Introducing our second guest author to EYLESVIEW, Angela Barlow. Angela is a UK-based dog behaviourist, working in the South Manchester / Cheshire areas. She is also an experienced school teacher, and has worked at using the same calm, patience and skills in her behaviourist work, experiencing many successes with dogs and their owners. She has witnessed many times over the benefits and positive changes that occur when behavioural improvements are achieved. Angela is very happy to respond to individual questions from our followers about any behavioural issues that you might be experiencing with your dog. Messages can be sent via her Facebook page.
When welcoming a new addition to our family, we prepare by purchasing all the equipment that we think is necessary: beds, toys, safety-gates, fencing and we think that we are ready….
Whether the addition to the family is a new baby, rescue dog or a puppy, when the time actually arrives, we quickly realise that we were not actually prepared and the reality is still a shock. A pleasant, happy shock that brings joy and laughter every day, but nevertheless a time of adaptation usually occurs for several weeks.
We set rules and boundaries which we think the new addition will appreciate and obey.
During this time of adaptation we should be flexible and realistic with our expectations.
Decide which ones are fundamental, which ones really matter and will make a difference to the running of the household and which we could afford to relax.
Each home is different and the needs of the family will vary. Do you have children? Will you allow your dog on the furniture? Will your dog be allowed in the bedrooms? Decide on the absolute essentials for behaviour and persevere with working on those rules but be prepared to let some things slide for the sake of your sanity!!
The initial arrival at your home is important and should be thought out very carefully. If you are bringing a rescue or older dog home then a walk around the area is vital to exercise your dog and establish a calmness and familiarity with the locality. Always ensure that you enter the house before the dog, make them wait and then invite them in. This sets the tone and they will recognise that this is your home and you are allowing them into it. Since dogs are pack animals it is important that you act as their leader and they will follow you rather than becoming dominant and gradually taking control.
If you are welcoming a puppy, the initial homecoming will depend if they are ready to be walked off the premises. Have they had all of their vaccinations? It might be necessary to walk them for a little while on your own property prior to allowing them into the house, but I would still recommend making them wait to be invited in.
If your dog is to live outside, I would recommend that you walk them around the perimeter on the leash rather than just letting them loose, to establish calm and to introduce them to your property where you are the pack leader.
The initial welcome is such an important event and it is very difficult to backtrack, so think ahead, plan and most of all remain calm. Difficult I know, with a beautiful addition, but you will reap the benefits when your dog trusts and respects you as a leader.