We all have such high hopes when we decide to bring a new pet into our homes. You might have visions of walks in the park and throwing a ball, and in the evening, your best friend lying quietly at your side while you watch TV. Unfortunately, our pets do not come into our homes ready to blend right in. They often need extra time, attention and love in the early days as acclimating to a new home can be very stressful.
This is true for the new member of the family, as well as for yourself. How can we prepare for the smoothest possible transition? There are a number of ways that you can help them become the best pet they can be while keeping your stress levels low as well. They want nothing more than to make you happy.
Consistency & Routine
Our four-legged friends are just like us when it comes to routine. It gives everyone a sense of security and normalcy. When we are consistent with the way we interact with our puppies, they know what to expect which greatly reduces stress levels. Make sure everyone is using the same commands and that pet behavior expectations are the same with every family member.
When you really pay attention to your dog, you will soon learn those very subtle ways that they express their emotions. Oftentimes, just a slight movement of the head can indicate stress, and by learning these clues you can help your puppy remain calm. Try to understand their fears and don’t force them into a confrontation which can result in behavior problems in the future.
Understand ahead of time that training requires time to solidify the behavior you are trying to teach. This is especially true for those things that dogs naturally love to do like digging or chewing. Puppies learn quickly with consistent training while older dogs will probably require more time and attention. Puppy training can be very rewarding because bad habits have not been deeply ingrained. They are just babies however, so it’s best to expect some childish behavior.
You Catch More Flies With Honey
Rather than being very loud and intimidating with your displeasure, trying a stern look with a disapproving, but gentle, “bad dog” when they make mistakes. At the same time when they do something right, lavish on the praise and love. Really instill a deep memory of those great feelings they will be experiencing when they do as you have asked.
Do Not Praise Anxiety
Allow the dog to experience new things in their own time, don’t force them into uncomfortable situations, such as meeting other dogs until they are ready. At the same time, don’t encourage the nervous or fearful behaviour. Using encouraging words or reasoning doesn’t work with dogs so saying things like ‘there, there you’re ok’ will tell them it’s ok to be fearful, not help them to relax and adjust!
These methods will get you off to a great start to your life with your new pet. It won’t be long, and they will find their place, and you will learn to know each other very well. There will be many ball-throwing sessions and walks on the beach to share in the future.
Need a little help with puppy training? We can show you how to be the best dog parent possible. Register for our Puppy Basic Training for puppies 7-17 weeks of age. Starts Tuesday, February 18 for three weeks from 5:45-6:45pm. Cost: $75 book before January 31 and receive $10 off! Call 778.433.2267 to register.