To prepare your home for an adopted dog, you will need to purchase several products for the dog. We recommend a bowl, a leash, a crate for crate training and of course, food and treats. You also need to purchase a dog collar.
We do not recommend pinch collars or choke collars for training dogs. Chain, choke and pinch collars are reserved solely for training purposes but often can cause injury to the dog. We prefer positive reinforcement for training your dog.
There are three types of dog collars we recommend:
The most common type of dog collar is a standard buckle or snap-closure collar. This is for daily wear and features a loop for an ID tag and to connect a leash to. This type of dog collar is often made of fabric or leather. We recommend leather as it will not cause hair loss around the neck.
A smart collar is the newest type of dog collar. These collars offer built-in Wi-Fi and GPS and sync with a smartphone app. This means if your dog runs away you will have a way to track his or her location from your mobile device. Smart collars also include health trackers to monitor heartrate and changes in behavior from your dog. We recommend a smart collar if you have the budget to afford one.
Some dog trainers prefer harnesses while others do not because they do not feel it reinforces enough tension. A harness is nice for a dog that pulls. The harness prevents all of the tension around the dog’s neck and transfers it to the shoulders instead.
There are several other forms of dog collars, including show collars and head collars. A head collar is similar to muzzle. There are many more we could discuss but we feel the most common are the three above.
You can purchase a standard dog collar, smart collar or harness at the local pet store, Target, Petsmart or online.
Be sure you have chosen the right collar for your dog before he or she arrives at your home and place it on them before leaving the animal shelter.
You will want to prepare your home before your adopted dog arrives and should consider crate training for the first few months too. You will want the dog’s overall behavior to be good to and training for that should start immediately.
You should practice positive reinforcement when training your adopted dog and that begins the moment he or she arrives at your home.
WHAT IS POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT FOR DOGS?
For positive reinforcement, reward your dog the moment he or she does something good.
The reward should be a small food treat. Perhaps a Milk-Bone®. Don’t reward the dog with something that will occupy him or her for a long time. You want them to be good again right away for the chance at another reward.
Mix up the treats so the dog doesn’t become bored with the same food over and over and be sure to say something positive in accompaniment with the treat. Ideas would be “Good dog!”, “Good job!” or “Yes!”.
The timing is important here because you want the dog to correlate the treat with the most recent activity. This means the moment the dog listens to your command you should give the treat before the dog does anything else.
You should also keep the commands very simple. This means you shouldn’t use long sentences or complicated words for commands for your dog. Here are some good words to use for commands:
Be consistent. You want the same command to mean the same thing for everyone in your home. The more repetition and consistency the sooner the dog will understand what it means.
The rewards should decrease over time. First, reward good behavior about 80% of the time then down to 50% then 25% until a reward becomes a much more rate treat only 10% of the time. The dog should soon learn to act good whether there is a treat involved or not.
This should be the goal for you and your relationship with your new adopted dog. Training through positive reinforcement will build a strong bond that will last several years and the lifetime of your dog.
A popular method of training dogs after adoption is crate training. The purpose of crate training is to create a place in the home where the dog is safe during the evening and hours you are not home.
You can choose between several types of crates. There are fabric models, plastic models and metal models of crates for dogs.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
- Never use the crate as a form of punishment. This will cause the dog to fear the crate and he or she will not want to enter it when you want them to.
- Do not leave the dog in the crate for too long. Dogs need exercise and interaction and need to go to the bathroom after several hours.
- Puppies should never spend more than 3-4 straight hours in a crate as they’re unable to hold their bladders for much longer than that.
- Do not consider the crate a permanent solution. Use it only until you trust the dog not to chew items in your home, urinate in the home or harm himself or herself at all.
WHAT TO DO:
- Introduce the crate to your dog using treats or food or something for them to feel comfortable about the crate. Place one or two treats just over the entry of the crate. If the dog goes in, place more treats near the back of the crate.
- Place the dog’s food dish in the back of the crate. This will let the dog eat a meal in the crate and he or she will become more comfortable with being in the crate for longer periods of time.
- Spend time sitting next to the crate with the dog inside. Sit with them for 5-10 minutes at a time and then let them be in the crate your.
- Leave your home with the dog in the crate but for no longer than 20-30 minutes the first few times.
- Leave the dog in the crate overnight. Once the dog is comfortable in the crate for an entire evening.
Once your dog is able to sleep the entire night in the crate the training will complete. You should use the crate until you feel comfortable the dog will be safe in your home and not damage anything.