Preparing for the first few days
Having a new addition to your family is an exciting time and it's tempting to show off your new companion to all your friends and family, but you need to give your dog time to settle in and get used to their new home and family before you start to introduce them to new people.
The first evening/night
Before you take your dog home, decide on some house rules with the family, for example, where will they sleep at night? Are they allowed on the sofa? Start as you mean to go on and make sure you stick to these from day one. Make sure that wherever you want the dog to sleep is where they should be on their first night and be prepared for some whining and barking.
Feel free to change your dog’s name, unless recommended otherwise by a member of staff. If their new name is used only in a positive context they will learn it quickly.
If your dog is sleeping or resting, leave them alone. You can introduce a crate ‘den’ to give your dog a safe space to retreat to and teach children not to interact with them if they are in their safe space.
You will need to provide your dog with at least two beds, one for the bedroom or sleeping area, and a second placed where they will spend most their time during the day. Ensure the beds are comfortable and as large as possible; if you wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting in it, then why should they?
When deciding what to feed your dog it can get a bit confusing with all the options available. Mayhew will provide you with a bag of good quality food and we recommend you stick to one brand to avoid your dog getting an upset stomach. We can offer advice for feeding and you can check out the food advice website listed at the end of this guide.
If you are considering adding fresh food or leftovers to make your dog’s meals more interesting, remember dog food is a specifically balanced diet and any titbits shouldn’t represent more than 10% of your dog’s meal. Please note, not all foods we eat are safe for dogs.
We recommend that your dog is fed at least twice a day. Follow the guidelines on the package to determine how much to feed your dog and take into account how may treats are given.
Contrary to some schools of thought, you should not take a dog's food bowl away from them while they’re eating. This may make them anxious about your presence near their bowl and could lead to ‘resource guarding’. It is much better to leave them in peace to finish their meal. Remember, food does not need to be always given in a bowl. You can use meal times as part of enrichment.
Always ensure fresh water is available.
Collar and lead
You will need to purchase a lead and collar for your new dog. At Mayhew, we have a wide variety and we will be happy to help choose the correct size.
Always keep your dog on its lead when walking on the street, or near roads. Only let your dog off lead in the park or in open spaces. You will need to purchase a long trailing line for the first walks in the park until you are confident your new dog will reliably recall to you.
Identification of your dog
Your dog has been microchipped as a method of identification, however, under the Control of Dogs Order 1992, your dog must also always wear a collar with the name, contact and address of the owner on it, or engraved on a tag when in public. We don’t recommend putting the dog’s name on the tag.
Include your mobile telephone number if you have one and consider including the messages such as:
- Reward offered for return.
- I should not be out alone.
- Call vet if hurt, will guarantee fee.
- Do not put the dogs’ name anywhere on the disc.
The more toys you can provide the better. Just as a child will lose interest in the same toy, so will your dog. Don’t buy a few toys and expect them to last a lifetime, even if the tennis ball you bought three years ago is still in one piece!
The following is a list of must have toys for your dog:
- A large variety of different toys with different shapes, textures and sounds. The Kong company do a good selection.
- Snuffle mats and activity feeders
- A variety of chews: your vet can advise you on which ones are safe for your individual dog
Take note of which toys your dog seems to enjoy the most as you can then use these toys as rewards during training. Try to alternate toys to keep interest. Remember that your dog needs YOU to interact with them. Regular play will keep your dog’s mind active and stimulated.
Unfortunately there is no equivalent to the NHS for dogs in the UK, so all medical treatment has to be paid for. Veterinary fees can become painfully expensive. Depending on your dog, insurance can cost anywhere from £40.00 - £250.00 an month, and you will have the peace of mind that should anything happen to your dog, you will be financially covered. If you adopt from Mayhew, you will be provided with four weeks of complimentary Insurance with Pet Plan.