Below are some helpful tips for dog training, and tips for helping to bring you new dog into the family!
- Dog food (see recommended)
- Water bowl, food bowl or Kongs / food Treats for
- Toys (chew bones, chew toys)
- Bed (dog bed, blanket or towels)
- Dog Crate
- Easy Walk Harness
- Martingale Collar
- Put all these supplies in your new dog’s confinement
area (see below)
Set up a confinement area, a place your dog will stay when you can’t provide
100% supervision i.e. you’re out, or busy around the house, and can’t watch him
the entire time.
The ideal confinement area should be easy to clean and easy to close off with a
door or baby gate. It should be mostly free of furniture and non-dog related
objects (remember, everything is a potential chew toy to a dog!). The best
place for a confinement area is the kitchen, laundry room, porch, empty spare
room or small indoor/outdoor area.
Furnish the confinement area with a bed or a crate with something soft to
sleep on, a water bowl and several toys, including a favorite bone or chew toy.
Note: The confinement area should be the only place your dog gets to have his
You might think the word “confinement” has a negative connotation, but your
dog’s confinement area is not a negative thing. It’s positive. The confinement
area is a place your dog can call his own as he makes the transition to his new
home. It’s where he gets good things, like meals and his favorite toy. It sets
him up for success in the process of housetraining and alone-time training.
People often give a new dog complete freedom right away. Then, when he has
an accident or chews the wrong thing, they confine him, and confinement
becomes punishment. If you start out giving your dog the run of the house,
you’re setting him up for failure. Better to give him a safe, confined place, so
he can make a gradual and successful transition to his new home.
We highly recommend crate training your new dog. A crate is a valuable tool for a new adopter. Like a confinement area, a crate eases the process of housetraining, chew training and alone-time training. It helps your dog make the transition to his new home. (See Crate Training Handout)
Dog-Proofing Your Home
Dogs, especially young ones or untrained ones, are like children and will get into
everything. This can be very stressful for you and at worst, your house can be
deadly for your dog. The kitchen and garage need to be dog proofed. Kitchen
cleansers, soaps, drain cleaners will kill your pet if ingested. In the garage,
detergents, cleaners, anti-freeze, paint removers, garden supplies such as
weed killers, snail bait, fertilizers etc. can all be deadly. Bathrooms also
contain similar items. Be careful.
The garden can also be a dangerous area. There are many plants and bulbs
(inside and out) that are poisonous. It is very important that you check for
mushrooms during damp weather as these can be lethal with only a small
Dog-proofing your home also means making sure that you have secure high
fences and gates that are locked. And remember, chocolate is also deadly to
dogs so keep it out of reach.
- When you arrive at home, take your dog out for a walk or bathroom break
- Introduce him on leash to his new home, including his confinement area
- Give your dog a chew bone or a stuffed Kong and leave him alone in the confinement area for approximately 5 minutes
- If your dog begins to howl, whine, or bark, wait until he has been quiet for at least ten seconds before you respond.
- Keep your dog in close sight
Otherwise, your dog will learn that whining or barking makes you appear or gets him out of the confinement area, and he’ll bark or cry for longer periods of time.
You must get your dog used to short absences starting within the first few
hours his arrival. This is extremely important. You’ll want to spend every
minute with your dog when he first comes home, but you should prepare him
right away for a normal routine. He must learn to be relaxed, calm and settled
when he’s alone. Alone-time training is necessary because dogs are highly social
animals and being alone doesn’t come naturally to them.
Leave your dog alone in his confinement area while you go out or spend time in
another part of the house. Vary the length of your absences, from 30 seconds
to 20 minutes, and repeat them throughout the day. If your dog seems
comfortable, you can increase the amount of time he’s left alone. Remember,it
may take several days or weeks for your dog to make the transition to his
We recommend that after you bring your new adopted dog home, let her check
out the area of the house where she is allowed and let her figure things out
for 3-4 hours with you supervising. Wait a couple of days before inviting
friends etc. over to meet the new dog. Rescue dogs have already been through
a series of changes, so quiet time with her immediate family is important. If
the dog wants to play a bit with you, that’s fine but do NOT allow her to
interact with young children yet. If the dog does not solicit play or attention
from you, let her establish herself for a while. Don’t force her to play.
Put a chew toy in your dog’s crate or sleeping area when you leave him for the
night. He may have trouble settling in at first, but he should eventually relax
and go to sleep. Remember, it’s important not to let your dog out of his
confinement area if he’s crying or barking. If he gets attention for barking,
he’ll keep it up for long periods of time.
Rescue dogs come from a variety of backgrounds but all dogs can do with more
socialization!!! (This is especially important for Foster dogs. We want them to
be as well socialized as possible.) After your new dog has had some time to
settle in and he is showing some confidence in you, give him lots of pleasant
social experiences. He should be able to meet people (and other dogs, if he’s
not dog-aggressive) at home and near home. Then perhaps in new places like
parks, obedience school, etc.
Try to make sure that you allow your new dog to be handled by other people
only after he has a chance to trust you. Then do introductions to other people
gradually. Family members first, then friends he knows. Introductions can take
the form of petting, playing fetch, even going for a walk with a trusted, dog-oriented friend. Do not force the dog to accept people, allowing HIM to
approach people, rather than people approaching the dog.Use treats and have
patience if he is reticent to allow other people to touch or play with him. He’ll
usually come around with time.
At first, be sure to tell people NOT reach for the dog right away. Let him
come when he wants to. If he doesn’t, the visitor should completely ignore the
dog. Suggest that after the dog has met/sniffed the new person, that they pat
the SIDE of the dog’s neck or side of shoulder. Patting the top of a dog’s head
is interpreted by dogs as a dominance attempt and can issue a challenge to
some dogs or frighten others. Most dogs have no problem with this but since
some do, it is always best to exercise caution.
Some adult dogs are not house-trained. If your dog has an accident, it’s not
because he’s incapable or unintelligent, it’s because he has not been properly
trained. To successfully housetrain your dog, you need to treat him like an 8-
week-old pup. The confinement area is your key to success.
- Until your dog is perfectly housetrained, never leave him alone unless he’s in his confinement area
- He must be 100% supervised when he’s outside his confinement area
- Take your dog out on leash frequently. Start by walking him at half-hour intervals
- If you see your dog sniffing and circling in the house, take him out
- Praise and reward him with a treat (cookie) when he relieves himself outdoors
- Never yell or punish your dog for a potty accident in the house