Bringing home a new dog

Starting off on the right foot will go along way in making you and your new dog's life much happier.

Here's a few tips for bringing home a new dog from either a shelter, rescue organization, or a breeder.

Wherever your new dog came from, he has to feel that he has moved on to another place. This will help cause a break between whatever patterns of behavior or experiences he had from whence he came and is now in a new place. A dog really doesn't have any understanding of traveling by car. To him, it's just a changing picture and unless he physically moves himself, he won't have any comprehension of having moved.

Therefore, when you first arrive at your house, don't rush him into the house! Take him for a good long walk. Ideally, this walk should be at least a half hour, longer is better. Make sure you allow plenty of time for this.

This little walk should be around the neighborhood. Give your new family member a chance to smell the smells. Let him get the feeling that he's on the move and going to some new place. During the walk you'll be building a bond of trust and establishing yourself as the leader of the new pack that he's joining.

This little walk is also tiring him a bit, releasing much of that pent-up nervous energy he's probably feeling being taken from his old environment.

After the walk, prepare to enter the house and this is extremely important: YOU MUST ENTER THE HOUSE FIRST! Your new dog must follow you! This will save hours and hours of frustration.

The leader of the pack always goes first. If you let your new dog enter the house first, you've immediately put him in a situation he probably doesn't want to be in-- that is, when he enters first, he assumes that he is the leader of this new pack he's joining and that YOU are looking to him for leadership.

Most likely your new dog would rather not be the leader, but in the world of dogs, there always must be a leader of the pack. And since you don't seem to be providing that leadership, he (or she) assumes that you want him to lead. This creates many problems that you may never be able to correct.

So, when you go into the house first, stop and invite your new dog to come in. This shows him that you are in charge and that it's ok to come in. Now your new dog will feel comfortable in the home and understand from the very start that you are the leader and that you're not expecting him to handle those responsibilities.

If you have other family members, especially children, don't allow them to get down on the floor with him and play. Tell them to stop in their tracks. Let you bring the dog to them so he can sniff and learn their names by their smells. Everyone should remain calm and positive.

Don't allow the new dog to roam the house. This is your house and he has to learn the rules. One of those rules is that he can't just go anywhere he wants. You have to give him permission to go somewhere and then only with your permission.

First night: give your new guy a room of his own. This room can be a crate, or a room that is his. Don't allow him to sleep in your bed or anyone else's bed. Give him his own bed and make sure he sleeps there every night, at least for the first 2 weeks.

Family members should hold off showing affection. Your little guy isn't going to think bad of you or feel bummed out about getting stuck with this unfriendly family. Your new dachshund is learning that this is a pack with rules and that he must learn these rules. In a very short period of time ( 1-2 weeks) he will become completely accustomed to his new pack.

Your dachshund isn't really looking for affection right now anyway. What he is looking for is leadership. Just like you're excited about checking him out, he's excited about checking you out. Except his check out is more serious. He's constantly looking to see who's the boss in this pack. As long as you can provide that leadership, he's going to feel safe and secure in his new environment. That you're going to provide food, water and shelter for him and protect him like you protect everyone else in the pack (even if it's just the two of you).

Probably the most important activity you can provide for your new dachshund, is to take him for a walk everyday-- the longer the better. And be consistent. Your dog's life is one based on consistency and the more consistent your activities with him, the happier, the more well adjusted he will be in your life.

Summary points:

  • Walk your new dog before entering the house for the first time

  • Invite him into your house

  • Let him be introduced into all the family members

  • Keep him under your control constantly for the first 2 weeks

  • Don't allow him to wander about the house

  • Provide him with his own bed

  • Take him for daily walks