Christmas is past as is the New Year. Friends and family have gone to their respective homes, and your house is now back to “normal. The chaos is now ordered, those threatening and/or tempting packages have been opened, the tree is taken down, those dangerous electrical cords are rolled up and put away, and those foods, that could be dangerous, are eaten or placed in safe places. These are just a few of the things that lead animal consultants to discourage bringing home pets for Christmas.
There are so many things during the holidays that can begin a new pet’s life, in your home, that begins its life with high stress and fear. When an animal begins its living in a high stress environment behavioral issues develop later, and oftentimes sooner.
Perhaps some took my advice and rather than bring a pet home for Christmas, you wrapped up a plush toy, with a note promising a pet after Christmas, and gave that as a gift. Now, after the holidays are past, you can fulfill that promise as a family activity. You may have done your research and decided what you kind of pet you are going to want. You may love Mastiffs, but if you are in a two bedroom home or apartment, that would not work well. Be sure the family is on the same page. Remember, you will have this pet for a long time and the decision deserves being well thought out. You now know if you are going to get a puppy, an older dog, or a dog that has special needs. Each of these require planning.
After you have made your decision, the first thing you will do is pet-safe your home. On your hands and knees crawl through your house and see what your pet will see. Protect those electrical cords and close off the fireplace. Decide where your feeding area will be. Choose your pet food wisely. Don’t buy the cheapest food on the market. Read the labels, talk to a nutritionist, and buy a food that is best for your dog, not your wallet. Do your homework and decide where you will take your pet for medical care. Visit various veterinarian clinics. Schedule your new pet’s needed shots.
Having those concerns out of the way turn your attention to bringing your new pet home. If it is a puppy I strongly suggest you to have a crate for it. The crate will provide a safe place for puppy. Decide where the crate will be placed. I suggest it be placed in a family area. The crate will also provide a base from which you will house train puppy. I would use a crate from your dog no matter what its age may be. You can purchase a medium sized crate or large crate so Fido has plenty of room. These often come with a divider so you can begin with a smaller space and enlarge it as puppy grows. Place bedding in the crate that has been used by family members. Have toys and treats in the crate. Place bite size treats (I recommend boiled chicken, not kibble) from the door to the crate. Plan to make this new home the best place in the world from the start. You are now ready to bring puppy home.
You must remember, from the moment you pick puppy up you begin its training. Watch for car sickness on the trip home. Too much handling in the car may cause puppy to get sick. This is all new and puppy may be stressed. Where you place puppy in the car is often the place he will now ride in the car.
When you get home put puppy on the ground to see if it has potty needs. Open the door and place puppy at the line of treats and let puppy follow the treats into his crate. Take puppy outside again to the area you most want it to go potty. You may play, outside, with him until he relieves himself. This is the beginning of you house training.
What is important regarding the crate is, 1. All good things go in the crate. I suggest you feed puppy in the crate. 2. If puppy is in the crate no one should bother him. Until puppy is housetrained the crate door is shut if he is in the crate. Do not remove him from the crate unless he is calm. Housetraining and crate training are for another article. I am here just addressing bringing puppy home.
This article is short and basic. Other trainers would expand this. I fully realize this is not comprehensive. But I do trust these thoughts are helpful to my readers. If I can be of further or specific help feel free to contact me.
I trust your pet is that one in a million.