Bringing a new dog home can be challenging, especially for first time dog owners. Whatever challenges you are facing be sure to know you are not alone. If you hop onto our DogTime Facebook page you’ll meet lots of other dog owners with tons of advice and support for you. If that’s not enough, here are suggestions for coping with a few of the challenges most common to new dog owners. You’re going to do great!
Your dog barks and cries when left alone.
Best guess: Insecurity
Solution: Dogs are pack animals and a new dog in a new place is going to feel alone, afraid, and sad sometimes. Consider taking a few days off from work to spend with your new pup, or work from home if you can for the first week. Your pup will adjust to living in your home but give him or her some time. Try giving your pup smart toys that engage their mind when you are away and start by taking short trips outside. Just a few minutes and coming back with lots of love and treats. Increase the time to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Always returning with love and reassurance that you missed your pup as much as they missed you. Some dogs have a bigger problem with separation anxiety and you may want to talk to your vet or consult with a trainer.
Your dog throws up and develops diarrhea.
Best guess: Anxiety and/or a change in diet
Solution: First you’ll want to rule out exposure to any toxins. Make sure you are aware of the human foods that are toxic to dogs and that your home is dog or puppy proofed so that your pup can’t reach any cleaners, chemicals or plants that might be toxic to a dog.
Keep the first few days at home low-key but structured, following a reliable walk-eat-play routine. Find out what what your dog is used to eating, try to feed your dog the same food, and gradually switch over to the dog food of your choice. If the vomiting or diarrhea is severe or doesn’t go away quickly, see a vet.
You’re up half the night listening to your dog whine and cry in his crate.
Best guess: Scared and alone in a strange place, face it–your pup is a bit freaked out.
Solution: First of all make your new pup feel at home by letting him or her sleep in your bedroom with you. If your dog sleeps in a crate, bring the crate next to your bed so you can lay side by side and your pup can hear you breathing and moving around. Make sure your pup isn’t trying to tell you that he or she needs a potty break and make sure they have a comfortable bed or blanket to sleep on. It’s also important to make sure that your new pup gets enough exercise every day so he or she is tuckered out at the end of the day and ready for bed. It won’t last forever, it just takes a little time for your pup to adjust to his or her new home.
In the time it takes you to answer the doorbell or check your email, your dog chews the TV remote, the couch cushions, and your favorite running shoes.
Best guess: You’ve adopted a chewing fiend/nervous/new teeth coming in
Solution: Make sure your pup has plenty of doggie toys and things to chew on. Be sure to keep things like remote controls and cellphones up high where your new pup can’t reach them. You may need to make a special puppy play area in your home so your pup doesn’t have access to the whole house or close bedroom doors to keep your pup from finding shoes and other things to chew on. If the behavior is extreme you’ll definitely want to work with a trainer but I promise, you can stop your dog from chewing. You just need to give it time and work on it.
You take your dog off-leash and he disappears.
Best guess: Your house isn’t “home” yet to your dog
Solution: First of all you should always keep your dog on a leash when you go outside. Off leash dog parks are not the place for you and your new dog. You need to give your new pup time to adjust before you start going places like that. Make sure that your yard is secure so your dog cannot escape and don’t leave a new dog outside alone for hours on end. It’s just not safe. Obviously you need to make sure your new dog is microchipped and fitted with the proper tags (it’s nearly impossible to have him memorize your phone number). Never take your tags off of your dog. Tags are not just for when you go on a walk. Dogs can escape houses and yards so your dog should wear tags 24/7/365.
You wonder if you did the right thing getting a dog–particularly this dog.
Best guess: It will all work out fine. You’re adjusting to a new responsibility and lifestyle.
Solution: Don’t stress–it’s quite common to have some doubts in the beginning (especially if your pup howls when left alone or is frightened by common household sounds). Just hang in there. Chances are, you’ll soon wonder how you ever survived your boring dog-deprived former life. Everything takes time. Talk to other people with pets, join online communities and follow facebook pages that will help you adjust to your new life. You have a lot to learn but it’s so worth it!