Welcoming a new dog into the family is always exciting but it can be stressful and overwhelming as well. Whether you’re expecting a new puppy or rescuing an older dog it pays to prepare for your new family member. I have recently come to the conclusion that I am ready for my second dog now that, Puffy, my Australian Shepherd mix, is 8 years old. In the following article, I share with you how I’m planning for my new puppy. Remember – a little planning now will be a huge benefit in the long run!
Dog Crates & Pet Gates Are Structures For Success
There are a few “must have” items every dog and dog owner needs. Whether or not you’ll be getting a pet dog (like must of us) or you plan to compete with your dog in sports like agility or obedience, you won’t want to be without a Dog Crate
and a Dog Gate
. Crates and gates are indispensable management tools I use to prevent and minimize problems. I often find my training clients are hesitant to change things in their homes, but having a dog is a big commitment and some things that work in your current lifestyle, may not be suitable for life with your new dog. By utilizing management tools like dog crates and pet gates, we are able to give our new pets 100% of our attention and nothing less.
Because dogs and puppies don’t come to us programmed with the necessary information on how to live in human homes I always structure my household for success! Crates and gates help you keep your dog out of harm’s way, and crate training a dog is not as hard as you would expect. When bringing any new dog into a household, adequate supervision is crucial. I don’t want my dog rehearsing bad habits like peeing on the carpet when I’m not looking or chewing my new shoes. So, when I can’t keep my eye on Fido, I use my crate or gate to make sure he’s safe. A crate is also the best way to house train puppies and even adult dogs who’ve never learned. I want my dog to develop good habits and management tools help me to teach my dog how to succeed in her new home.
Dog Tags Are Absolutely Essential
In addition to crates and gates, all dogs need appropriate Dog Collars
with Dog ID Tags
and at least one Dog Leash
. I prefer having two leashes for my dog. The first leash is for walks. The second is a long line Dog Training Leash
that I use to train essential behaviors like “Come” and “Leave It”. Long lines can be worn indoors and outdoors. When your dog is wearing a long line, you can easily encourage her to come to you by calling her name, gently reeling in the leash and then offering a tasty reward. Similarly, teaching the “Leave It” cue is made much simpler by using a long line because you are able to stop your dog by standing on the leash and then trading the object that your dog has gotten a hold of (shoes, socks, TV dinners!) for something more appropriate like his favorite treat.
Dog Treats & Dog Toys – Hooray!
Which brings me to my third category of essential items – dog toys and treats. Depending on your dog’s “personality” you can use dog treats and/or dog toys to train basic and advanced behaviors. Most puppies and adult dogs are easily motivated by food, but for some, a tennis ball or squeaky toy will work better. You’ll know within the first few days whether or not your dog has a strong food drive or a strong toy drive (or both!) When you determine what motivates your dog be sure to stock up.
I also try to incorporate dog toys into my training routine, and I prefer soft, squeaky plush dog toys. Toys are a great training tool. They can be used to teach things like bite inhibition, “Drop It”, and “Fetch”. For example, we all know puppies love to chew on anything and everything. I prefer to have my puppy chew on a toy rather than on my hand or my new shoes. You may be surprised to learn that you can also teach your dog to fetch. While some dogs are born with the drive to retrieve even lap dogs can become excellent fetchers with training games.
By stocking up on essential items and being prepared you can make the experience of bringing home a new dog a positive and productive one. Furthermore, with the right tools you can turn anytime into training time and the best part is your dog will think of it as PLAY TIME! Not only will you be giving your puppy (or adult dog) a head start but you’ll enhance your relationship by creating a bond and facilitating your dog’s need for stimulation and interaction.
Ms. Arroyo is a professional dog trainer in Chicago, Illinois. She recently earned her BA from DePaul University and is active in community outreach programs including Chicago Canine Rescue, New Leash on Life and has led fundraising efforts for Cook County Animal Care & Control. Judit serves as a Program Leader for Sit Stay Read! and is currently developing their dog training program.