1. How Much Time Do You Have For A Dog?
Before getting a dog, make sure you have the time for one. You should have a clear idea of your family’s activity level, and how much time you have to dedicate to training and enrichment activities. Examples of enrichment activities with your dog include:
- Exploring a new park together.
- Hiding their food bowl for dinner time.
- Teaching them new tricks and games.
You will want to make sure your dog’s energy and needs will be compatible with what you can give. Dog’s age, breed, and upbringing can contribute to their overall behavior.
2. Go Get A Dog Crate Immediately
The dog crate is AMAZING! It’s a great tool to help with housetraining young puppies as well as adult dogs. Crates also help keep your house safe while your new dog is adjusting to their new environment and learning what types of behaviors are acceptable in their new home. You should treat any new dog in your household as if they aren’t house trained initially.
3. Do Thorough Research On Dog Breeders Beforehand
If you are planning on getting your dog from a breeder, be sure to research the breeder diligently. Many behavioral and genetic problems can crop up from poorly bred dogs. A few basics things to keep in mind are:
- You should be able to see the ENTIRE area where dogs are kept.
- You should see plenty of enrichment for puppies.
- Both parents demeanor and behavior are indicative of their puppies behavior.
- If for whatever reason you are unable to keep your dog at any age, your breeder should be willing to take your dog back.
4. Remember, Good Dog Breeders Will Interview You Too
Reputable breeders care about each and every one of their puppies. So, you should feel very comforted if they want to know what kind of home they will be sending their puppy to. The breeder should ask you many questions regarding:
- Your daily routine,
- where the puppy will be staying,
- and, how much time you have to dedicate to training and care.
Many reputable breeders have waiting lists for their puppies, and that is a good sign. The AKC has a list of breeders they recommend, which is a good place to start.
5. Consider Adopting Your Dog From A Dog Rescue Or Pet Shelter
Dog adoption is a great way to get a dog, and help your community too. If you are looking for a specific breed, but would like to rescue an adult dog or puppy, breed specific rescues are the place to look. There are dog rescues out there for almost every breed of dog.
Of course, you can always find a great dog or puppy at your local shelter as well. Mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier, and will fill your life with just as much joy as a pure bred dog. Many people get nervous getting a dog from a shelter because they don’t know their history.
All dogs, even dogs from reputable breeders, have their quirks. You are not guaranteed a behaviorally and physically sound dog because you got them from a breeder. In my time working with dogs, I have yet to see a difference behaviorally from pure bred dogs and mixes.
6. Consider Adopting An Older Dog
You can teach an old dog new tricks, we do it all the time. Older dogs have a lot of perks. Older dogs tend to get looked over, but these are my favorite dogs to adopt. My favorite age is 5 years old. Older dogs are just as easily trained as puppies. They still like to play, and you tend to miss some of the tough adolescent ages from about 1-3 years old a.k.a. a dog’s “teenage years”. I have trained plenty of dogs with no previous training or skills that are well over 5 or 6.
7. Be Careful Integrating The New Dog Into Your Home
If you are bringing a new dog into a household with other pets, the best thing you can do is take it slowly. If that pet is another dog, it is good if possible to have them meet at a neutral location, or take them on a walk together.
Make sure when walking them you have one person for each dog, start out with some distance between them then work up to getting them closer. Taking it slow might mean waiting several weeks before fully integrating them into your house together. This is also a great time to find a great trainer to work with.
8. Find A Good Certified Dog Trainer
You want a dog trainer that has you and your dog’s best interest at heart. Don’t follow sales tactics blindly – ask questions!
You should look for a dog trainer that talks about:
- teaching your dog to make choices on their own.
- setting your dog up for success in socialization and behavior.
- addressing the root of behavioral issues in your dog or puppy.
Training is one of the most important things you can do to help your new dog settle in. It’s more than just working on behaviors you would like to see from them during their life with you. You want to look for a dog trainer who wants to make training and learning fun for both you and your dog.
DogBoy’s Dog Ranch has an excellent team of certified and passionate trainers. Feel free to reach out to us anytime with your questions. We are glad to help whether you decide to go with our training program or not.
If you prefer to do research on your own first, you can find information on trainers in your area through:
- The APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers)
- CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers)
- PPG (Pet Professionals Guild)
- KPA (Karen Pryor Academy)
9. Be Patient With The Process
The honeymoon phase is the time right after you get your new dog, which can last from a few weeks to several months. During this time, you tend to see a lot of behavioral changes in your dog from good behaviors to not so great behaviors. This is normal. They are trying to adjust to their new life, and figure out what is appropriate and what isn’t.
Most of the time, even the not so great behaviors are normal dog behaviors. Have patience, keep training, and working with your new dog to build your relationship and their understanding.
10. Plan Ahead For Dog Boarding
Make sure you have a plan for when you go out of town, or might need your dogs out of your house.A great boarding facility and daycare can really help you out. Always research your facility. You should be able to tour the entire facility – at least where the dogs go. The staff should be knowledgeable about dog behavior and basic health needs.
We don’t like to brag, but DogBoy’s Dog Ranch covers all of these bases and more.
11. Get KONGS To Feed Your Dog.
KONGS are one of the best tools to have on hand. I recommend at least 2 per dog in your household if not more. The classic style is the way to go. You can get some here.
I like to put loose treats in first, and you can even mix in some of their dry food. Then I top it with canned food, peanut butter, easy cheese, or plain yogurt and freeze it. This is a great way to give your dog something to do, while building problem solving skills and teaching them to chew on something appropriate.
12. Know Your Dog Gear And What The Benefits Are
Some of my go-to gear includes:
- Front clip harnesses (also known as no-pull harnesses) – these are better options for leash pullers than the harnesses that clip on your dog’s back (which, by the way, actually give your dog more leverage and make them stronger!).
- Martingale collars (Also known as no slip collars) – these are great for dogs that like to back out of their collars.
- 6 foot leashes- I really try to avoid flexi-leads for several reasons, but mainly they are just dangerous to dogs and people.
- Poop bags – don’t ask questions, just do it. Everyone else will thank you for being a responsible pet owner and picking up after your dog!
13. Find A Good Vet BEFORE Getting Your Dog.
Ask your friends for veterinarian referrals! You are trusting them with your dog’s well being, so you should definitely be on the same page. Ask questions, so you know what your dog will need initially before you even get them. Something can go wrong the first day you have your dog, so having a veterinarian that you trust to contact is of the utmost importance.
14. Consider Your Family
Are you planning on having kids or do you already have kids? You will likely have your dog for 10-15 years. Several things can change in that time frame, so make sure you are planning ahead. A great website to help with dog and kid interactions is stopthe77.com.
15. Give DogBoy’s Dog Ranch A Call TODAY
DogBoy’s Dog Ranch is dedicated to strengthening the human-dog bond through education, care and play. Contact us today with any questions you have about getting a new dog. We love helping people be the best dog owners they possibly can be. Our experienced team of trainers and staff are passionate about helping you.
Puppy by Jonathan Kriz
Labrador… by simonpbriggs1975
dog by Martin Astley
…kong… by jespahjoy