- Posted by Gilleen Witkowski
- On January 4, 2018
- 0 Comments
- adoption, dog walker, force-free, new dogs, new puppes, positive reinforcement, puppies, socialization, Toronto, training, walking, weather
Congratulations, you’re thinking about getting a dog, your puppy has just been born, or you just adopted a new pupper and they’re coming home. Have fun and go easy on yourself. Nothing is ever perfect, and you will find yourself tired and frustrated at times!
We meet new dog parents all the time so whether you’ve had dogs all your life or this is the first time you’ve shared your home with a four (or, three, or two!)-legged companion, here are some things to expect for your new bundle of joy, broken down into three elements we know lots about: socialization, walks, and weather.
Puppies are new to the world and need a lot of love, affection, play, and and socializing time with (safe!) people and dogs. This is their time to learn that the world is a safe, fun, and loving place, and that they can trust the world around them. This will help them grow up into dogs who manage their fear and anxieties safely in turn. We advise seeking ***force-free/positive reinforcement-based*** training for basic puppy teachings. This will also help you become familiar with the best practices for living in harmony with pooches in our communities, whether you are in a rural environment or busy city.
Rescue dogs with their own history, adventures, and lives thus far also need lots of time getting used to their new environment. Now is a time to give them space when they need it, and let them come to learn to trust you and the world around them. Once they start to gain that trust and bond with you, we also recommend training classes to address any fear-based issues or triggers, helping your dog adjust to and enjoy their new life.
Dogs need their outside time, for physical exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization. And of course, to pee and poop! There is no one formula for how a dog should walk or for how long. As you get to know your dog, depending on their size, age, fur type, etc., you’ll figure out their tolerance and stamina levels, and how much they love (or don’t much care for!) walks. Again, training can help them learn to walk safely on leash (and we humans have to be able to walk them comfortably without much pulling!).
You are going to have so much fun on your outdoor adventures with your new dog, but there are risks to being outside with your pup. We especially want you to be on the lookout for scraps on the ground your pup may try to eat, traffic hazards (watch those speedy drivers!), off-leash dogs whose behaviour you don’t know, and most of all, triggers that may cause your dog to escape their collar or harness and bolt. This happens a LOT. We don’t want you to suffer through that, so here’s a tip on how you can make that much less likely:
- Watch your dog’s body language. If they seem uncomfortable or don’t want to go out, don’t force them. A relaxed, happy dog is much more likely to stay with you.
- Do an equipment check every time you leave the house – tug on your dog’s collar and/or harness to make sure they’re on right, and intact. If you don’t know how to put something on properly, don’t panic. Take your time and call a friend or trainer for help if you need to talk through it.
- Double leash or safety attachment (best option that we use with all our clients’ dogs): attach your leash to your dog’s harness, AND clip the top of your leash buckle to your dog’s collar using a carabiner, or a separate leash altogether. This way you are attached in two separate ways if equipment breaks or fails. Even better, attach your leash(es) to your waist and use your hands to hold them as well.
The degree to which your dog enjoys outdoor time may depend on the weather. Some love the heat and snow, some outright refuse to move when they feel wind!
Rescue pup Gracie, done with her short walk, asking for scritches:
Gracie happily getting scritches:
For those hardier pups, it’s wise to invest in some booties and/or paw cream for the cold weather (the salt/ice on the sidewalks bothers most dogs), and to use some of that paw cream in the hot weather too (for the pavement especially). This will keep them comfortable on their walks!
Olive modelling her outdoor gear:
If you’re reading this because you’re getting a dog soon, congratulations again, and enjoy!
Walk My Dog Toronto offers dog walking services and in-home pet care services in downtown Toronto. With easy online booking, we walk your dog while you are busy or at work. We give your dog love, socialization, and exercise, and we keep in touch with you every step of the way with our walk tracker.