Bringing home a new puppy or dog is a very exciting time. Dogs are very inquisitive, and it is important to make sure their new home is safe and dog friendly.
Make your house a safe place for a dog
Leaving home without a dog is very easy. You don’t care where you keep your items, shoes, plants or house chemicals. You don’t need to worry about it as nobody can touch it.
However, if you bring home a new puppy or dog, there are a few things to do before you can do it.
Think about your new dog as if it was a toddler. Kids like to put everything in their mouths, and dogs do the same.
Make sure nothing potentially dangerous is out of reach, cables are hidden, and remote controls are higher than paws can reach.
Some pot plants can also be toxic, so if you have any, put them out of your dog reach.
If you keep any household chemicals that your dog could reach, make sure to place them higher.
If there are any low shelves or drawers that can be open, make sure to secure them.
You may also limit access to some areas of your home if you think they could be hazardous.
Check your fences because your dog will find them really soon if there is a gap.
As with household chemicals, make sure there is nothing dangerous in your garden. It could be slug poison or other pesticides that dog can try out of curiosity.
Plants in the garden could also be poisonous to your dog.
If you bring home a rescue dog, making a dog-proof outdoors is a more serious thing. Rescue dogs usually had some bad experiences in the past, and they may try to escape from your garden the first days you bring it home.
It is natural and instinctive behaviour. After arrival, they are still unsure if their new place is safe and owners will love them.
Our friend Jessy brought a new rescue dog home. His name was Tuffy. Tuffy is a lovely border collie mix male. Jessy has done all the home and garden preparation. Tuffy was very clever and a few times escaped from the garden by jumping and climbing vegetation.
Book vet visit after bringing home a new puppy
Do the research and find a friendly vet in your neighbourhood. It’s a good practice to schedule a visit after bringing a new member of your family to your home. Vaccinations and periodic check-ups are important, and you don’t want to miss them.
Microchip your dog
Often dogs are microchipped when you take them home, but if they are not, then consider doing it. Name tag with your phone number can be lost, but microchipping your dog will improve chances of finding your dog if it is lost.
If your dog is already microchipped, make sure contact details are updated to reflect your address.
Consider buying a pet insurance
A visit to a veterinary clinic could be costly, especially if your dog becomes sick or injured.
In my opinion, it is worth spending some time and check different policy options available on the market and choose one that would suit your needs. We all want our dogs to be protected if something goes wrong.
Buy a few things
After we did all the preparations before bringing home a new puppy or dog it is time now to make your puppy or dog comfortable with the new environment.
To do that you need to do some shopping!
Beds and crates
Before bringing home a new puppy or dog you have to allocate a quiet, safe spot in the house that will be your dog resting place. Your dog needs a place to sleep, and they have to know it is their safe place.
For home you can buy a nice bed and if you travel you may also consider a crate.
There is a broad range of beds on offer, from moulded plastic to nice and cosy foam filled through to raised mesh beds.
If you travel you may consider a crate. If you just have a new dog, it can escape and run away, so keeping it in a crate for the night or when you go away for a short period of time is a good idea.
Introducing a crate is good even immediately after bringing home a new puppy. You can put your dog bed inside, keep the crate door open and let your dog familiarise yourself with it.
Important note – don’t send your dog to a crate as a punishment, and don’t keep your dog in a crate for an extended period of time. We keep our crate open all day and close it only for nighttime sleep.
In our case, we introduced Capri to a crate soon after she arrived home the first time. She found the crate well as she was feeling safe inside.
Especially, we found the crate as a great solution during our camping trips. If we stay in a tent Capri always sleeps in a crate. This way we know she will not unzip the tent at night and start hunting.
Collars, harnesses and leads
Your dog will also need a collar. The collar should be fit around the dog neck leaving space without being too tight. I always check it by putting two fingers through.
It is better to buy a leather collar for long hair breeds because it is less likely it will tangle and pull on their coat. It’s also good to add a tag with a contact number just if your dog escapes and decides to be adventurous.
Another option has a harness. The difference between a collar and a harness is where you attach a lead. If you choose a harness, you can attach the lead to the dog’s back instead of a neck.
There are a few things you need to know about a lead. You can buy a short lead or a long lead. We decided to have both. We use short lead in urban, busy areas where you don’t want your dog to walk too far from you as people are around.
Capri is very energetic, so we also bought a long, 9 meters lead. This lead is super useful when we go for a walk outside of town like a park, forest or outback. She can run free and sniff around while still kept on a leash.
The long lead keeps Capri attached if she decides to run after a kangaroo or wallaby.
This is my favourite part. I love buying toys for Capri. It is fun to watch her eyes big and round as she watches the new toy with anticipation.
Toys will play an important role in your dog development. Capri has many toys but the ones I like most are those that release food when she interacts with them.
Normally it is a big piece of plastic that is shaped like a bone and has holes inside where you can put food, e.g. peanut butter.
These types of toys are very entertaining for the dog. It is really fun to see how your dog learns better ways of accessing food.
You can buy soft toys for young dogs, and replace them with stronger ones as your dog grows older.
Toys can be thrown and tugged, giving you many opportunities to play with your dog.
Also, it is a good idea to hide some toys from time to time. This way your dog will forget it after some time and when reintroduced to it again it will be extremely happy
We also do it with Capri. We keep it hidden for some time and only use it as a reward.
She is so happy to see it again!
Bringing home a rescue dog
Bringing home a rescue dog may be more challenging as these dogs had some trauma in the past. As I mentioned already, securing your garden is a must as they may escape the first few days or even weeks as they are not feeling secure.
A rescue dog has to learn its new schedule. After all, it is a new environment and you want your dog to adjust to it.
Our border collie mix, Capri, had a big problem crossing bright tiled driveways that we stumbled upon during our walks.
It was a few months that she learned that no matter what colour the driveway is, she can cross it without a fear.
Different rescue dogs may have different problems but with proper care, they all can be rectified.
Bringing home a new puppy or dog
Bringing home a new puppy or dog can be a tough, challenging but rewarding decision. Dogs are the best animals in the world. They are loyal and will stay with you to the end, no matter what.
It is important, though, you are prepared for your new dog. Bringing home a dog will change your life significantly, and your home and work schedule may be affected.
Making your home environment safe is crucial, and keeping your dog healthy and safe is a must. After all, you will be friends for a long time.
Brain Training for Dogs
Brain Training for Dogs was developed by CPDT-KA certified dog trainer Adrianne Farricelli. CPDT-KA stands for Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed.
Adrienne lives in Arizona with her husband and two amazing Rottweilers and she is passionate about dogs. She was featured in USA Today and Every Dog magazine and also contributed to eHow and All Experts.
Her Brain Training for Dogs program helped thousands of struggling dog owners all over the world.