I just got a new dog! Now what? Steps 3-5

Michele Forto is the lead trainer at Denver Dog Works

Step Three: I’m standing just inside my front door with my new dog on leash what’s next?  Do not unleash him.  Instead take him into each and every room and place him on a sit, walk him around that room letting him smell his surroundings, if he becomes overly interested in any one object – gently tell him “leave it” when he looks up at you or goes to the next thing praise him for leaving alone what you asked him to leave alone.  Manners and boundaries are key to teaching your new dog how you expect him to behave and treat his new home.  Boundaries are set by you showing him where he can be and what he can touch and what he cannot touch.  Manners involves him learning to sit politely and patiently for attention/affection without jumping up.  It also involves him learning to follow you through doorways and stairways instead of racing and pushing past you to get through first.

[ Rewind: I Just Got a New Dog! Now What? Steps 1-2 ]

Step Four: You’ve successfully introduced your new dog to your home, it’s time for some exercise and love.  Take your dog outside to your backyard and let him do his business.  I personally choose to teach my dogs to potty on command on leash first so I can ensure that they use the bathroom in the same place every time.  This is up to you.  Once he’s done his business – begin playing a game with your new dog.  This incorporates affection and exercise at the same time and is highly stimulating for your dog.  Be sure to win all games (W.A.G.) and end the session if your dog becomes overly excited and/or agitated by simply asking him to sit, take away the toys and tell him “all done”.  If he refuses to end the game, replace his leash and go back to step two and step three.

Step Five: Training = Control for you and routine for your dog.  You’ve had your dog for 24 hours, you’ve already began his training routine and didn’t even know it!  There’s no time like the present to begin a specific training routine.  Training can get pretty boring and can become very repetitive – even though I am a trainer, I recommend seeking out a trainer to help keep you on task, deal with difficult situations and to help you gain ground avoiding plateau’s.

There are many trainers to choose from out there – do your research, remember your list of goals, and discuss with each trainer your plans and how they can best help you obtain those goals.


Michele Forto is the lead trainer at Denver Dog Works and the co-host of the popular Dog Works Radio Show.


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