Adding your new family member
Start out on the right foot by doing all you can to ease your dog’s adjustment to his new family. Here’s the information you need to help make your friend’s stay in his new home safe and enjoyable. DOG-PROOF YOUR HOME Whether your new friend is a puppy or adult dog, here are important tips to help keep him out of harm’s way: * Keep household cleaners and chemicals out of his reach. * Restrict access to plants that are dangerous to dogs: poinsettias, azaleas, rhododendrons, dumb cane, Japanese yew, oleander and English ivy. * Store breakable items safely out of the way. * Hide or cover electrical cords so he won’t chew on them. * Safely store antifreeze, engine oil, laundry detergents and lawn chemicals. * Keep kids’ toys off the floor—since some parts may be small enough for your puppy or dog to swallow. * Use a cover and/or protective fencing if you have a pool or hot tub. CHOOSING A NAME Here are a few tips to consider before naming your new dog: * Names should be short. A two-syllable name is best because it’s brief and won’t be confused with one-syllable commands such as “No” or “Sit.” * Be consistent. All family members should use the same name—don’t use confusing nicknames or variations. * Reward your dog’s recognition of his name with lots of praise and play. WELCOME HOME As the “parent” of a puppy or new adult dog, it’s important for you to help him get used to his new surroundings. Think of him more as an infant than a pet: He’ll need plenty of patience, supervision and love. Here’s how you can help him adjust. * Bring him home when it’s quiet and you don’t have company. Also, choose a time when your routine is normal. * Show him the area of your yard that will be his bathroom before bringing him inside. Then take him there whenever he goes outside. * Give your dog his own room where you can keep his crate, complete with bedding and chew toys (leave the crate’s door open). He’ll feel safe in his “den.” Put down newspaper for accidents. (See pages 14-15 for more housebreaking tips.) * Supervise your puppy at all times, and play with him several times a day. You’ll help establish yourself as the pack leader. * Give him bathroom breaks every few hours and right after eating, drinking, sleeping and playing (watch for signals like sniffing or circling). Never punish your dog for accidents; instead, praise him when he goes in his outdoor spot. GETTING EXERCISE An appropriate amount of exercise will help promote your new dog’s good behavior and assist you in training him. Talk with your veterinarian about how much daily exercise your breed typically needs. Some dogs are just naturally more high-energy, and need more exercise than others. Schedule family members to exercise your dog throughout the day. MEETING CHILDREN You should have no trouble at all encouraging your children to play with your new dog. Still, you’ll want to supervise his first interactions with your kids and set playtime limits—15-20 minutes two or three times a day. Here are still more ground rules to explain: * No rough teasing or playing. Tell your kids that tail-pulling and teasing can lead to bad habits like jumping up. * Be gentle. Tell kids never to shout at the dog, even if he does something wrong. Explain that dogs can be startled by loud noises. INTRODUCING OTHER PETS Here’s how to help him meet your resident animals: * Do it gradually. Keep them separated for the first few days. * Keep him safely in his crate (or behind an expandable doorway gate) as you supervise their first meeting. * After several days of sniffing each other out, let your resident pet enter the den while your new dog is out of his crate. Giving your new dog the appropriate amount of exercise, like this Shih Tzu puppy, above, and Golden Retriever puppy, far left, will help promote good behavior. Your new friend,will need plenty of patience and love. Supplies you’ll need Have these supplies on hand before you bring your dog home with you. * Premium dog foods * Stainless-steel non-tipping food and water bowls * ID tags with the contact information for yourself and your veterinarian * A “breakaway” collar and a 6-foot leather or nylon leash * An airline-approved home and travel crate (large enough to transport him as he grows) * Dog shampoo * Brushes and combs * Cleanup supplies such as a stain remover, Bounty® paper towels, Swiffer® floor dusters and a deodorizing spray Even if you’re bringing home just one new dog—much less four!—you’ll want to have all needed supplies already on hand.