If someone would have delineated the following ten things one should do BEFORE even letting that rescue dog or puppy in your door I would have saved myself a lot of angst and turmoil. Allow me to stipulate in the interest of fair and honest that my only "expertise" comes not from a school of veterinary medicine or any work experience involving care of animals. All I learned I learned the very hard way from first hand experience.
Jackie is my rescue dog, obtained right after I'd lost my beloved dog of twelve years and not too long before her, my beloved husband. I was lonely and needed a dog. I did not want a puppy.
But I did get a puppy, indeed, about six months after I got Jackie, a serendipitous acquisition of no mind but I did, in fact, want TWO dogs except I didn't think I was young enough to deal with a puppy.
My daughter's dog gave birth to eleven puppies and that's how I ended up with Blanca and now with Jackie and Blanca ALMOST tame, I know the ten things I should have done before getting a dog, dogs, rescue dog or puppy.
1-GET DOWN AND LOOK AT YOUR HOUSE LIKE A DOG WOULD
Let's consider, what have I lost by not doing the above BEFORE I brought dog, and puppy, home. Trash, first thing. Never have trash anywhere around, get secure lids, best to hide behind closed door. Obviously all food stuffs should be behind closed doors and now look around the floor level of your home. What can a dog get at? Cause while YOU'RE walking around all day at window height, your dog knows the house from below.
Pay attention to not only the obvious, but what a dog sees. I kept treats in the pockets of my hoody, nothing wrong with this. But I drape the hoody over a kitchen chair and said pocket is right at a pooch's eye level. Yes, they chewed through the hoody's pockets because it was fair game, which to a dog, means accessible to them. And for God's sake forget leaving your shoes on the floor anywhere. Practice putting them away BEFORE you bring home the dog.
2-COMPILE KEY WORDS AND PHRASES TO COMMUNICATE WITH DOG(S)
I must suppose that one contemplating getting a dog is not likely to sit and create a dictionary of human-dog speak but it's a good idea. Dogs engage in behaviors that give them pleasure but NOT if it makes you mad.
What are the things you will have to tell your dog to do? Prominently on such a list would be the bathroom matter. First, where will your dog be doing its business? Let out into the yard periodically? Taken for a walk if an urban type setting? Puppies can be trained on paper or puppy-pads.
You are going to, sometimes, tell your dog to MOVE and to NOT JUMP. Whatever phrase you use to scold them-or even encourage them-use it all the time. "NO JUMP" will then always mean for the dog to not jump without concern on people. Don't say "stay down" one day then "stop jumping" the next.
Tell everyone in your family to use the same phrases as you designate and it will make human-dog communication much better.
|Jackie and Blanca|
3-CONSIDER YOUR FACIAL FEATURES WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH DOG
Not to get too anal about it, but dogs watch our faces whenever we speak to them. They may see our mouths moving but they likely understand very little of what we say. But they know a grouchy look and for sure they know a smile.
Think about giving a broad smile, practice it even, at all behaviors you want to encourage. Kind of the same thing with tone of voice.
If the pup pees on the paper, he should look up and see a broad human smile upon your face and hear a happy phrase. If the pup pees on the rug they should hear a standard phrase such as "Bad puppy doing that", he should hear a firmly angry tone and he should see a frown. Don't worry about hurting his self-esteem, get your dog to understand you and you will both have happier lives together.
4-BE PREPARED TO WATCH THEIR HABITS
You can be sure that the dog is watching YOU every second of the day (so do cats for that matter) and this is a good thing, more on this later. But in order to make life quite a bit simpler for your household, be ready to watch them and their habits.
It sounds a bit gross to watch a dog poop but go with me here, there is nothing more important to a dog than poop. It's important which dog poops where, it's important when they poop, it's important where they poop.
My dogs, as do most dogs I suspect, even our human selves, have bowel movements pretty soon after they eat. This is good to know as you then need to watch those being potty trained around meal time.
Dogs are fairly simple creature and it wouldn't take any great amount of time to mind their movements cause if they do it this way one day they will do it that way the next day.
