You’re excited for the arrival of your new pup. You have all the necessary, and maybe some unnecessary, gear. (Did you really need matching sweaters?) You’re ready for hiking, camping, ball-throwing and cuddles. Lots of cuddles. Unfortunately, your new dog may feel like he’s just landed on an alien planet. Your house is strange, the smells are different. Everyone is reaching for him and he’s not so sure about the new sweater. Here are seven tips to help your pup settle in for the first three days.
1. Let your pup approach at his own pace
Reaching hands and hugs might be overwhelming at first. Sit quietly and let your pup approach you. Let him solicit affection. If he comes in for the pets and affection, you’re golden! If he backs away, let him. No one likes an ‘Elmyra.’
2. Don’t be stingy with the treats
Help your dog make a positive association with you and your family right away. Look for any behaviors you like and give treats generously. Nothing says ‘these people are awesome’ like dehydrated sardines from the Feed Store.
3. Go on short walks in quiet places
This is not the time to take your new dog to crowded Rendezvous events. Give him some time to settle into his new surroundings before introducing him to new and challenging surroundings. Your dog may not understand the fun in chainsaw chucking just yet.
4. Skip the welcome party
You want to show off your new pup to your friends and you can absolutely do that. Just wait a week until your pup has settled in. Treat your new dog like an introverted roommate. He warms up to one friend at a time, but is totally awkward at dinner parties. Invite friends over in small numbers to start.
5. Set up a crate, pen, or separate area and make it fun
Everyone wants their own space for some ‘me time’ and your dog is no different. This is where you will feed all meals, puzzle toys, chews and stuffed kongs. Your pup needs a safe place to stay when you’re out and it’s important to create a positive association with this space while you’re home.
6. Potty train right away
Don’t let your pup out of your sight and let him out often. Ignore this advice and you’ll be in deep shit, literally. Bring your pup outside, on-leash, to a designated potty area. Once your pup has gone potty, praise and let them explore. This will teach your pup to potty right away. Hint: this will be very handy at -30 degrees.
7. Introduce other pets carefully
If you have existing pets, they may feel like their space is being invaded by a fuzzy stranger. Use baby gates and barriers to allow pets to see one another without being ‘up in each other’s business.’ Take dogs for a leashed walk outside on neutral ground before bringing them inside. If you have tiny dictators with claws, by which I mean cats, you’ll want to separate them from your new pup for a few days.