Your Dog’s Friend spoke to Biotraka and offered their tips on how to get your dog onto a routine that suits the whole family.
Try to pick up your new addition in the morning and spend the rest of the day together. However tempting, don’t stay home for the first week if that’s not your normal schedule – he will have more trouble adjusting to your usual routine.
The car ride home can be a little traumatic for some dogs. Bring a few small treats so he can associate car rides with happiness which, to our canine kids, equal treats.
When you’re home, let him first explore the yard before heading inside. He will also have a chance to stretch his legs and go to the bathroom. When he does his business, reward him with praise and a treat, even if he isn’t a puppy learning. An anxious dog may have loose bowel movements even if he is older and housetrained. Consider it first week nerves and don’t yell or punish him; this will pass.
For the first few weeks, go out into the yard with your dog so you can reassure and reward him for doing his business in the right place. Again, this applies to all dogs regardless of age.
For the first week, mix the food you want to use with the food your dog was eating at the kennel, rescue, or breeder. Slowly, increase the amount of your preferred food in the mixture until the dog is only eating the food you want him to eat. This will ensure any tummy upsets are limited.
Unless you’re home all the time, your pup will need to get used to being alone. Stick to this schedule for the first week and he’ll quickly get the idea. Fence off the area he’ll be allowed to be in, make sure there are no hazards and he has access to water. Increase the time periods – i.e. 10 minutes, return to the house, then 20 minutes and so on. Try not to leave him alone for the whole day on day one.
If you’re crate training, offer treats and feed him in the crate with the door open. Gradually, close the door. Have chew toys in the crate for him, but limit to one and make sure they’re safe.
Your dog needs to be exercised regularly: about one hour walk, half hour play, and half hour mental exercise per day. If you don’t wear him out, he will wear you out!
Take your dog to the vet clinic the first week he’s home. Give him treats to reduce his fear of visiting the vet.
Try and stay on a schedule when sleeping, feeding, and walking.
Socialization and behavior
Socialization is not the same as exposure. Bad experiences can have long-lasting effects. Don’t take your new dog to a dog park as it is too overwhelming.
If your dog was mistreated in his last home, it could take him months to gain confidence. Go at his pace, and reward him generously for small steps. Forcing your dog beyond his comfort level is not a good idea.
Ask for the behavior you want from the start. For example, don’t feed your dog from the kitchen table if you don’t want your dog to beg or start ‘counter surfing.’
Ask your dog to sit before you put on his leash, feed him, or play with him.