New Pup - The Homecoming

    Dogs have been a vital part of my entire adult life, bringing me some of the happiest days. They also carry some of the saddest. In between all, there were a lot of challenges and paths we walked together, learning many of life’s lessons. Each dog has a different personality than the one that preceded, and no book or person can predict the situations that will arise during your life with this chosen animal. Evolution has changed what began as wild things and later companions kept outside always in a kennel. Now they are a loyal household member sharing our space. Each family must decide what role they’re comfortable with in sharing their lives. I will give my opinion and say that if you cannot share your experience and make the dog a part of your home, I would advise you not to get one. I discussed in a previous article some things to consider when searching for the right family companion, so I will not repeat that information. Instead, we will begin with the decision already being made, and you are either waiting for the new arrival or have just brought the new family member home. Before the happy day of arrival, it is best to have acquired all the items you will need for the new puppy.

    *I highly recommend a crate where the pup can remain when he is not being watched continuously. You will learn just how quickly a dog can get into mischief or create a mess when you remove your eyes for what seems only seconds. The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up in and turn around, but not too big. By nature, dogs will not go to the bathroom in their den if they can avoid it, but if the crate is too big, they will use it to relieve themselves and lay in a different area of the box.

    *Items such as a leash, collar, and stainless-steel food and water dish are highly recommended.

    *I cannot stress the importance of chewing toys to keep the dog away from items you don’t want him to eat. Please do not give the dog an old shoe to chew on and later get upset because he chewed up your wife’s new high heels. A dog cannot distinguish the difference between these items, and it’s unrealistic if you think he can. Also, socks or other clothes things should be avoided as well. The only exception is that some people believe that a young pup having a hard time getting used to the crate may find comfort in an old jacket, shirt, or towel that smells like you.

    *Also, it’s good to have a bucket of cleaning supplies ready for the inevitable messes that will follow during potty training. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners with solid smells as they are hard on these small animals. Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizer; it works very well to remove urine and bloodstains on carpet or furniture. Test a small area to ensure the colorfastness of the site you wish to clean. This has been the best cleaning tip I have ever been given while never failing me nor damaging the area to be cleaned.

    Once the new addition has arrived, I will share the most critical word every family member should know. That word is CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY! All family members should interact in the same consistent manner appropriate to the individual’s age. In other words, if

    the pup is not allowed on the furniture, then everyone should follow that rule. It is unfair to expect a new family member to understand why one person allows him on the couch while another scolds him.

    As for potty training, I recommend taking the dog outside immediately every time he comes out of the crate. Also, take him out about 15 minutes after each meal, and if he doesn’t do his business, then wait for 15 to 30 minutes while trying again. But, again, these are guidelines, and each family will develop its plan with the emphasis on everything being consistent.

    There are many excellent books and videos available online regarding basic obedience so I will give just a few general tips.

    *Begin patiently teaching sit when it is time to feed your pet. They must learn to wait to be provided; it will transition to other things in the future. I also recommend getting them used to walking on a leash and being under control as soon as possible. Yes, initially, the pup resists the

    leash and sometimes chew on it or does not want to walk at all. However, patience is essential, and repetition also plays a big part.

    Your new companion should learn three basic commands, and their explanation is as follows.

    * SIT means to sit, and nothing more needs to be said. It means to sit in the same place until I call you to do something else. For simplicity’s sake, it replaces the word stay.

    *HEAL means to walk by my side and follow my lead. Because the command contains the letter L, we also use the heal command when turning to the left.

    *HERE means come to me and replaces the word come. It contains the letter R; it also means to turn to the right while walking.

    Teaching your dog these three commands will go a long way toward building a great relationship in basic obedience with your dog. Always have patience and remember that repetition is the key to teaching any command while having the instructions obeyed. Be sure your partner understands what you ask, and commands should never be given in anger. Humans set the rules and boundaries in these relationships, so create realistic goals to accomplish what works best for your family.

    I recommend that your dog be both socialized and well-behaved by introducing new things in a safe and controlled manner. Never leave young children unattended with any animal for any reason. Children and pets make great playmates, but there are too many variables, and it’s best to avoid anything that may result in a mishap.

    I’ve enjoyed an adult lifetime of endless happy memories while owning and training dogs at a kennel. They all had different personalities, and after all these years, I am still learning new things.

    A loyal dog is the best companion a person could ask for, but their time with us is short, so appreciate and enjoy every second of happiness they add to your life.

    — Rick Pederson



    John Andrews says (Apr 1, 2022):

    I met Rick after retiring from the service in 2013. He's proven to be dedicated to his community and passionate towards dogs. Although I never had the opportunity to work with Rick with my previous dog, he was there to provide excellent advice when I had gained and welcomed a puppy into our home. I wanted to make sure me and our new puppy grew a bond and learned what was expected from eachother. Rick provides all the neccessary tools for the success for me and my dog to learn from eachother the easy way. If I ever add another dog into our family, I will definetly be contacting Rick for his guidance.

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