It’s an exciting day when you bring your new dog home, but it can also be a challenge. Getting your new pet comfortable with her surroundings can be tough, but with a little work you’ll be best friends in no time.
Start by Puppy Proofing
When you first introduce your puppy or dog into your home, you want to make sure the area is safe. Prior to arrival, Caitlin Fitzgerald, DVM, recommends puppy proofing your house. “Puppies and dogs often like to chew and mouth things they shouldn’t,” she said. “Take care to hide exposed wires, and place anything of value that you do not want to become a chew toy out of reach.”
It is also a good idea to confine the new pet to a small area so he can get used to the new smells of the house and become acclimated to the environment. Fitzgerald suggests trying to keep loud noises and activity levels down so the new pet does not become frightened. Another option that some pets also do well with is having their own crate or cage that they can get to know as their safe place.
Get to Playing
Playtime is when the real bonding can start. “Specific toys that help to build bonds are any toys that engage the human and the dog, such as Frisbees, tennis balls, rope toys” says Fitzgerald. “Fetch and tugging games are also fun for the owner and the dog, plus it’s a great way to add in an element of exercise.”
It is important to teach your dog trust early on through petting, grooming and snuggling. Scent plays a big role in trust, so spend time holding and petting your new dog. You can also give an article of your clothing to the dog to sleep with to further share your scent. “Dogs like to be given direction, so a confident owner will be a great leader to the dog, and that helps with building trust,” says Fitzpatrick. “A dog obedience trainer is a very good option for owners to learn proper ways to lead their pet.”
Whatever happens, stay committed. Oftentimes bonding happens faster than you expect, and you’ll be able to enjoy the wonderful and rewarding experiences that your new dog brings into your life in no time!