Welcoming your new dog

GENTLE PLAY: Set rules for your children and dog.

CHILDREN are always excited about a new pet. Don’t allow them to overwhelm him with attention and handling. They should be taught to play gently with him, and never to disturb him when he is sleeping or eating. Parental supervision is important.

You’ve probably given your dog a new name. Use it frequently and try always to associate it with good things: affection, approval and fun.

When he is first settling in, your new pet may have problems of shyness, anxiety, restlessness, excitement, crying or barking. Physical symptoms may include excessive water-drinking, frequent urination, diarrhoea or a poor appetite. If any of these symptoms last for more than a few days, call your veterinarian.

Be consistent. Decide on the rules and stick to them. For example, be sure you and your children under-stand whether or not the dog is allowed on the furniture. Does that mean all the furniture or just some of it? If you change the rules, the dog will be confused. Don’t allow him to do something one time and forbid it the next.

Obedience training can be very helpful to the adult dog and to you. However, it is not the same as training a puppy with no prior training.

Your dog may have learned commands other than the ones you use. Take time for him to adjust to your commands.

Most dogs adjust quickly to their new families within a week or two. Some take longer. Very few dogs are unable to adjust at all.

In most cases the dog will be a well-adjusted member of the family within a month. In fact, you may find it difficult to remember a time when he wasn’t part of the family.

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