wondering what to do about supervising it for the first few days. You do need to keep an eye on it to make sure it won't hurt itself in your house. You also need to make sure it knows (or remembers) its house training. You can also help your dog feel better in its new home by crate training it. Crate training your dog gives your dog a home within your home. In addition, it gives you peace of mind if you need to leave the dog at home for a bit. It's also important to establish a routine with your new dog, so it learns the schedule in your household. Finally, you need to supervise the introduction of the dog to other dogs in your household, as well as other people and dogs in public.
Keeping the Dog in Sight
Pick an appropriate time to bring the dog home.That is, you do want to supervise a dog when it's first in your home. That means you need to pick a time to bring a dog home when you can be there for several days in a row, such as a weekend or even a long weekend.
Block off other rooms.One way to keep a dog nearby is to block off exits to other rooms you don't want the dog to be in. Close doors or use baby gates to keep the dog contained. The dog should be in your sight at all times, at least while you're establishing house and crate training.
- You want to keep your new dog in sight for at least the first few days, which is why you should block off some time to be home.
- Limiting the rooms the dog has access to will help it settle in more quickly and without becoming overwhelmed.
- You can leave your dog at home if needed. A crate is the best option, but if you haven't been able to crate train your dog, try locking the dog in an area where it can't do much damage. Try to remove anything that could be a danger to the dog (plants, chemicals, cords) or that your dog could damage (expensive furniture, breakables). If the space is small enough, such as part of a laundry room, they generally won't want to use the bathroom inside.
Try a 6-foot leash.If blocking off an area isn't feasible, try using a 6-foot leash instead. That will help keep the dog in sight, so you can keep an eye on what it's doing around your house, such as chewing issues. You'll also be able to tell more easily when the dog wants to go to the bathroom.
Let the dog come to you.When you're getting to know a dog, it's a good idea to let it come to you for affection. Yes, you may have it on a leash, but don't force your affection on it until it seems ready. Let it come up to you as it explores the room, and only then, offer to pet it.
- Letting the dog approach you is much less threatening to the dog. Talk in a calm, soothing voice as it comes towards you. You can try to pet the dog, but make sure the dog can see your approach. Also, don't make any sudden movements, which could startle the dog. Avoid going over the head.
- Keep some treats in a pouch on your belt, and drop the odd treat on the floor. This helps the dog see you as someone it's good to be around.
Establishing a Routine
Take the dog out every hour.When you're not sure if the dog is house trained, it's a good idea to take the dog out every hour to try and use the bathroom. When the dog does use the bathroom outside, praise it extensively. You can also offer the dog a treat and praise, right after the dog goes. That way, it will connect the praise with the action of going to the bathroom.
- Praising the dog when it goes outside is the main way to toilet train it. However, while you're supervising the dog, you can also watch for signs that it needs to go to the bathroom, such as circling, squatting, or barking/scratching at the door. If you notice these signs, take the dog out right away, then praise and reward it if it used the bathroom.
- If you catch your dog going to the bathroom in the house, make a loud noise, like clapping or yelping. Then say "outside," and take the dog outside. If the dog continues outside, reward it. If you find a place the dog soiled in the house, punishing or yelling after the fact won't help. The dog won't associate your anger with the earlier act of going to the bathroom.
Teach your dog to use a crate.A crate gives your dog a space in your home that's its own. Pick a crate with enough space for your dog to stand up, sit down, and lay down comfortably. If you put the crate in a part of your home where the family goes often, the dog will feel more included.
- The first step is introducing your dog to the crate. Have something in the bottom, such as a pillow or blanket. Let your dog explore on its own. If your dog doesn't seem interested, try using treats leading up to the crate, then put some inside.
- Next, try feeding your dog in the crate. Start with the food as far in as your dog will go. Eventually (over several days), you'll want to move it all the way in, so your dog is eating in the crate. Once your dog is eating comfortably in the crate, close the door while it's eating. If it complains, don't let it out until it stops.
- Crate your dog at other times. Use a treat to lure it over and inside. Try using a word, such as "crate" or "bed," to associate with the crate. When it goes inside the crate, offer the treat and praise. Close the door. Start by sitting nearby, then move to another room. Only leave the dog in the crate for about 10 minutes the first time.
