Homeward bounding: making your new dog feel at home
Your new pooch is counting on you to provide the right nutrition, socialization, healthcare and grooming. Here are some tips to help the transition a little easier:
Exploring his new home
The first day you bring your new pet home is special, so make sure you get some time aside to create a calm, happy homecoming. If you have small children, let them know that your fun, new family member has feelings like theirs, and that if they treat him with love and gentleness he’ll return the favor.
Remember that the home you’re used to is all new to your dog. Depending on his personality, he may bound in, wet nose first, and sniff out everything and everyone with a happy wag, or he might need a little time in a private place to take it all in. Either way, it’s his time frame. Just let him know he’s safe.
If you already have a pet, introductions should be gradual and supervised. Until you’re comfortable that the pets will get along, it may be best to keep your new addition in a dog-proofed area or crate when you’re not available to supervise. Be sure your original pet continues to receive the attention he’s used to so no one feels left out; you don’t need jealousy spoiling a budding friendship.
Have teeth, will chew
You live in a house, but your dog thinks it’s a toy box. With time and training, he’ll come to recognize the difference between a pull toy and your favorite shoes, but at first it’s a good idea to move anything you value out of paws reach. Hide electrical cords behind furniture and make sure your plants are out of range, because some may be poisonous to pooches. Keep plenty of toys around as substitutes for couch legs. And you may find that you need to section off a dog-free zone with a doggie gate, just until he gets the hang of things. Or consider crate training to limit his options for mischief, as well as provide a private getaway.
Take a look in the fridge—your diet has a lot of variation. But nearly all of your dog’s nutrition comes from a single source, which must provide the proteins, fats, amino acids and minerals he needs to grow and stay healthy. So it’s important that you choose a specialty pet food, one that contains high-quality proteins from real meats and easily digestible grains, like rice. Remember, your dog also needs food that fits his lifestyle, age and specific needs.
Newly weaned puppies need to eat three times a day; older pups only twice. You can feed your adult dog either once or twice a day. If you’re in doubt about what meal times and amounts are best, consult your vet or one of the associates at PetSmart. Between-meal snacks are a great to treat and train your dog, but make sure they’re of the canine kind. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and almost anything you like to snack on will disagree with his tummy—right before it disagrees with your carpet.
Use the PetSmart Specialty Pet Food Nutrition Center to find the right food for your dog.
Nothing says home like your own special bed. So if you want to keep yours special, along with any other off-limits furniture, get your dog a bunk of his own. He’ll love having his own spot to relax. Is your pal a cuddler, a curler or a stretcher? Choose between nest beds, cuddlers or pillow beds to fit his sleeping style and size. If in doubt about size, a bigger bed is better.
All dogs need some exercise to stay healthy and happy. How much is dependent on their age and energy. Before yours takes you out for a walk, be sure to get a lead, collar and that absolutely essential ID tag.
What goes in must come out—what’s really important is where. Whether you have a new puppy-in-training or an older dog who’s unsure of the proper potty place, accidents will happen. So you need three things: potty pads, stain and odor remover, and patience.
Develop a better understanding
When you best friend belongs to a different species, your relationship improves as you learn the reasons behind specific behaviors, as well as what your dog needs. It’s a good idea to pick up a puppy or dog care book.