Wundertraining part 1: are you adopting a dog? Great! Here is how to prep your home

In Luke’s previous post, he asks the questions you should ask yourself before considering aopting a dog. If you have done your homework and answered all the questions with an enthusiastic “yes”, here is Luke’s prepping list for your new arrival 

You have decided on rescuing a dog and have chosen them, visited, them, reserved them, have a collection date – and have at least a week off of work so you can bond with your new dog? Amazing! Now we need to get the home ready, so when that dog goes through the doors, you are already winning.

Goldie Wunderdog is perfectly happy with her crate, possibly because Luke has sweetened it with a few treats (photographs: George Baxter)

Creating a space for the dog

First things first: decide on having a dedicated area that the dog will be allowed in and get that set up. This is typically one room as you don’t want to overwhelm the dog, and it’s better to give them a small amount of space and work up rather than giving them the whole home and then trying to confine them. I would recommend using a dog gate rather than a door as the dog will be able to see, hear and smell you, which will really help if the dog has any separation issues.

Having a crate is a great way to give the dog a sense of comfort, but also a place you can close them in, if you are having lots of people round, need to clean or pop out for a bit and want to know they are safe. Put nice comfy blankets in the crate, including one from the previous home and one with your smell; also put a blanket around the whole crate expect for the door to make it cosy. Make sure you train your dog to like the crate, then they will enjoy being inside it.

Dog shopping list

You will need a water bowl, food bowl (although feeding out of food toys and games is a much better way of giving your dog their food in terms of enrichment and stimulation), toys (different ones especially for chewing like rope, tough rubber or wood), lead, harness, collar, tags (ensure they have your name and full address as this is required by law, however I would also add your mobile – and never put your dogs name on there). You may also want to buy the appropriate grooming brush for their coat, poo bags and a vet-standard, enzyme-based cleaner for any accidents. Also, think about pet insurance and signing up with a local vet.

Dog proofing the home and garden

You need to start looking at your home and garden through the eyes of a dog. Make sure you tape down or remove anything on the floor that may be hazardous and the dog could chew, this could be wires, plants (here’s Dogs Trust’s list of common toxic plants to dogs) or other random items. You may want to temporarily roll up rugs, in case of any toileting issues, take off anything dangling off tables like clothes, remove any food from low tables and push any food on higher surfaces to the back so the dog can’t jump up and take something. If things are usually kept low down, perhaps put them away in boxes and secure lids (such as childrens’ toys and board games), and definitely put shoes away. You may also want to protect wooden chair and table legs from being chewed.

In regards to the garden, think about gaps in the fencing, if you can’t replace fencing in time then ensure they are securely blocked off. Tidy the garden as much as possible and pick up any poo from other animals, fallen fruit, hazardous or thorny plants and standing water. If you have bird feeders, have them well out of reach for the dog and have a large tray underneath to catch falling seeds and bird poo while they are eating.

Rules and responsibilities

It is a good idea to talk about general rules the household will follow before you get your dog. This could include where the dog is and isn’t allowed to go, and who is going to be responsible for what. If there are young kids in the home, take some time to talk about dogs and explain that they can experience fear and worry, and make them understand more about how to interact with the dog. For example, if the dog is in its crate/bed, they should be left alone, because they are indicating they want to rest. You can also try the five-second rule: play with the dog for five seconds and then stop, and if the dog comes in for more, you can have another five seconds – and if they walk away, they are saying: “That’s enough for me.”

Take a travel harness at least, to make sure the freedom ride is also a safe ride

Collecting your dog

Make a list of any questions for the rescue centre like feeding schedule and general care so you don’t forget anything when you see them. Get the centre’s advice on maybe not feeding them before you pick them up, if they get car sick. If the journey is long, think about regular stops for toileting and fresh air.

Car safety

The highway code states that dogs must be suitably restrained in the car with dog seat belts, dog crates, dog guards are all ways you can do this. Try to avoid just tying their lead to the seatbelt as this is dangerous and you don’t want them distracting you while driving.

Congratulations, you are on your way home. In my next post, Iet’s look at surviving the first 24 hours.

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