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.
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.
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 www.goodcitizendog.com.