- Slowly up the time the dog is in the crate. When the dog gets more comfortable, you can leave it in the crate while you're gone, starting with short periods.
Establish a feeding routine.Your feeding routine depends on how you want to divide up the dog's food. You may prefer just morning, just evening, or morning and evening. However, if you already have a dog in the house, keep the same routine, so you don't upset that dog more.
- The general recommendation is to feed larger dogs once a day and smaller dogs twice a day.
- All you need to do to get the dog on a schedule is to offer the food about the same time each day.
Working on Introductions
Choose a neutral location to introduce your new dog to your old dog.It's best to introduce your new dog to an old dog in a neutral space, to reduce territorial issues. Try going to the park or a neighbor's yard, where the dogs have space to introduce themselves.
- If you have more than one dog, try introducing them one at a time.
- Have another person on hand. You'll need to have a leash with the old dog. Someone else will need to have the new dog on a leash. That way, they can be separated if you need to give them some space. Give them a little room on the leash, though, so they won't feel quite as restrained.
Give them a chance to sniff.Let them give each other a quick once-over by letting them circle and sniff each other. However, don't let them get too involved in this action. Rather, get them doing something else semi-together, such as going on a walk.
- In fact, one way to introduce them is have the person with the new dog come up beside you while you're walking. Leave a little space between the dogs, but let them sniff at each other as you walk.
- Watch the dogs' body language. Be sure to watch both dogs for signs of aggression. You may see their ears stand up, their hair ruffle up, or their tail go up. They may growl or bare their teeth. They may also hold each other's gaze for a long period.
- If you notice signs of aggression, distract the dogs with toys, treats, or something else each one will be interested in.
- However, signs of play are good. A sign of a playful dog is bowing the front part to the ground with the back end up in the air.
- Try a scent introduction. Give each dog an item of your old clothing that has your scent on it. Let each dog sleep on this, and then swap the items around between dogs. This helps get them used to each other's smell, so they will be more familiar when they meet in person.
Take the dogs home.When you go home, start with the yard rather than the house. Let them get used to each other again. When they seem ready to play, rather than be aggressive, you can let them off the leashes to play in the yard.
- Keep the dogs separated when you can't watch them. It's best to supervise new dogs with your old dogs at first, just in case one or the other gets aggressive. If you can't supervise them, separate them into different crates or different parts of the house.
Introduce your dog to a resident cat.To introduce a new dog to a resident cat, it may be easiest to start with the dog behind a baby gate. That way, the cat still has free range of the household, but the dog and cat will slowly interact with each other through the gate. You can encourage interaction with treats.
- Do not allow the dog to chase the cat. If necessary, have the dog on a leash when you first introduce them.
Help your dog learn social skills.Once your dog starts to get used to you and your household, consider socializing it with other dogs and people. You can take your dog out to public places where dogs are welcome, like pet stores and dog parks. You can also invite people over to visit your dog.
- If your dog is nervous around other people, try using treats to help the situation. When a person is at a safe distance (doesn't make your dog nervous), give the dog a few treats. Keep the person at this distance (it can help to use a friend), and continue giving treats as the person walks out of sight. When the person is gone, stop giving treats. As your dog becomes more comfortable, try having the person get closer, as you continue to offer treats. Your dog will eventually come to associate strangers with treats, which should decrease its nervousness.
- However, some dogs will always be nervous, and you may just want to avoid taking them around strangers as much as possible.
Don't force interaction.While you want your dog to socialize with others, it's important to let the dog decide when it is comfortable interacting. That is, let your dog approach other people and dogs; don't force the dog to approach. That can lead to bad interactions, as your dog may feel threatened and even get aggressive.
- Signs of aggression include barking, growling, and lunging, as well as ears up in the air, puffed-up fur, and a high tail. These body movements are meant to make your dog look bigger and more threatening.
- If you're dog is anxious, it will try to make itself seem smaller. It may tuck its tail between its legs, lick its paws, or crouch or cower.
- If you notice either of these behaviors, it's best to pull the dog away from the interaction.
Video: How To Supervise Your Pet Dogs Mating
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