Bringing a new dog home is an exciting time for both of you, and it's when you can do the most harm or the most good as far as training goes. This is when you need to show your new pooch around, and more importantly, show him how to behave himself. By using the right introductory and behavioral training techniques during the first few weeks, you lay the groundwork for a long, happy and problem-free relationship.
Dog-proof your house before the new guy gets home. Don't leave anything within his reach if you don't want it to get shredded, and keep anything dangerous, like cleaning products, safely put away.
Lead your dog through the house on his leash, showing him the important sights: his food and water bowls, his bed, his crate and the yard. Leave the door to his crate open and make it inviting by lining the floor with a pad or blanket, and tossing a few treats inside.
Allow the dog to explore the new environment on his own, but keep an eye on him to make sure he stays out of trouble. While his overall acclimatization can take a few weeks, the first day or two are when he may have the most trouble adjusting.
Don't overload the dog with lots of playtime, especially aggressive play. He is undergoing a major transition, and getting him all riled up only risks making him destructive and anxious.
Set and maintain a consistent schedule for things like feeding and walking. Dogs need consistency to learn, so creating a steady routine for your dog makes the transition easier for him to understand and deal with. Always be consistent with the house rules, as well. If someone else in the home allows your new dog on the furniture, and you don't, he's going to get confused.
Exercise your dog outside the home. This helps him understand that there is a time and place for playing and running around, and it burns off some of the excited energy he may have from his new environment.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.