Foster Based Rescue
Southern Ontario

Dog Training Tips: Bringing Home a New Dog

Dog Training Tips: Bringing Home a New Dog

Finally, that time has arrived: after waiting for the ‘right’ dog, she’s finally arrived! Now, here you sit, watching her fuss over the new toy you had waiting for her in your living room, having ripped the stuffing out of it in 30 seconds.

Uh oh. Now what?

The following are three golden rules for helping your new dog settle into her new family


House rules
Whatever rules you’d like Fido to follow should be put in place from day one. Are you going to allow him on the furniture? Is he going to be crated for a portion of the day? Are there going to be areas of the house that are off-limits to him? Start enforcing rules right away. Initial leniency will only serve to slow down your training and confuse your dog. As tempting as it might be to cut Fido a little slack at the beginning, he’s going to be in for a rude awakening when all of a sudden he’s not allowed to sleep on the bed with you anymore, or hang around the dinner table during your meals.

Dogs don’t do well with grey areas: there is no ‘sometimes’ or ‘maybe’ in dog training, it’s either always or never.

Nothing in life is free
As an Italian woman, I am all too familiar with expressing love through food, so I understand the irresistible magnetism of those watery brown eyes, just begging for a piece of whatever you happen to be eating.
You will do neither of you any favours by becoming Pooch’s 24/7 treat dispenser. There is nothing wrong with giving your dog treats, I’m all for it, in fact, but always follow this golden rule: nothing in life is free! Pooch needs to sing for her supper, so to speak. What you ask her to do doesn’t even really matter, so long as it’s something. Gradually setting the bar higher will keep dog training interesting and fresh for both of you. More complex training theory, such as intermittent reinforcement, capturing and shaping, are effective ways in which to achieve high levels of training. To learn more about dog training, consult a professional dog trainer, it’s a great investment!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cureroper3
This is probably my all-time favourite proverb because of how irrefutably true it is. Basic training and addressing unwanted behaviours appropriately from the beginning is much more effective (and easy!) than dealing with a problem that’s snowballed into something more serious. Don’t wait for a little whining to become insistent barking, or for a growl to turn into a bite before seeking help.


One specific area that is often the source of behavioural issues is around resources, typically food. Hand-feeding your dog in the beginning is the easiest way to stave off resource guarding in a dog that isn’t already showing signs of aggression. Playing the ‘trading game,’ where to take something away from your dog, you offer her something in exchange, will teach her that hands aren’t threatening. This way, Rover isn’t learning that running away or exhibiting possessiveness are the best ways of getting what she wants. If you do this with a resource she can have back, like a toy, you can even give her back the resource to really instill just how advantageous it is for her to relinquish something.


This post is only a guide, and in no way meant as a substitute for specialized training. If your dog is exhibiting dangerous behaviours, please consult a canine behaviour specialist before attempting to do any training on your own.

Good luck, and happy training!



Sabina Gross, BSc.

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