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The Dos and Donts of Housetraining Your New Dog

The Dos and Donts of Housetraining Your New Dog

Bringing Home a New Pup? Here’s How to Set Them Up for Success

When I heard my best friend was getting a new dog, I had mixed feelings – excitement for her, and fear that it might not work out. In the six years I’ve been closely following the highs and lows of new dog owners, I’ve seen far too many cases where the ship sank just days, weeks, or months after setting sail.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. With the right preparation and approach, you can ensure your new canine companion becomes a beloved, lifelong member of the family. The key? Taking the time to do it right from the start.

Pre-Planning for Puppy’s Arrival

I’ve lost count of the number of people who decide to get a dog, rush to the shelter, and bring one home all in the same weekend. At least half of the sad dog/family relationship failures I’ve witnessed can be traced back to this hasty decision-making.

Give yourself at least a month to really think through what kind of dog is the best fit. Visualize your ideal pup – their age, size, energy level, attention span, sociability, and more. Then, visit shelters a few times a week to meet potential matches, keeping that vision in mind. It can be heartbreaking to walk away, but don’t settle. The perfect pup for you is out there waiting.

As the editors at Whole Dog Journal advise, “Little things can grow into big issues over time, compounding with each new problem.” If your dream dog is a clean, short-haired companion, don’t fall for the shaggy Australian Shepherd mix, no matter how cute. Trust me, the extra vacuuming required isn’t worth it in the long run.

Preparing Your Home

Once you’ve found your new best friend, it’s time to get your house in order. Stock up on essentials like a leash, toys, treats, a bed, and any containment tools you might need, like baby gates or a crate. Think through how your home will need to change to safely and easily accommodate your pup.

Emotionally prepare yourself and your household too. New dog owners often underestimate the impact a furry addition can have on their daily routines and lifestyle. Are you ready for daily walks, no matter the weather? Can everyone in your home embrace the changes ahead?

As the Whole Dog Journal editors caution, “A tense emotional environment can definitely delay or prevent a dog’s emotional settling-in.” Get everyone on the same page before your new pup arrives.

A Warm Welcome Home

Many people imagine the day they bring their dream dog home will be pure magic, full of joyous discoveries. But in reality, it should be more like a carefully choreographed movie set. Your new canine star needs to feel they have the freedom to explore, but also the safety and structure to thrive.

Treat your pup like a young puppy, even if they’re older. Keep them under constant supervision, taking them out frequently to their designated potty spot and rewarding them lavishly when they go in the right place. Resist the urge to smother them in affection 24/7 – they need time to adjust to their new surroundings at their own pace.

The Whole Dog Journal editors advise, “Don’t assume any level of housetraining, but treat him as you would a young puppy.” Stick to a schedule, crate train, and get them enrolled in a positive reinforcement training class as soon as possible.

Housetraining: The Key to Canine Bliss

One of the most important steps in setting your new dog up for success is tackling housetraining head-on. Canine Minded training expert Brandon explains that crate training is one of the most effective methods – it taps into a dog’s natural instinct to keep their living space clean.

The key is creating a structured routine, with your pup going from crate to outside to brief periods of supervised free time in the house. Gradually increase that free time as they demonstrate they can be trusted. Pair this with immediate rewards whenever they go in the right spot, and you’ll have a house-trained pup in no time.

WebMD emphasizes the importance of consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement in the housetraining process. It may take 4-6 months, or even up to a year, but with the right approach, you can set your new dog up for lifelong success.

Embracing the Journey

Bringing home a new dog is an incredible experience, but it requires thoughtful preparation and unwavering commitment. With the right mindset and techniques, you can ensure your new canine companion becomes a beloved, well-behaved member of the family for years to come.

Stay patient, keep your eye on the prize, and remember – the perfect dog for you is out there waiting. Once you find them, the journey of a lifetime is about to begin. Happy training!

Looking to add a furry friend to your family? Check out the wide selection of adoptable dogs at and start your next great adventure today.

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