It is important to educate yourself before you can educate your dog. Dogboy offers doggie preparation sessions to guide new dog owners to prepare for their new dog before they even bring him home.

Congratulations! You have made the decision to share your home and life with a dog. You are about to embark on one of the most unique and rewarding relationships in the animal kingdom. Keep in mind to not make your decision lightly. The success of your dog rests on your ability to dedicate time, attention and energy to her. She will need tons of socialization and training, regular exercise and walks, food, medical attention etc.etc.etc. Do your research! It is important to educate yourself before you can educate your dog. Doing this will help you start your dog’s training out on the right paw!

Where should I get my dog?
Breeder? Online? Shelter? Pet store?

Breeder
Research breeders carefully. A good breeder is going to be very discerning. Be prepared to fill out lots of paperwork and answer lots of questions. A good breeder wants to make the best match for you as well as their dogs.

Online
There are some great websites such as www.petfinder.com as well as breed specific rescue sites. You will see many cute photos but be sure not to act on impulse. Make sure it is a reputable site.

Shelter
I am a big supporter of adopting shelter dogs. Many of these dogs are trained and well socialized dogs in need of a good home. That being said…many of these dogs may come with challenging behaviors. Many shelters conduct a behavioral screening to identify the dog’s personality and any problem areas. Speak with some of the shelter staff that has cared for the dog to learn of any issues or specific needs the dog may have.

Pet Store
I typically advise against buying a dog from a pet store. It is unlikely that a responsible breeder who cares for their dogs would have their dogs sold at a pet store. Most pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills, which are factory farms that mass-produce dogs for profit. Dogs from these facilities are bred poorly under questionable practices and usually have an array of health and behavioral problems.

When should I get my dog?

Are the kids going back to school? Are you planning a move?
Do you hate being outside in the cold? Bringing a pet home to share your life with takes time and your undivided attention. Make sure the timing is right for everyone in your family. A dog is NOT an impulse buy.

What kind of dog should I get?
Puppy or adult? Purebred or mixed?

Puppies or Adult
Puppies are a clean slate. You have the unique opportunity to mold them through socialization, education, and training. This is a perfect time for bonding and socializing but is also a perfect time for puppy mischief. Be prepared to clean up messes, stay calm, and be patient.

Adult dogs tend to be more set in their ways. Positives are that they may already be potty trained and have some good manners. On the other hand they may have developed some bad habits that need to be addressed. The good news is that an old dog can indeed learn new tricks.

Purebreds or Mixed Breeds
Purebreds will have the look and traits of his or her breed. Having done your research on your chosen breed you will have an idea of what to expect. But keep in mind that every dog is an individual. Your dog will have its own unique personality.

Mixed breeds are truly unique and fun to watch develop from puppies to adults. Physically they may be big, small, silky or fuzzy. You may be able to recognize some physical characteristic of the combined breeds. Researching the combined breeds will help you understand the training, grooming and medical needs of your dog.

Buying the Basics

Congratulations! You have chosen your dog. Now it is time to go shopping. Here is a basic shopping list to get you started.

Dog Crate
This is your dog’s haven. It is a place where he will go to stay safe and out of trouble when he cannot be supervised. Most common are wire crates and closed plastic travel crates.

Baby Gates
Set up a play area in the house where your dog can stretch his legs and train but not have access to the whole house. Another option is an exercise pen or x-pen, which is a movable wire playpen and is available at most pet stores.

Chew Toys
Dogs chew! It is natural and necessary. There are a variety of chew toys that your dog will love. Hollow “puzzle” toys such as KONGS and Hollow Bones can be stuffed with kibble and other food rewards. This will give your dog a job as he works hard to gain a treat. Your dog will have something appropriate to chew on while staying out of trouble.

Food
At first you will be feeding your dog whatever the breeder or shelter was feeding them. Gradually move to the food of your choice. How do you choose a healthy food? Look for animal proteins and whole vegetables at the top of the ingredient list. Avoid meat or poultry by-products, artificial preservatives, and colors. For more information check out, www.thewholedogjournal.com

Collars
No matter what tool you choose for walking your dog, it is important for him to wear a collar for identification and safety. A regular flat buckle collar will do the trick. I typically avoid choke collars or other corrective collars on puppies or very small breeds as they can damage the trachea or vertebrae in the neck.

Harnesses
A harness fits around your dog’s body. The benefit of a harness is that is doesn’t put any pressure on your dogs trachea or spine as you walk them. This is particularly important for toy breeds and breeds that are prone to breathing issues. There are a variety of harnesses to help prevent your dog from pulling on leash such as The Easy Walk Harness by Premier.

Dog proof your house!!!

The goal is to keep your new dog AND your personal items safe. Puppies will be exploring everything with their mouth! Adult dogs may mark or chew as well. The golden rule is to keep anything you don’t want destroyed off of the floor or out of your dog’s reach! Your newly purchased chew toys will come in handy as you teach your dog what is appropriate and not appropriate to chew, but while she is learning, prevention is your most valuable tool.

Keep your expectations realistic and fair.

Let’s face it… your new dog is not like your last dog, or the neighbor’s dog, or that dog on television. Every dog is unique.

If your new dog is a puppy, it has only been alive for a few weeks and is relying on you for information about living in her new human environment.

If your new dog is an adult, it will likely need time to adjust to its new home and will depend on you for guidance.

Reality Check!
There will be accidents and growing pains.
There will be nipping and barking (in puppies).
This is normal, and with appropriate training, temporary.
Remember to have fun with your new dog.
Remain calm and patient.
You and your dog will be learning together!

There will be nipping and barking.
This is normal and with appropriate training it is temporary.
Remember to have fun with your new dog.
Remain calm and patient.
You and your dog will be learning together!