This is a great article, and while it is geared towards the new dog at the White House, the tips are important for anyone who is getting ready to welcome a new furry friend into the family.
12 Tips for the Obama Family and Their New Adopted Dog, Bo
Written by: Dr. Randy Kidd, veterinary adviser of Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems and Green Dog Naturals (www.greendognaturals.com) and author of two acclaimed books, Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Dog Care and Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Cat Care, offers this advice:
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (April 15, 2009) – As the Obamas prepare to welcome home their first pet dog, Dr. Randy Kidd, holistic veterinarian and herbalist and veterinary adviser of Rainbow Light, a leader in natural nutrition since 1981, provides a few “first” tips to ease the transition and ensure a long and healthy life ahead. But these tips aren’t just for the First Family, they are for all dog guardians welcoming a new canine member into their family. Anyone can follow these quick and easy tips, which are also easily adapted for puppies. Note: The terms he and she below are used interchangeably.
Welcome Home: Much like first impressions, your dog’s first few days in a new household are important. Greet him like he’s something special (this should not be too hard), and start out by showing him he’s a welcome member of the family … with some of the usual restrictions that apply to all family members. Remember that habits form early; make sure you try to make the new habits good ones and don’t let bad ones develop.
First Day Howls: If it’s her first day away from momma or her other family or recent familiar surroundings, she’ll likely miss them, and she may set up a howl when she’s supposed to be sleeping quietly in her own bed. Try a warm water bottle, well wrapped in several layers of towel; a ticking clock nearby may also make Pup feel like she’s still in momma’s company.
Set Your Boundaries: Decide beforehand where your dog will sleep; which furniture he can climb on and what he must stay off of. Prepare a special place where he can be away from the family – a place where he can sleep in peace.
To Crate or Not to Crate: While some folks feel their dogs should sleep in bed with them, many trainers feel that a crate (a regular dog crate that fits the size of the dog) is the ideal place to let the sleeping dog lie, and most dogs seem to actually enjoy the security that their own private crate provides. But first, if adopted, determine what the dog was previously used to.
Let ‘Em Out: Puppies and dogs are made to run and play, sniff the ground, dig in the dirt, and roll in the grass (and the cow plop). Healthy dogs are those that have been allowed to be dogs. Being outside, exercising his four legs and all his senses is a dog’s natural gateway to health.
Day One Training: Training begins on day one, and important aspects include: house training (lots of good tips for this on the Internet); where she is to sleep and where she is allowed to go and not go; and the Big Three of Dog Commands: sit/stay/come. Remember that puppies have even less of an attention span than a normal teenage boy, and they will be several months old before they come close to reaching their real physical capabilities. Several very short (a few minutes at a time) training sessions throughout the day are much better than one longer one.
Hands On: The more hands-on you are with the new dog, the better. A daily brushing is a must, and have your vet show you how to clean your pup’s teeth. The earlier you start to brush body and teeth, the easier (and more fun) it will be for your dog to accept your helpful hands. A rub down or massage is good for the puppy and the human massager as well, and you can stimulate many health-providing acupuncture points with a simple head to tail, whole-body massage. Pay particular attention to the ears and feet because acupuncture points are concentrated there, and it’s important that Pup learn to accept that you (and your vet) will routinely be examining his ears and feet.
Natural Mischief Makers: Puppies are natural mischief-makers. They love to chew, yap at anything strange or new, pee and poop wherever they happen to be at the time, and romp and play until they collapse from exhaustion. Be prepared for the natural nature of Puppy, and realize that play time is often the best time to offer her some tips for how you want her to socialize into your family. In other words, be ready to work training sessions into play times.
Best Food: Food is medicine and medicine is food. Provide your puppy with the very best food you can. Home-fixed foods are the best, but if that’s impractical for your family, provide a quality food, and for most commercial foods, a little added meat will be beneficial. “Grazing” (being able to eat from many different food sources) is the best way to provide most or all of the essential nutrients.
Supplements to Grow On … but not too much: Important supplements for puppies include: a balanced omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acid mix to enhance the immune system and to help a healthy growth phase; probiotics to help maintain gut health; and a balanced vitamin and mineral mix. Whatever a puppy is fed early on is likely to be his preferred food in later life, so get pups accustomed to the tastes of supplements and herbs at a young age. Remember that the most important aspect of puppy supplements is that they be balanced. Too much of any one nutrient or supplement can be more harmful than beneficial.
Kids Need to Know: Puppies are soooo cute, so rambunctious, so happy and happy-making that kids may try to play too rough with them. Puppies are also fragile, and they need lots and lots of sleep. Teach the kids to be gentle and to respect the times when Puppy needs her rest.
Have fun: Remember that Puppy is a dog in cute and cuddly clothes. He or she is not a human, but puppies and dogs have the ability to teach us humans how to have fun with our own lives, how to live with the same joy expressed by the natural dog, and how we too can become a healthy part of the natural world around us.