With so many breeders, pet stores and rescue shelters using social media, it can be tempting to get a new pet on a whim. While this may not turn out to be a bad thing, there are still a lot of important things to consider. Your home, family and other pets will need to be fully prepared to welcome your new addition. And if you are bringing home a dog, there may be more things to work out than you expected.
One of the first things to prepare for is your new pet’s behaviour. Dogs can react in very unexpected ways when they first enter a new environment. They may be fearful, or they may be aggressive. They may leap up for a cuddle and kiss, or they may foul the floor where they stand. You can’t predict how it will go, but in any event, you mustn’t punish your dog for not knowing the rules of the house yet.
Dogs like to chew. They like to sit on your soft pillow. And sometimes it’s easier to relieve yourself in the corner rather than heading outside. Until your dog knows what the rules of the house are, you may have some unpleasant surprises! Book in early for some dog training courses to help you better train your dog to behave in the way you prefer. Meanwhile, be firm but kind so your new pet doesn’t feel like an outcast on his first day with you.
When you do allow your dog in the garden, you should ensure there are no breaks or gaps in your boundary fencing. His natural instinct will be to explore every millimetre of this space. If there is a way to expand his exploration beyond your garden, he will take it! You may have a preferred area where you want your dog to toilet. This will need to be taught as well. Treats and clickers can help you reward him positively for the behaviour you approve of.
Introducing your dog to the other members of the family should be done one at a time as a gradual process. Other pets should come in last. They may be wary of the new arrival, so be sure to offer plenty of comfort and reassurance for everyone. A spat or foul language doesn’t mean they won’t work it out and be friends later. But there will be a pecking order. One of the pets will assert their dominance over the others. Not all pets were created equal!
Although it is rare, sometimes your new pet just won’t be a fit for your family. Returning a dog can be so heartbreaking for all the family. The best way to avoid problems between different pets is to seek advice from a dog trainer before you bring home your new dog for the first time. Pre-empting potential problems is essential. Knowing as much as you can about the new dog first will also help you to be sure he should fit in. Find out more about his temperament and background so you can be certain your new dog will be a pet for life.