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Preparing For Your New Dog - What You Need to Know Before He Comes Home

Preparing yourself and your household before, during, and after your pet comes home is an essential step to successfully integrating your new puppy or dog into its new environment. Give the new puppy or dog plenty of time to adjust; most experts recommend at least ten days. And, if possible, be sure to bring the extra addition at a time when you will be home for a period of two or more days in a row. These first few days are a shock and he needs a comforter to be there.

So, before you bring your new dog home, especially if it's a puppy, you'll have to prepare your house for the arrival. Buy two new bowls, one for water and another for food. The smaller the dog, the smaller the bowl needed. You may even consider a propped bowl holder, which helps lessen the stress on the animal's neck, and keeps spills from occurring as often. Be sure to place the bowls and food in another room of the house, away from other pets.

You will also want to purchase a leash for your puppy or dog. A four to six foot leash should do, even for training purposes. If you have your dog's comfort in mind, perhaps when he is trained, you may want to try a harness leash. This type of leash attaches to the dog's torso. Some newer models are made for leash training as well.

When you bring the dog home, you should have some food all ready for him. If it's a puppy, it's best to talk to a veterinarian about a brand good for puppies. The vet will make a choice based on the puppy's age, weight, and dietary needs. Never feed a puppy adult dog food, as it is not engineered for their touchy digestive systems. With an older dog, ask the shelter what brand they used for dog food. If you don't like their brand, at least take home a week's worth of their brand of food while he is getting used to his new home. Then, slowly introduce the newer type of food to his system. It's also important to be consistent with the food you give your puppy. Just as babies get colic or have other problems from using the wrong formula or changing it, puppies suffer similar problems which will make you both miserable in the end. So make sure you don't just buy the weekly special on dog food. In the end, I guarantee it will cost you more than it saves.

You are also going to need the three essential T's:

  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Training materials

Often toys are made for chewing, and it's important for your puppy to be able to chew while teething. Ropes, fleece-lined chew toys, and some rubber products make great toys for puppies. For older dogs, you might try other rubber chew toys (balls, play bones, etc.) and rawhide bones. Next, give your puppy or dog treats for successful behaviors-along with lots of petting, attention, and the repetition of his name. Be sure, however, to do this extra playtime away from other pets that were there before the new addition. Give each member five or seven minutes play intervals away from the other until they're more fully adjusted to one another. And, better yet, put up a small gate to keep the animals separated during this adjustment period.

Finally, be sure to dog-proof your home. Move all poisons, including plants (especially philodendron plants) and all cleaning supplies to a safe location. Remove pants, shoes, books and electric cords out of the puppy's reach. With an older dog, you may not have to be as careful as long as he was accustomed to living indoors. But, to be safe, you should not assume anything. And, best of all, give the puppy or dog his own space to sleep; a comfy corner away from the other animals at night.

With these precautions, you and your new friend will adjust much more smoothly together with no hard feelings.

About the Author:
Tina Spriggs is an expert dog lover whose lifelong interest in canines provides the motivation for her site. To learn more about dogs or to find gifts and toys for them visit her site at Dog Gifts and Toys for Dog Lovers.

Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

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