Adopting a dog is like bringing home your new best friend and can be an amazing experience with the right preparation and approach. Whether your new pet is a young puppy or a senior dog, it’s important to prioritize training from the time they come home with you. For many people it feels overwhelming to begin the process and it can be difficult to know where to start but training your new rescue dog early on can be a game changer to helping them and you feel more comfortable about this new transition.
Training early-on can shorten the adjustment period
Bringing a new pet home is always an adjustment because this is a new environment for them and a new friend for you that you are responsible to take care of. When you adopt a dog from a shelter or a rescue organization, especially an older dog, the transition can be a traumatic one for your new pup depending on their history. While a period of adjustment is normal and expected, if you reward your dog for good behavior and remain patient and consistent with your training methods early-on, you may notice the adjustment period is shorter than expected.
Routines will help you both know what to expect
When you establish routines and keep training consistent and predictable in your home, you will both grow to learn each other’s habits and expectations. Consistency doesn’t just have to do with behavior but can also relate to items they use in your home like keeping their food dish in the same location and dedicating a blanket that is only for them to use in their crate can help relieve stress and encourage trust.
Another area you can (and should) establish a routine is in your schedule. Establishing a schedule for meals, walking, exercise, and bedtime gives your pup the stability and predictability they need to adjust to their new home. A comfortable and low stress environment does wonders to help eliminate distractions so your pup can focus on your training exercises and activities.
Boundaries are critical for encouraging good habits
If you allow your new dog to get away with certain bad behaviors, you will notice it is much more difficult to train them to stop doing them later. That’s why it is so important to set boundaries early on and encourage good habits. Make sure to communicate those boundaries to everyone who lives at home with you, so they are enforced from every member of the family and your dog learns the consistency.
Obedience training outside the home can have major benefits
While there are many habits you can form at home to help train your new pup, obedience classes are also great for establishing good habits and behaviors. The first step you should take before deciding on which trainer to use is to speak to your dog’s vet and other dog owners in the area. Since there are so many different types of training and a variety of training styles out there, you’ll want to select one that aligns with your lifestyle. Pay attention to the location of the training (some happen in your home, some in the community, and some in specified dog schools), the size of the class, and the mannerisms and philosophy of the trainer.
Regardless of the training style, class, or routine you establish, making training a top priority and dedicating time and patience into your training routine can lead your pup to becoming a happy and well-adjusted member of the family.
The North Shore Injury Lawyer’s love of dogs
Mark T. Freeley is an avid dog lover, frequent volunteer, and pro bono attorney for Last Chance Animal Rescue. Over the years he has welcomed thousands of dogs to Long Island on the transport van and even opened his home to a few amazing dogs. If you are interested in learning more about one of his personal experiences with obedience training for his English Golden Retriever, click here. If you have questions about fostering or adoption, you are welcome to call Mark at 631-495-9435 and he will happily walk you through the process.