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New Year! New Dog?

Gifts have been exchanged, meals have been prepared and eaten and the holidays are winding down. It’s time to settle into the New Year and that may involve a new furry family member. Whether you are fostering, adopting an adult dog or are taking on a rambunctious puppy,

Bark & Fitz has the tools to make the transition an easy one.

There are a handful of things a new pet owner needs to consider when bringing a new friend home. Will they be allowed everywhere in the house? What kind of temperament does Fido have? If they were adopted – what type of behaviours do you want to change?

Setting Boundaries

For a new puppy, it is suggested to keep them in a small area of the house as they get acclimated with their new space, such as in the kitchen. Typically your kitchen floor is easy to clean in case of an accident and is usually a high traffic area, so your furry family member will have lots of company. If you have a narrow doorway into your kitchen, you can get a baby gate to close

off the space, or an exercise pen if your space is more open concept. Be sure to

make the space comfortable for Fido by including a place for them to sleep and a few toys (without pieces they can choke on) for them to play with. Keep these ideas in mind even for an older dog that you are fostering or adopting. Setting boundaries right from the beginning is important and will ultimately result in a happier and more relaxed dog.

Discover Their Temperament

Within the first few weeks you will notice your dog or puppy coming out of their shell and their true temperament come to the surface. Most often, the more comfortable your furriend becomes, the more outgoing they become. Be prepared with lots of boredom buster toys and a strict walk schedule, this will mean both early morning and later evening walks. Keeping your dog on a schedule is also important to their overall mental well-being. If Fido hasn’t warmed up to their new environment as quickly as you were hoping and you notice signs of anxiety like heavy panting and crying when they are alone, you may want to consider some products that help with this anxiety. Also, because you can’t always be certain of an adopted dog or foster dog’s past, they may have anxiety from their last home. Remember to be patient, continue with a schedule and provide lots of exercise for Fido. Developing trust in a dog can take time. If your dog’s anxiety persists, visit your vet. There may be a different underlying problem that needs medical attention.

Changing Behaviours

A new puppy is accustomed to having all their brothers and sisters around, so when they first come home they may be wondering where all their cuddle buddies went. You will most likely have a sad puppy the first few nights they are alone, but they will settle into their new lifestyle quickly enough. Try to stay consistent and keep your new puppy in “their space” the whole night, with potty breaks when necessary. Eventually you’ll find they prefer to sleep in their crate or on their bed because it’s their safe and quiet space. For a foster or adopted dog, they may be used to sleeping on a bed or on the couch. If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, get them their own space with a bed and start slow. When watching TV have their bed close and a chew toy for them to chew on while on their bed. Retraining an adult dog is possible with a little patience and the right tools!

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