Shopping for Your New Dog or Puppy


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Photo c/o Flickr user tibchris

This week on the Behavior & Training blog we'll be talking about steps pet owners can take to ensure a smooth transition when welcoming a new dog or puppy into the family.

Bringing a new dog or puppy into the family home is an exciting event. From the time you select your new puppy or dog until the time you bring her home, it is likely that you are imagining a deep and trusting friendship with a new canine companion, a lifetime of wonderful shared experiences and adventures. It is easy, amidst our excitement, to forget about lying the foundation for this new life through preparation.

Go shopping: Before you bring your dog home, you will want to purchase a number of items so that you are well-prepared for her arrival. I recommend purchasing, at a minimum:

  • A crate
  • At least one KONG Dog Toy (KONGs are available in many sizes and strengths, ask your local pet retailer what would be best for your dog).
  • Nature's Miracle or other enzymatic cleaner - even when rescuing a potty-trained adult dog, there is a chance that your new dog will have accidents in her new home. If she has already been potty-trained, she will probably transfer that knowledge to her new home relatively quickly, provided that you are reinforcing the desired behavior of appropriate elimination. Not sure how to potty train your new dog or puppy? Check out How to Potty Train Your Puppy the Clicker Way, an article I wrote for Karen Pryor Clicker Training with potty training techniques which are effective both in puppies and adult dogs.
  • Dog food - ask your new dog's breeder, rescue, or shelter organization what type of food they are currently feeding the dog. If you decide you would like to change the dog's diet, you will want to purchase one bag of the current food and one bag of your new food, gradually transitioning the dog from old to new food by increasing the proportion of new food to old food until the dog has fully transitioned.
  • Leash, collar/harness, name tags, poop bags.
  • A soft bed, blanket, or towel for her to rest on.
  • Lots of great treats!
  • A clicker
  • A treat bag
  • Chew items - bully sticks, pressed rawhide, and marrow bones can make great chew toys and chewing can be soothing to a dog adjusting in a new environment. My personal preference is for chews that are made in the U.S.A.
  • Safe containment - how will you keep your dog safe in your yard? If your yard is not fully fenced, purchase a long line or tether.

Tomorrow, we'll learn more about additional preparations you should make before bringing your new dog or puppy home.

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