Take a Walk with your New Dog Before he Walks through the Front Door

“Can we Keep him Mom? Can we?!” If you find yourself bringing home a new dog, whether premeditated or compelled, here are some important first steps to take to help your dog make a healthy transition into your home.

It is tempting to say yes to the wide eyed orphaned pet on your doorstep in need of a warm loving home, but is it a match made in heaven or disaster waiting to happen? Whether you have spent hours researching and shopping for the perfect pet or it was love at first sight, there are some important considerations to make before you can live happily ever after.

An essential element to establishing security in your home and in your pet is to be a strong pack leader. Dogs are not humans and therefore have a different way of socializing and relating to the other members of the family than most pet owners are aware of. Understanding this is the key to successful communication with your pet and his ability to fulfill the expectations you have for him.

When you arrive home for the first time with your bundle of joy, keep him on a leash without giving him free reign of the house just yet. You may think that your new pal is just as excited as you are to make himself at home, but the new surroundings and foreign smells can cause some anxiety until he understands his place in it all especially if there are other pets in the home. His first few moments will create a lasting impression on your pets mind.

To get things off on the right paw, take your pet for a nice energetic walk before entering the home for the first time. Allow him to get familiar with the sights and smells of his new territory. Make certain that your dog does not walk ahead which indicates that he is viewing himself as the pack leader instead of you. Since dogs are migrant animals, walking together is in their nature. As you walk your dog on a daily basis you will build trust.

Finally it is time to arrive at your home sweet home. Walk up to your door and give your dog the sit command before entering. Once he shows a relaxed attitude you and other family members must enter first, with Fido behind, all the while keeping your new pal on his leash. This will further reinforce his position with in the pack. In his eyes, he must view all humans as pack leaders within the home and accept their authority over him.

As you begin your tour of the home, take your pet to his living quarters first. Have him sit in a relaxed state and wait as you provide fresh food and water. After he has dinned he should be more relaxed. You may continue your tour one room at a time, avoiding places you do not want your dog to enter. Optionally, you may say as Tom Hanks did in Turner and Hooch, “This is not your room.”┬áRepeat the pattern of having your dog sit and wait to enter the room until you have gone in first and invited him in.

When the tour is compete, it is finally time for your new dog to meet his human pack members, one at a time as with the rooms. Each family member must continue to uphold the position of pack leader by withholding affection and attention until the dog comes to them first. This further mimics the socialization techniques of dogs in nature as the pack leader does not approach his followers but the followers approach him.

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