Updated: Sep 12, 2020
So you decided you want a new dog for Christmas? Hopefully you're making this decision for yourself and not someone else. It is NEVER a good idea to surprise someone with a dog, even if you KNOW they want one. Your best bet is to tell them what you're thinking of and just help them find a dog. It can go so so wrong surprising someone with any pet, and shelters fill up because of it.
So you're getting this dog for you, great! You might think the age of the dog matters in how you approach them coming into your home, but really you should take the same approach to any new pet.
Management is your best friend (I have other blog posts diving more into this subject) Crates. So many people have an unrealistic idea of what crate training means. It is not cruel to give your dog their own "room", their own comfortable place to decompress and stay safe during the day if you cant be home with them. It does take a bit of work though! You must condition your dog to the crate, and teach them what the crate is for. Trust me, you do not want to come home to a bunch of your stuff chewed and god forbid your dog sick having to go to the vet from a foreign body. You should also limit your new pets access to areas of your home when they first get there. Either close doors, use baby gates, or keep a leash on your dog even in the house (even better, do all three!) This will set up the expectation that they must be respectful in smaller areas of your home before being allowed to roam more. You should do this in your yard too! On leash, with you, even if an older dog. This accomplishes a few things; showing your dog where and where not to go outside, preventing them from learning to not come to you to go back inside, and it makes you the giver of resources which will help your dog respect you. Even adult dogs may come home not fully potty trained, especially if they have been in the shelter awhile. Make sure to teach your dog where you want them to go potty!
Invest in training!!! Every dog is different, and this time of year is crazy for most families. Imagine you get dropped into a new family, you're excited but nervous, and then everything is busy! New smells, new expectations, unknown people coming and going, maybe lots of knocks on the door; so much to take in! Try and keep your new dog in the calmest places in your home for the rest of this month. There is plenty of time to include your dog in family things, but many a new dog has gotten worried and bitten someone being pushed into situations too soon. ESPECIALLY if you have multiple dogs at home! Do not rush your new dog! They need time to decompress and destress. Even them hanging in their crate listening and watching but not being IN the action will help them alot.
Try and really think how you would feel in this situation. Set your family and your new dog up for success. Of course, as always, we're here to help! Contact us if you have any questions!
For the Dogs,