Clear the Shelters Day is Aug. 19! Many of you may be considering picking up a new member for the family, but there are a few things you should get to help integrate your new dog into your household.
Click here to learn more about Clear the Shelters.
And be sure to check out these general tips for bringing your dog home after you are done shopping!
A crate works well with your dog’s natural instinct to have a den. A crate should be large enough so that your dog can stand up, turn around and lay back down. Make sure you provide a comfy bed or blanket in the crate as well.
You’ll want to give your dog his own spot in each room you hang out in. You may want a bed for the living room and another for the kitchen. Beds don’t have to be expensive; a large blanket folded over several times makes a nice bed, and you can buy used blankets and comforters secondhand.
Bowls for Water and Food
Sounds obvious, but the choices can be overwhelming. If your dog eats too quickly, you may need a slow feeder bowl.
Keep in mind your dog might have preferences for types of material. He may not like a shiny metal bowl, but prefers a non-reflective ceramic dish instead.
As you get to know your dog better, you will better be able which type of bowl will be best for him. Start with a dishwasher safe, stainless steel or ceramic bowl. And you might want a mat to absorb splashes under the water bowl too!
Interactive Puzzle Toys
These provide mental stimulation and environmental enrichment for your dog. Check out the Kong Wobbler, or the Nina Ottosson Treat Maze. There are many different ones available.
Mental stimulation is as important for your dog as physical exercise, and it can be as tiring as well. Feeding through puzzle toys can occupy him while you try to prepare dinner for the family, or visit with guests. Working for his dinner gives your dog a job to do.
You will want to teach your dog what is and isn’t appropriate to chew on in his new home. By providing plenty of appropriate things to chew on, you can prevent him from making mistakes, and discovering how good it feels to chew on the coffee table.
Choose real, dried out body parts for your dog to chew on and skip the plastic bones. Pigs ears, Bully sticks, Beef Tracheas, and Cow hooves are all good choices. Raw marrow bones and knuckle bones are a good choice as well.
These usually come frozen, and you give them to your dog raw and frozen.
A Red Rubber Kong
Stuff this with yummy things (traditionally peanut butter) for your dog to extract from the center. It provides an outlet for chewing and its fun to chase because of its irregular bouncing movements. You can also pack it with things like canned dog food or low-fat plain yogurt and then freeze it solid for a longer chewing session.
Avoid foods that contain Corn, Wheat, and Soy. You’ll also want to avoid vague descriptions like “animal fat” (what kind of animal?) and added sugar. Dogs like sweet stuff but they certainly don’t need sugar added to their food!
Meat should be the first ingredient you see listed, and the following 8 to 10 ingredients should be things that you recognize and can pronounce.
You can also consult The Whole Dog Journal (a monthly publication available in print or online) for a list of high-quality canned and dry foods to feed.
A Front Clip Harness And 6-Foot Leash
Harnesses, such as the Freedom No pull Harness, the Balance Harness or the Perfect Fit Harness, work to reduce pulling by having the leash clip on your dog’s chest rather than behind his shoulders.
Avoid products that work to reduce pulling by applying pain, such as a prong collar. A flexi-leash can inadvertently reinforce pulling, so choose a regular 6-foot leash instead.
Dog Treats And A Clicker
You’ll need to do some training with your new dog, and force-free clicker training is a good choice for establishing the basics and building a good relationship with your new dog.
If your dog has previously been trained with methods that used pain, intimidation or punishment, you’ll want to show your dog that in his new world, none of those things will happen any more.
Have a variety of toys for your dog: rope toys, squeaky toys, crinkly toys, tennis balls, rubber balls. You don’t know what his preferences will be.
The simplest and least expensive toy you can give your dog is a water bottle stuffed in a sock – dogs seem to love it!
Playing with your dog is an important part of relationship building.
Environmental Calming Aids
Remember, the re-homing process can be stressful for a dog. Providing a calm home environment will help your dog through the transition.
• Lavender Aromatherapy: available as a candle or room spray
• Through A Dog’s ear music CD’s available at www.throughadogsear.com
• DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone): available as a Plug In or room spray