Bringing a new dog home can be a very exciting time, but it’s important to stay calm and establish some ground rules for your new dog. It can be overwhelming for a puppy or rehomed dog coming into an unknown environment for the first time. The things that they learn now are vital and can be hard to change. The most important thing is to maintain calm and follow the 8 essential steps to introducing a new dog to the family.
Things to consider before getting a dog
Haven’t got your perfect pal yet? There’s a lot to consider before getting a new dog, should you get a puppy or rehome a rescue dog? Do you have time or do all family members agree to help look after the dog? What breed is right for you? Have a look at these facts about Jack Russells to get to know the breed better.
Getting a new Jack Russell puppy
When bringing a new puppy home make sure to have a carrier, a comfy blanket and freshwater. They are leaving everything they know and it’s important not to overwhelm them. Keep a quiet area and avoid petting them too much. Bring spare bedding in case they get nervous or over-excited. It is compulsory in the UK to get your dog Microchipped, and best to register with the local vet as early as possible. Make sure you learn how to train a puppy, so you are ready from day one to have the perfect pup!
Rehoming a Jack Russell
Rehoming a dog from a rescue centre is fantastic as you know the dogs needs. They have often been assessed and given some level of basic training (no toilet training yay!). They are also usually vaccinated and have had all necessary health checks so it’s a great way to avoid unexpected vet bills. Some rescue centres even offer financial help for older dogs with known conditions meaning you can relax and focus on enjoying your time together.
Jack Russell Puppy Starter Kit
What items do you need when bringing a new puppy home? Puppy pads can aid toilet training and save the floor, just make sure to change them regularly as the smell can encourage more indoor action. Get a puppy pen and/or crate to reduce damage to the house and give the dog a “safe area” to be in. Make sure you have the right food and that water is always available.
Free New Dog Starter Checklist
Are you ready for a new dog? Get your free puppy starter checklist here, including what’s legally required in the UK for your new dog.
What do you need to buy for a new Jack Russell?
A collar and lead are essential. It’s important and UK law to keep your dog under control in public places. ID Tags are also a legal requirement. You are required by The Control of Dogs Order 1992 to inscribe the name and address of the owner on your dog’s collar tag. Even if the new dog is microchipped, and you can be fined up to £5,000 if you do not. There are some fantastic personalised tags available from local UK businesses on Etsy. Harnesses are another popular option for walking your dog safely. It’s important to measure your dog and get the right fitting harness to keep them secure, read more about no-pull harnesses here.
Chew toys are an important part of play in your dogs life. Dogs love to chew, particularly puppies, and if they don’t have anything specific to chew they will choose their own (usually your slippers!). Distraction toys like Kongs and lick mats are also great for avoiding separation anxiety. Stuff them with food before you leave for hours of amusement and to stop boredom barking. Need some more help? Find a dog trainer near you on Bark.
It’s important to keep on top of your new dog’s health and get them used to regular grooming. Toothbrushes and dog toothpaste can be bought at any good pet shop and most supermarkets. It’s important not to use human toothpaste as it contains xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Nail clippers and dog shampoo are other essentials for grooming, as well as a brush depending on your dog’s coat. Read the 10 essentials every Jack Russell owner needs here.
Bringing a new dog home 8 essential steps
Then take to dog’s “safe zone”, this should be an area that is closed in (like a play pen) that the dog is left alone to relax in. This is their space, with bed, water and chew toys where they are left alone by everyone. This is important throughout the dogs life, even if it’s just a dog bed in later years.
Introduce the dog to new people and other furry family members slowly, using treats as positive reinforcement. With members outside the social circle (like other animals that may visit the house or garden) use treats to reward calm behaviour, teaching them to ignore them.
The number one training tip that many people don't know?
Most dogs are motivated by food and it’s great for incentive based training. Instead of feeding from the bowl, measure out your dogs food for the day and using it as treats for good behaviour and training. Any extra can be stuffed in distraction toys to keep your dog busy while you are busy or out.
Introducing a Jack Russell to a cat
Can Jack Russells live with cats? Of course, like any dogs they can be trained to live with any animal. Even Jack Russells and rats can be best friends as shown by this crazy video! Jack Russells have a strong hunting instinct so it’s important to train them when this is acceptable, like playing with a tug toy or chasing a ball, and when it isn’t like chasing next doors cat. Don’t tolerate any aggressive behaviour and Jack Russells and cats can get along well.
Bring the dog things that smell like the cat before meeting to associate the smell with you. Use a pet gate to make sure the cat can easily get away and make the introductions slowly. Give praise when the dog is calm and quickly correct any aggression or “chase” behaviour. It might take time to be best friends but they will quickly learn to get along. Don’t leave them unsupervised together until you trust them completely.
Introducing a new Jack Russell to your dogs
Introducing a new puppy to a dog can be difficult. The adult dog will naturally correct a puppies behaviour which is perfectly normal but it can’t get aggressive or be allowed to go too far. It’s best to meet outside, on a walk with two separate walkers if possible. This way the dogs are interested in other things and learn to be together as a pack.
When back at home take away any possessions that could cause conflict, like toys the adult dog is possessive over, and put them in a safe area where the older dog can escape from the puppy. Try to keep the same routine with the older dog a give plenty of praise when behaving well. If there are any signs of aggression in either dog, immediately interrupt the behaviour. Separate and don’t give either affection as they will see it as a reward for bad behaviour.
How to get dogs ready to meet a new baby
Preparation is key when making sure that your Jack Russell is happy meeting a new baby. Basic training is a great start, making sure the dog does what you tell them makes life a lot easier!
The Bump game is next on the list. Let the dog know it doesn’t control the space by touching them with your foot and asking them to move every time they are in the way. How many times do you step over your JRT in a day? Stop, there’s no need to kick the dog just a bump and let them know they need to move out of the way. You can reward them with a treat when they do to make it a positive experience. Then when baby does it there’s no issue.
Your dogs are probably the centre of attention in the house but that’s all about to change. Try making a fuss of other things, like soft toys or dolls, to prepare them. Bring in new baby things gradually to let them sniff and get used to it. If you can, get a partner to bring things the baby has worn home after the birth. Getting them used to the smell and associating it with you.
Try to spoil the dog a bit after baby comes home. Toys, treats, and perhaps splitting dinner into three mealtimes giving the impression that baby is helping make the pack better as there is more food available.
Babies don’t get around too much at first but when they start to crawl things can change. Of course all dogs need a “safe place”, make sure baby knows not to disturb the dog when resting and the dog can get away easily if it needs to. Never leave them unsupervised together, dogs are still animals no matter how much a part of the family.
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