5 Tips for Bringing a New Dog Into Your Home

Bringing a new dog, young or old, into your home is an exciting experience! Setting you and your new pet up for success is paramount. For this to be an easier transition for you and your family, we go over a few tips and tricks to make the transition as smooth as possible for you and your four-legged friend!

Establish a routine:

Dogs thrive when they know what to expect! A consistent routine and healthy boundaries will help your dog thrive. Start your dog at the same time every morning. Potty walk first thing, feed breakfast and dinner at the same time.

  • Will you allow your dog on the couch? Or not?

  • Are you okay with your pup jumping up on you? Or not?

Think about these things now and set an expectation for your pup that doesn’t change. It’s cute to have a pup on the couch with you when they are tiny. Will you still find it cute if that 15lbs puppy grows to be 95lbs?

Build Trust:

You may never know your dog’s complete history. But you’re new to them, and your pup may be confused about where they are and what is happening. Create a relationship built on trust! Be the team coach showing your dog how to win. Feeding meals, hand feeding, giving high-value treats, going for low-key walks in quiet areas, or playing ball can all build trust with your dog.

Pre-direct; don’t redirect:

Imagine the first time a dog is taught how to sit. You show them a tasty morsel. You lift the food, your dog sits, and you reward. This chain of events is called the ABCs of dog training.

Antecedent; Behavior; Consequence.

The A in this example was lifting the food. The B was the dog following the food and sitting. The C was the reward. Now let's apply this to everyday life.

Redirection: I enter a room. (Antecedent) My dog jumps on me and bites at my coat sleeves. (Behavior) I redirect said dog with a bully stick. (Consequence) Now my cute little puppy is chilling on his bed, gnawing on his bully stick.

Can you see how your dog could interpret this as a reward for the bad behavior that we want to stop? So instead of redirecting our dogs for being naughty, let's be proactive and pre-direct our dogs. When we enter the house after a long day at work, have a reward in your pocket. Cue your dog to sit and reward them with the treat and your attention.

What behavior does your dog do that is frustrating you? How can we change the order of events to eliminate their rehearsal of the naughty behaviors?

Crate Games:

Providing your pup with a safe place is vital. It’s a safe place to sleep and escape when they are overstimulated or need a nap. Their safe place could be a crate, the spare bedroom, or the laundry room. When our German Shepherd needs a reprieve from our kids and the commotion, she heads into our laundry room and puts herself down for a snooze in her crate. It’s hers and hers alone. No kids. No dogs. No cats allowed.

Play crate games to help your new dog get comfortable and love their space! When we play crate games, there is no pressure to go in or stay in, and they are heavily rewarded with high-value treats for going in and coming out.

Separation Anxiety: