Did you get a new member in the family this holiday season? Here are some tips that will help you get you and your new furry friend adjusted in it's new home. It starts by creating some house rules!
Why House Rules Are Important?
Dogs have their own natural behaviors, not all of which will be acceptable in their new household, and some behaviors could even be dangerous, destructive, or unhealthy. By creating a set of house rules, you’ll be letting your puppy know, right from the beginning, what is and is not acceptable.
This is all new for them: they have to adjust to their new family and new environment. If everyone in the family is consistent with rules, it will help them learn exactly what you expect of them, and what they can expect of you. The best way to do this is by creating house rules for them ahead of time.
How To Create House Rules?
All family members should sit down and figure out the house rules together. Just as when you define expectations for your kids, consistency is key, and if the whole family agrees on the rules, it’s more likely they’ll stick to them. Then you’ll need to decide which are the most essential rules. Keep your list short, it will be confusing if they have too much to learn all at once. So, what’s important to you?
Some Rules to Consider:
1. Where will you allow your furry friend to go in the house? Some people are comfortable with them having free range from the beginning. Others establish certain areas of the house as no-dog zones, such as the kitchen or a baby’s room. You may want them to stay on one floor only. For many families, it’s easiest to keep them to a small area of the house during house-training.
2. Will you let the them on the furniture? Whatever you decide is OK. It’s important to decide from the beginning what the rule is. You can teach them to stay off furniture completely, or you can train them to stay off the furniture unless you give a specific command. Or, you may decide they're allowed to get on one specific piece of furniture, but not on others. And for some people, furniture is a perfectly acceptable place for the dog to hang out. Whatever your preference, make this rule before they arrive home.
3. Who in the family is responsible for what? It’s easy enough before your furry friend comes home for family members to say they’ll always feed them or always take them out, but the reality is quite a different matter. Decide now, before they become part of the family, what each person’s responsibility is.
4. Decide on a morning routine. It can be hard enough coordinating schedules in the morning, especially in large families. Decide early on when they will go out and be fed.
5. The same goes for an evening routine. Who feeds them and when? Do they get a long, leisurely after-dinner stroll or a quick trip outside to take care of business? Do they have a set bedtime or just go to sleep when they feels like it?
6. Where will they sleep? Will they be crated downstairs, away from the bedrooms? Will they be crated in someone’s room? Will they sleep on a dog bed in the hall? Will they sleep wherever they wants? Even cuddled up next to you in bed? Many owners choose to crate their furry friend at night, especially until they're house-trained.
7. Are you going to allow them to get treats from the dinner table and get table scraps? Allowing your puppy to do this even once can set up their expectations, and they may hang around the table begging at every meal. Aside from the fact that human food may not be suitable for dogs, this habit can get annoying quickly. Decide what the family rule is before they come home.
8. What commands will you use for basic obedience, like sit, stay, and come? Make sure to establish basic commands and/or signals that everyone in the household will use consistently.
9. Should you let them jump on people? As cute as they may be when they greet you ecstatically, is this a behavior you want to encourage? In most cases, probably not. Keep in mind, that some people may not be comfortable with that behavior and respecting others boundaries will create trust between your dog and others. It's also a great way to inspire those timid by dogs that dogs are gift to have in ones life. If you want to teach your dog not to jump, start as soon they comes home.
Once you’ve decided on the rules, post them in a visible place, like on the refrigerator, as a daily reminder to everyone of what their responsibilities are.
House Rules for Humans
House rules for your furry friend aren’t the only rules that need to be set. Family members, especially children, must also be clear on safety and acceptable behavior.
- Children must learn how to handle them. As adorable as they are, they aren’t a new plush toys or playthings. Teach the kids not to pull the dog’s ears or tail or chase them. It's important to create a safe environment for both the children and the dog. This will just keep everyone safe and eliminate creating anxiety on your new furry friend.
- Let the them eat in peace. Disturbing a dog when they eating can lead to anxiety and even food aggression.
- Do not hit the dog or yell at him. They don't understand what’s they have done wrong, it teaches them nothing, and will cause trust issues.
- For new puppies - they are natural chewers and will probably go after anything left on the floor; they don't know it’s your favorite shoe or new iPhone. For their safety (and your own sanity), pick it up and put it out of reach.
Bringing a new dog into the home is a real game-changer: the depth of your feelings for them and the joy they adds to your life may surprise you! Congratulations to all those that were gifted the gift of unconditional love.