Did Santa surprise your kids with a dog? Diane Rose-Solomon, a Certified Humane Education Specialist and author of "What to Expect When Adopting a Dog," has these tips for new dog owners that can remove potential problems while everyone adjusts to the new member of the household.
- Get down on hands and knees and look at your surroundings from dog eye level. Consider whether your dog can chew or choke on, knock over or ingest anything you see.
- Spend as much time with your new pup as possible as he transitions into your family. Take lots of walks together.
- Potty training a pup? Consistency and a gentle tone work wonders. Be sure to set him up for success by taking him out frequently, especially if he’s just awakened, eaten or been playing.
- Teach children how to act safely around dogs. Meanwhile, since your dog is new to your family, be sure to supervise at all times while everyone is getting acquainted.
- When you leave the house, your new dog should be confined to a crate or a room where he can’t do any damage or get into any trouble.
- Check the perimeter of your yard for holes. This is a good time to make sure your fences are secure, too.
- Schedule a checkup with your veterinarian. If your dog is from a shelter or rescue organization he or she is likely neutered or spayed already.
- Contact a recommended trainer to get your new dog learning what you expect of him in your home, socialized with other dogs, and bonding with you and your family.
Muster up all the patience you can, especially in the first few weeks. You are getting to know one another and it can be trying. But the unconditional love is well worth it!