Column: Bringing your dog back home

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Having chosen a dog, its essential to be prepared before bringing them home. The whole family needs to agree and be on the same page regarding house rules.

Who will be the main person responsible for the dog, to feed and walk them. Can you agree where they sleep, will they be allowed on the bed or the couch? You need to be stocked up in advance on canine supplies such as bowls, bed, food and toys plus stain and odour removers for the inevitable. Possibly some baby gates to block off sections of the house. Puppy proof the house creating safe places and gating off areas where they can’t get to and damage your belongings or chew something that could damage the dog: electric cables, medicines, toxic plants. Ideally take time off work to get them settled in, to build a bond with them and start training including toilet training. You may need to look for and arrange home care cover for times you may not be able to be there. Check out dog walkers or day care. Do your research carefully before entrusting your dogs care to others. They may not handle your dog how you would like. More research is then needed to find a good trainer. Dog training is unregulated and anyone can call themselves a dog trainer. Another whole article in itself but basically you need someone who helps guide you using positive training. No matter who recommends them, avoid those who use any fear, pain or intimidation or use out dated phrases like “pack leader” or “domination”. Visit and observe the trainer in action to make sure you are comfortable with what they say and do. Plan the trip home, it takes two, one to concentrate on the driving and one to reassure and soothe the dog, as well as prevent them hopping around the car if you don’t use a crate to secure them. Once the dog is home take time to settle everyone down before the real work begins. Time to take care of them.