GET A DECENT COLLAR AND LEASH
Seriously, some dogs need those leashes with the spikes on them. Blanca's father, a big lug of a male named Oreo, cannot be controlled without such a collar, he is too big and too persistent to go where he wants.
You can buy a retractable leash but only using after the dog is trained and ready for it. Otherwise get a nice sturdy collar and a leash that has a hole in which to insert your hand and wrap around your wrist as required.
Be prepared to walk the dog around the yard before taking it out into the big distracting world. They've got to learn that the tug of that leash means they are to stay where YOU are going, not go where THEY want to go.
CONSIDER A CRATE
I had to put Jackie in a crate for a couple of months after bringing her home. She had separation anxiety and tore things a part. That was a deal breaker for me so it was she stayed in a crate while I was gone or she'd have to go back to the pound.
Jackie did fine in that crate and most times went in docilely. Once I got Blanca she too had to spend time in the crate but with Jackie around she soon was okay to leave alone.
It's NOT a punishment but a source of comfort to them, they feel safe in it.
CONSIDER YOUR HABITS AND APPLY TO DOG
I like to retire to my bedroom suite around 6pm to 7pm every night. Understanding that my bedroom suite has a couch, lazy boy chair, a separate bathroom with a shower and a tub and an adjustable bed. So it's not like bedtime or anything and goodness I have the Kindle to keep me in touch on the Internet, my cell phone, a TV with DVR to watch what and when I want.
But the dogs too must retire for the night and they don't use cell phones or Kindles.
I arise in the morning around 6:30 to 7 am so that's a long time inside for the dogs.
It's my habit and I like my habits. The dogs, in exchange for food, water, love and shelter, must adjust to MY habits. I, however, need to make it easier on them.
So I feed them early by around 3:30 pm to give them plenty of time to poop, I give them bones and put out in yard…in short I try to get them fed, watered, and tired come time to retire with me to the bedroom suite for the night. Takes a while with a puppy as they have small bladders that really can't hold for too long. I had to train Blanca to use the linoleum floor of the bathroom but soon enough she was able to sleep for the twelve hours in the bedroom suite together.
CONSIDER OTHER PETS YOU HAVE AND FIGURE OUT PROBLEMS THAT MIGHT ARISE
I have three cats. These three cats too poop and eat and I am not proud of this, but every dog I've every owned LOVED to raid the cat litter box.
I managed to teach Jackie not to do this but Blanca's not so easily persuaded. Also, cats need to eat and I keep an automatic dispenser filled with dried food for my cats. Blanca wants very much to help the cats eat their dinner.
I had to create a place where all of the cats, even the elderly one, could get to the food but it had to be protected from hungry Blanca. Feeding cats up high is probably the best solution but again, don't do like I did and wait until the dog has created chaos before dealing with the matter of other pets.
CONSIDER A TARP OR COVERING IF YOU HAVE CARPET
If I had to do it all over again I would have put down an old paint tarp or other covering on my wall-to-wall carpet. By the way, I hate and despise carpeting. People with pets should not have carpet except maybe in the bedrooms. Avoid it if you can before getting dogs. Or even cats.
For a couple of months it will be ugly but get a new puppy or rescue dog properly trained and soon enough you'll be able to lift the covering and your rug won't be ugly and stained like mine.
CREATE A TOY BOX
But be careful what you put in , or near it.
I got an old milk crate and put all of the dogs' toys in it to include any items I allow them to chew on. I sometimes put new toys in it to surprise them so they don't lose interest.
One time I set a big container of laundry detergent on the floor, by the dogs' toy box, and evidently they thought it was some kind of toy. Jackie, who can tear open a uranium reactor with her teeth, and thick gooey bright blue laundry detergent soaked into the rug.
Which is another reason to get rid of wall-to-wall carpeting.
So those are my top ten things I'd advise anyone to do should a new puppy or rescue dog be part of the future.
Or you can do like me and learn the hard way.