Monday, December 29, 2008

Bringing Your New Friend Home (Key Points and advice for new dog owners)

Have you recently adopted a new best friend? Please take a few moments to educate yourself on the needs of your new pal.

Count on a dog marking or having accidents the first few days, even if he was house trained. Too often people adopt and forget that their home is a new, foreign environment to the new pet. Being a friend to your dog means being selfless, patient and educated.

Don't forget about your dogs need for exercise. Even if your doggie loves to cuddle on the couch and is mainly an inside dog, they are like us and need exercise to stay healthy. They also get bored. Get your pet and yourself outdoors. You now have a buddy to enjoy nature with!

ID your dog at ALL times! Don't become a victim of another tragic lost-dog story. Keeping your dog safe is simple. Keep a snug collar on him/her at ALL times with UPDATED ID tags. If your phone number changes, the tag should change to. I can't stress it enough- ALWAYS KEEP AN ID TAG ON YOUR LOVED ONE. Micro-chipping is also a cheap and extremely effective way to help keep your dog safe (but should be done in addition to having a tag. Microchipping should NOT take the place of a tag.)

Be a leader! A dog is a pack animal looking for guidance. For some people, disciplining and delegating a dog can be difficult cause they are SO darn cute. However, it is better for your dog for you to guide them. Make sure they know who is in charge. Take the time to teach them commands and to establish guidelines with them. Be patient. As hard as it may be to believe, the dog WANTS you to lead them. This makes them feel secure.

Beware of letting your dog on your bed or furniture if you haven't established all human family members as the leaders ("alpha"). Dominance-related problems often arise when a dog is on a higher physical level. Dogs don't seek equality; they seek and need leadership.

The dog is not to blame. A dog cannot do damage unless you let them. Watch your new dog during the transition period. When you can't supervise, keep him/her in a crate or other secure area with chew toys. If your dog starts to chew on your shoes or other items that are NOT chew toys, replace the item with the appropriate thing to chew on. In other words, if you find your doggie chewing on your new Nike's, take the shoes away and hand over one of those awesome chew toys you got your pup. This will teach him/her what he/she CAN chew on.

It's quite possible that your dog is smarter than you are. If your dog is lucky enough to get a warm home AND a yard, make sure your yard is as "escape-proof" as possible. This is not to say that a yard can be made totally escape-proof. Dogs are smart and usually quite curious. Supervise your dog even in a fenced yard. Make sure the fence is strong and is not broken. Dogs can scratch and even chew through a weak fence. The heighth of your fence is also VERY important. Dogs can leap and sometimes even climb. BEWARE of accidentally providing them with objects in your yard that may aid them in their great escape.

Don't kiss your dog or place your face at the dog's eye level before you've begun obedience training and established yourself and other humans in the home as higher up in the hierarchy. Dogs often perceive a face placed at their eye-level as a threat, and then bite. Be cautious of how you approach your new pet. If you want to pet them, do not do so from above their heads, where they may not see you and be frightened. Make your hand visible before reaching out. Even the teeniest, friendliest looking dog gets scared and will act on their fear. Be patient, and teach them love. They will return it.

Don't issue a command unless you are in a position to enforce it. Telling a dog to do something, then not guiding him to obey if he chooses not to, teaches him to ignore you.

Beware of sending mixed signals that bad behavior is cute or entertaining.

Changing a dog's name: A dog can learn a new name quickly if you use it consistently. Start by linking it with the previous name.

Much of this information was quoted from the following site:


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