Count on a dog marking or having accidents the first few days, even if he was house trained. Have pet-specific cleaning products on hand. Also be prepared for other transitional behavioral problems – read this guide cover to cover now, before problems occur.
Along with the rewards of having a dog come responsibilities – daily care and exercise, medical visits, obedience training and many years of commitment. Make sure you’re ready.
Owner knowledge and training is the key to a successful adoption. It’s all up to you. No one training approach is right for every dog. This guide reflects a variety of approaches based on positive reinforcement – the essence of effective training and behavior modification.
Keep an ID tag attached to a snug buckle collar on your dog at all times.
During the transition period, a dog needs time to adjust to the rules and schedule of your household. And he needs your leadership! A dog is a pack animal looking for guidance, and it is up to you to teach him good, acceptable behaviors. If the human does not take charge, the dog will try to.
A dog cannot do damage unless you let that happen. Watch your new dog during the transition period. When you can’t supervise, keep her in a kitchen, crate or other secure area with chew toys.
Keep dogs on-leash when outdoors in unfenced areas. Otherwise, you’ll have no control if your dog obeys instinct and chases a squirrel into the street…tussles with another dog…or runs after a child.
Supervise even when the dog’s in a fenced yard. If there’s a way to escape, most dogs will find it.
Remember: Many adopted dogs have not had the luck to be socialized yet. Their baggage may include unacceptable behavior. Re-educate your dog with the help of books and qualified professionals.
Don’t kiss your dog or place your face at the dog’s eye level before you’ve begun obedience training and established yourself and other humans in the home as higher up in the hierarchy. Dogs often perceive a face placed at their eye-level as a threat, and then bite.
Beware of letting your dog on your bed or furniture if you haven’t established all human family members as the leaders (“alpha”). Dominance-related problems often arise when a dog is on a higher physical level. Dogs don’t seek equality; they seek and need leadership.
Don’t issue a command unless you are in a position to enforce it. Telling a dog to do something, then not guiding him to obey if he chooses not to, teaches him to ignore you.
– Beware of sending mixed signals that bad behavior is cute or entertaining.
– Teach dogs good house manners from the start.
– For the first few days you have a dog, keep him or her in the same room with you – so that if the dog needs to potty, you can rush him outdoors…and so that if he engages in unapproved behavior, you can instantly correct the dog and substitute a more positive behavior. For example, removing the shoe from his mouth, then substituting a toy and praising.
Do not keep dogs in dark, damp basements, garages, or non-family areas; this thwarts your efforts to raise a socialized, well-behaved, house-trained animal.
Avoid using overly desirable treats such as raw hides or pig hooves. Dogs will often fight with each other over them, and even attack people they perceive might desire their treats.
Play nice: Don’t play tug-o-war, rough-house, or engage in other combative play. These practices encourage aggression and teach your dog to challenge you.
Avoid separation anxiety-related problems by practicing the tips in this guide as well as consulting other sources at the end of this guide.
Start day one by teaching your dog appropriate behavior through consistent, positive reinforcement.
Realize there is always a solution to any problem – read and consult trainers.