The New Arrival
One winter’s morning close to Christmas after just having just moved into our new house my mum brought home a 10-year-old golden retriever, much to my father’s horror and my delight! She exclaimed the now infamous (at least in my family) line, “At worst it will be until the end of the week.” Two years later our beloved Cosmo sadly passed away as a treasured part of the family. However, his transition into our home was not plain sailing for either us or for him. As a family that had never had a dog before we did not foresee some of these issues, and in this blog I will try and help some of you readers prepare for your dog’s arrival in advance.
Hair, Hair Everywhere!!
If your dog has hair of any length it will shed and it will be all over your clothes and furniture. Some people don’t mind this and embrace their state of living; others will need a brand new vacuum cleaner and will be spending every weekend running around cleaning everything they can find. However, one thing that many dog owners find a great bonding experience with their new dog, and also a clever way to limit the amount of hair around their house and on their clothes is grooming. Depending on how much hair your dog has, it’s advisable to groom at least once a week, but for some breads this will not be enough. For dogs with long and/or think coats, grooming sessions 3-4 times per week is preferable with a good brush such as Mutts & Hounds dual sided brush. If your new dog doesn’t trust you enough to let you groom it immediately don’t worry. Try introducing them to your grooming brushes and other such things by placing them near them. Start by grooming along the back; be careful around face and ears and on sensitive areas such as around the belly. Hopefully your pooch will be actively looking for grooming attention in no time at all.
You Are What You Eat!
If possible, try to find out what your new pet has been used to eating and for the first few weeks at least stick with this. Abrupt changes to diet can lead to upset stomachs and all that this will obviously entail. Of course it is acceptable to change your pet’s diet but do so gradually, introduce new foods over time. If you adopt an older dog as we did, you should also consider supplements and tooth care products. There are many different products available that are formulated especially for the older pet. It is not only a change in diet that can result in toileting accidents in the home. The change of home can be stressful at first. If your pet has been in kennels for some time, even if they were previously fully house-trained, you should not be surprised by the occasional ‘accident’.
Toys… Lots of Toys!
Lots of dogs tend to have favourite toys they grew up with…. Cosmo was different, he came with none and we soon found at why! He liked destroying them as quickly as possible even the ones advertised as ‘indestructible’ generally only last a few hours at best. Fortunately, most dogs are kinder to their toys and don’t require a quarterly restock, Planet Dog's Orbee toys are great in this manner. Often a toy is something they will be familiar with from their past homes, and it will be something you can both bond over immediately. It’s important to not fall into the common trap of using household items such as tea towels as impromptu toys as soon they will become toys to the dog even if later you don’t wish them to be. Same with shoes, slippers etc., your dog won’t be able to tell the difference between a tatty, old shoe and a new, expensive one.
Don’t Go… No… Not There!
Spoiler alert! No matter how much you protest to your dog during your walk it’s unlikely they will even look back at you before diving into whatever has caught their attention. Unlike their human companions, dogs’ personal hygiene has some different goals in mind. Things like fox poo for many dogs can be what to a human would be Chanel number 7, and no matter what training they go through this does not change! It’s important therefore to have dog shampoo ready for bathing après walk. However calm your dog might appear to be out walking it is best to always use a lead for the first few walks. Any dog, no matter how well trained can be distracted by ‘interesting’ things and this can potentially prove fatal.
Choices of collars, leads or harnesses can make a big difference to how enjoyable the walk will be. If you’re not confident of your new adult dog’s recall for example, an extending lead such as the Halti Retractable Lead will be really useful. Collars need to be well fitting and the lead length and weight also makes a difference. Cosmo was a swim-king and we live surrounded by gravel pits and lakes. This meant that collars would get very wet. It is always good to have more than one. Remember too that you will need to have your contact details attached to all collars just in case you find yourself separated from your new friend whilst out walking. Responsible dog owners also always take doggie bags and poop pouches with them whilst out walking and clear up after their pet.
Preventing Your Garden From Becoming A Doggie Minefield!
Dogs enjoy playing in a secure garden but they will of course also need to use it to toilet from time to time. One number-two can quickly become more than one, turning your garden from a lovely place to relax in the sun to a doggie minefield. Also, on a side note, most gardeners won’t do anything until it has all gone. It’s important therefore to be well stocked on those doggy bags for both home and walks.