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Your New Dog: Settling in at Home & Crate Training

We hope everyone had a fun and safe Happy Howl-o-ween last week!

This week we continue our Dog Training series with guest writer, Deborah Rosen of Good CitiZEN Dog Training.



Home prep is a really critical piece of the puzzle when bringing home a new puppy or older dog.

Most folks know that a great deal of preparation goes into bringing a new puppy into your house. It is important to make the house “puppy safe” by closing off parts of the house with baby gates, or limiting access to cabinets where the puppy can get into food items or other things that might pose dangers. It is helpful to do the same thing when bringing home a puppy or an older rescue dog. By preparing the house and setting things up for a “successful experience,” you are limiting the chances for your dog to get into a world of trouble.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

Anything and everything you value (expensive rugs, electronics, shoes, breakables, favorite children’s toys, etc.) should be removed and put in a safe place and introduced later. When you bring home a young untrained dog or even an older dog with a checked history of training and socializing, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you have children with stuffed animal toys, put them out of sight. A new dog that comes in and immediately start destroying your family’s favorite possessions will quickly fall from grace.

shutterstock_1393388Acquire a Crate – Begin Crate Training

Assuming the dog was receptive to everyone outside the house, we can proceed to engage with the dog inside the house. Instruct children to stay as calm as possible. Coming into a new home can be a frightening experience for a new dog. Dogs do not change very much, and any shift in their living situation can provoke stress and anxiety. While kids of various ages will be difficult to control, setting up “Rules of the House” with the children concerning the new dog will help them to understand how to maintain a calm demeanor until the dog is well situated. Also, by introducing a crate, a dog may go to his or her crate when things get too boisterous with children playing and making a great deal of noise.
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Dogs and Kids: Introducing a New Dog into your Home

This is the 2nd post in a series by Deborah Rosen of Good Citizen Dog Training.

Last week’s post, Dogs and Kids: What you Need to Know, addressed items to consider when thinking about getting a dog for your family.

Get off on the right paw!

As promised in the last blog entry, I will now address some of the proper steps to take when introducing a new rescue dog or puppy to his or her new family. By taking these few easy steps, you will give your new fur baby a much better chance of succeeding with each new member of your household, especially with the children.

On the very first day the dog is due to arrive at your home, arrange for each person in your household to be present, even if they have all met the dog before. Ask each one to step outside the house where the dog will feel less confined and be more apt to feel less threatened.

Tuesday awaiting treatTake Things Slowly

Have each family member stand at least 5 feet from the dog. One at a time, have each adult and child call the dog’s name without looking directly at the dog. If the name has not yet been selected, a noise or a whistle will work just as well to simply get the dog’s attention. The second the dog looks at the individual, pop a very tasty treat in his or her mouth and say “good job” or “good dog.” Do this with each person, one by one. By doing this, we are telling the dog (in a way he can really understand) that the person he just encountered is a “very good thing”. And, by doing this with each person, you are helping the dog understand he has nothing to fear.

Assuming the dog had no difficulty with step one, move to the next step by having each person come up to the dog, one at a time. As they do, tell them to approach the dog sideways without giving the dog eye contact. It’s important, especially with small children to be very clear and concise. “Don’t look at the doggy yet.” Have them present the dog with an open palm and let the dog sniff. Quickly drop a treat in the child’s hand and let the dog take the treat. Do this over and over several times, and if the dog is comfortable, proceed to the next person.


Do this process over and over until the entire household is introduced without giving eye contact. If this process goes well without incident, start again with everyone now facing the dog squarely and looking directly at him. Once this process is complete, it’s time to go inside the house.


Check back next week for next steps to when introducing a new dog to your home.



Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see

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