A New Dog in Your Home: Welcome Him Home!
by Kelly Marshall
On your pet's first day home, give him a tour around your home on a loose leash. This is the dog's first introduction to any limitations you want to put on his future access to your furniture, souvenirs, books, the kids' toy shelves, etc.
Be aware that this is not the right time for "no." (Your dog might begin to think that "no" is his name.) Use a guttural "Yack!" combined with a little tug-and-release of the leash as he sniffs to warn him away from your untouchables. Your dog is new at this, but just saying, "Puppy!" in a happy voice may be enough to get him to look at you - "Good dog." Now, back to happy talk as you continue.
You are simply letting him know by means of prevention (a growl sound he understands) what things he will need to avoid in the future. Allow him to sniff first because he'll remember the objects more by smell than by seeing. As your dog looks up at you, he's praised. Think of it like this: "No!" means "Don't do that!" whereas "Yack!" means "Don't even think of doing that!" Small talk is natural and pleasurable to both of you; but in the beginning your dog will only pick up on his name because everyone uses it with things he finds enjoyable - play, food or praise. If you use the word "din-din" many times while preparing his food, that word will stick out in his mind as a five minute speech on nutrition as a clue to the observant dog that he is about to eat. The human-canine teaching method is based on short, simple words that are constantly applied to specific actions.
Your dog's first guided tour will teach him the layout of his new home, what it looks like, smells like, even feels like (rugs, carpets, tile, wood) and that a few things are off limits even to adorable pups. There is one more important lesson he is learning from this adventure: that you are the Boss, the He or She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. If you do not take on this role, the dog will. Somebody's got to do it, and he'll fill the vacancy right away! You may be familiar with the saying, "Lead, follow or move out of the way." Every puppy is born with it and continues to live by it!
Once your home tour is complete, now it's down to the basics. Show Rex where his water bowl is located. Let your dog scope his crate. Then take your puppy outside (while leashed) to the exact area where you want him to release waste. Stand there until he is done. (Remember be Patient. He's new at this.) Praise him quietly as he goes, after that you can make the same type of tour outside, with warnings about your shrubberies, flowers or garden. Or you may live in a town or city by law (and responsible dog ownership) must curb Rex. Go to the quietest no-parking location. If you stay on the sidewalk, he will want to join you, so stand down in the street with your dog. It will take time to get your dog used to the noise, the confusion and the speed and size of vehicles. Please note - no outside walking tour during this time. Wait until his vaccinations are done. By this time he will be more accepting of city or town life.
Important Note: If the original trip home from where you picked up your dog took more than an hour, switch the two "tours" to let him remove waste first.