Congratulations – it’s a dog! Now that you’ve made the decision to add a furry friend to your family, here are some tips from Dr. Karen Lass, field veterinary services manager at Boehringer Ingelheim, for acclimating your dog to his new forever home.
1. Set house rules in advance.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of bringing a new dog home,” Dr. Lass says, “so it’s best to hold a family meeting in advance to decide who will be responsible for walks, meals, bathroom breaks and other daily activities. A solid plan will help keep stress levels low for family members and Fido alike.”
2. Provide him with the essentials.
New dog owners need to stock up on a number of products the first few months like toys, leashes, collars and food. Create your personalized NexGard® (afoxolaner) It’s a Dog! pet gift registry to help determine what you need.
3. Show him where to go.
Once he’s home, take your dog directly to his designated bathroom area and give him plenty of time to do his business. “It’s important to watch for signals that your dog needs to go,” Dr. Lass says. “One of the biggest hurdles to housebreaking is understanding how your dog communicates his need to eliminate, so pay extra attention to his demeanor when you think the need for a bathroom break is approaching.”
4. Know what to feed him.
Make sure to discuss what your dog has been eating with his previous caretakers, as well as his feeding schedule. “A change in environment alone frequently causes gastrointestinal upset, so replicating your dog’s previous eating schedule for at least the first few days will help to avoid additional and unnecessary distress,” says Dr. Lass.
5. Start off on the right paw.
Don’t hesitate to begin teaching your new dog good habits. This will prevent confusion and will make things easier in the long run. Plus, successfully teaching your dog a simple trick, like “sit,” will help build his confidence and make him feel more secure in his new environment.
6. Be loving.
Reward your dog with praise or a treat when he does something good. Cuddles and kisses are great positive reinforcement tools, too.
7. Give him time.
Moving to a new house isn’t just stressful for humans; it’s stressful for dogs, too. “Your new addition needs time to acclimate to your home and family before being introduced to strangers,” says Dr. Lass. “Keep that in mind before inviting your friends and family over to meet him.”
8. Be positive.
Your dog can sense your stress level. Make sure all family members stay positive so he feels comfortable and loved during the adjustment period.
9. Be patient.
Be reasonable with your expectations for your new dog. He wants to please you, but sometimes energy and emotions can get in the way, and that’s okay.
10. Stick to a schedule.
Dogs thrive when kept on a schedule. Make sure your dog always has the food, exercise and attention he needs to keep him happy.