Bringing your new dog home
Bringing a dog or puppy home for the first time is tremendously exciting, but requires certain planning. At Purina you can find everything you need to know about bringing your new dog home.
BEFORE BRINGING YOUR NEW DOG HOME
As soon as your new dog sticks its nose through the front door, you will forget all about the required administrative procedures; which is why it’s better to get organized before the arrival of your new dog or puppy. There are some things that you must take care of before your dog’s arrival, so that you can give it your whole attention during its first days at home:
- When getting a dog, it’s a good idea to find out who the best local vet is and register immediately (if you're not already registered). It’s better to do this as soon as possible, just in case your dog gets sick, needs more vaccines or has to be sterilized.
- Take the time to ask your vet about insurance policies that cover medical veterinary expenses when necessary.
- It is important for your new dog to socialize with other dogs and with humans. Your vet will know about the classes for the youngest puppies, and may even be the one who directs them. Classes for puppies are very fun, and both participating dogs and their owners often make friends forever. Make sure beforehand that they only carry out reward-based training, and not methods that involve punishment such as blows, choker collars or those with military-type spikes. If you are going to adopt an adult dog, the rescue center may be able to recommend you a professional coach.
- You are legally obliged to put an ID tag on your dog's collar, which must be worn at all times when in public places so it can be identified. You can implant your dog with an ID microchip, which is a painless procedure that many vets carry out in no more than seconds.
Once you have done all the administrative procedures, it’s time to make shopping-list for your new puppy. This can be a lot of fun and you will need a lot of willpower to avoid buying the whole store! Although it can be tempting to buy lots of new things for your new dog, you should start with the following:
- Two bowls: one for food and one for water. They can be ceramic or stainless steel, as long as they are easy to clean.
- A nylon or leather collar and leash. We recommend using a retractable leash to avoid pulling and tugging when teaching your dog to walk on a leash.
- Grooming accessories.
- Some safe, fun and stimulating toys.
- A bed. There is a wide range of beds for dogs, from which you can choose the most suitable one for your dog’s size and temperament (some are easier to destroy than others!). Whichever type you choose, put it in a warm and quiet place, without drafts.
- A metal indoors cage or kennel. Often, puppies like the security of boxes to make their own lair. If you put a blanket over it and its bed inside, it will become its safe place to hide and rest whenever it needs peace and quiet. Kennels also help speed up the process of adapting to the house, since puppies rarely find their special spot on the ground.
- Food. Ask what kind of food your puppy was fed by the breeder or shelter and follow the same diet for at least a week. Afterwards, you can gradually change its formula if you want or need to.
ONCE THE DOG IS HOME
Finally the day has come! Everyone will be impatient and wanting to play with the newest member of the family. Make sure you give your new furry friend a little time to get its bearings and it will immediately feel at home.
Now that your new dog is home, there are some things you have to do:
- Make sure you spend time with the newcomer to help it adapt to its new environment and establish a daily routine. Work from home or take some days off so you can share this important time with your new pet.
- Choose its name. One of the many fun things about getting a new dog is finding a name for it with your family. When you have found the perfect name, start using it as soon as possible and every time you interact with it. It will recognize you right away and learn to respond you when you call him.
- Establish a list of rules. It is important that all family members respect them, or your dog will get confused (for example, when one family member lets the dog on the couch and another doesn’t). Puppies can develop shameless habits very easily if you are not careful; for example, if you allow them to beg at the table once, they will bother you at every meal. You also have to establish some rules for the human members of the family. For example, if you know that your dog likes to chew on objects, don’t blame it if you leave a pair of expensive sneakers out, or a cell phone within its reach.
- Keep calm. It is very easy to overload your new dog with too much attention, especially the younger members of the family. While your new puppy is getting used to its surroundings, always watch over excitable children and give the dog enough time to relax.
- Devote quality time to your new puppy. Even if it means taking a few days off to welcome your puppy and help it adapt, as it must get used to staying alone for short periods of time that you will lengthen progressively. You don’t your return to work to be a shock, or get home to find all your furniture nibbled by an anxious and frightened pet.
- If you are going to adopt a dog from a shelter, talk to the staff to get an idea of your new pet’s preferences. There may be something you can do or give your dog to help it adapt faster.
- Remember that your pet may feel a bit overwhelmed by all the excitement and changes that it’s going through, so it may be a little withdrawn at the beginning. Soon it will feel and behave like a member of the family, but if you notice that its withdrawn behavior continues, consult your vet.
Your breeder and vet will be happy to help and give you advice about looking after your new dog or puppy, and regarding its health and adaptation period. All you have to do now is enjoy getting to know your dog, playing, training, having fun with it and watching it grow up into your best friend.