You made the decision to get a new dog. What should you do to make the introduction and transition to his or her new home go as seamlessly as possible? You don’t want to have to take your new friend into the pet store on your way home and have his first outing when the two of you haven’t had a chance to bond. This could be scary for the dog, going to a strange place with a person he just met. Things will go more smoothly if you have some supplies at home waiting and at the ready. I recommend the following.
#1. A bag of the food your dog will eat.
You don’t want your first day with your new dog to involve dragging him to the pet store, so that you can read 20 plus bags of dog food and decide which is the most suitable. Or even worse, feeding him people food until you can get to the store for the appropriate food. And no, people food is not the appropriate food.
#2. A collar with identification tags.
You will need a way to control and identify your new family member. Ask the person you are getting your dog from, what size is correct. Many snap-in collars are adjustable to cover several sizes. The adjustable size is especially good for puppies. It will limit the number of collars you need to buy as puppy grows. An ID tag is essential. Your new dog is most likely to get lost in the first few days, before he knows you and his new home.
#3. A leash.
The leash is used to control your dog and keep him safe. It is a lifeline between him and you, and can be used to communicate what you want as well. It can even be used inside the house to keep the dog where you can watch him.
#4. Food and water bowls.
Your new friend will need something to eat from. Metal is sturdy and long-lasting. Water should be available to the dog at all times. If your dog or puppy is prone to spilling, he does not need water when in his crate, but should be given access to water frequently.
This is very important for a new dog. It confines the dog when you cannot watch him. It is a good place for him to sleep. Not only does it keep him from damaging your home, it keeps him safe from things like electrical cords that he could chew. Most dogs feel safe in their crates. It is a good place for them to eat as well as sleep. He may not need the crate forever, but it can save a lot of grief as you transition to your new life together.
These can be used to bribe your dog to go into his crate, to distract him while you take away something he shouldn’t have, and to reward him for following commands. My dogs will fly into their crates to get a mere crumb from a treat!
#7. Paper Towels
These will be for cleaning up any potty accidents that occur. Most dogs will have at least a few accidents until they learn where you want them to do their business. If you are bringing home a puppy, get lots of paper towels! House training a puppy does not happy overnight.
With careful planning, introducing the dog into his new home will go more smoothly. You can keep a cool head if you have what you need at hand. Good luck, your new best friend will change your life!