- Transporting your new Beagle
- Showing your dog around her new home
- Meeting the pack
- Introducing the crate
- Enduring the first night
At last the big day has arrived: Today you bring your new Beagle home. The first 24 hours or so with your Beagle can be a dream come true or an absolute nightmare, depending on how you handle some potentially tricky arrival maneuvers. This chapter gives you the scoop on how to not only survive but thrive during your Snoopy-dog’s first day and night in your abode.
Picking Up Your Beagle
What (and whom) to bring
– Another person: Bringing along a second person — preferably over the age of 10 — can make the drive home a lot easier for all concerned. Your new dog can lie on that person’s lap, allowing you to concentrate on driving safely. If you’d rather be the designated lap, then let the other person drive, assuming he has a license.
If you’re driving, have the other person sit in the back seat with your Beagle. That way, if the dog gets squirmy or escapes from the designated lap, the dog is less likely to end up on the gear box, the gas pedal, or your lap. If the other person is driving, you should sit in the back seat with your Beagle.
– Several towels: Your Beagle may get carsick during the journey home. To limit the damage to your car or your human companion’s clothes, bring some towels and have your friend place one across his lap. That way, if your dog tosses her cookies, the cookies can be easily whisked away. And don’t bother pulling over if your dog starts to upchuck; she’ll be done before you turn off the motor.
– Collar and leash: A drive of more than an hour may be too long for your confused or nervous new dog to hold her water or the other stuff. Having her collar and leash along makes a midjourney bathroom break both easy and safe. Make sure that you put the new collar on the dog before you head for home.
– A couple of plastic bags: Cleaning up your dog’s poop is essential to being a good dog owner — and you should get in the habit of doing your dog’s dirty work on the trip home. For the poop on how to pick up poop, check out Chapter Managing Your Beagle’s Day-to-Day Health.
– A roll of paper towels: You’ll be glad you brought this item along if your little sweetie has a bathroom boo-boo or upchucks in your car.
– A crate: If you can’t bring another person with you — or if the only other people who can come are your very young children — bring your Beagle’s crate. Place the crate in the back seat and secure it with a seat belt. Stick a crate pad or a few towels inside to create a cozy nest for your four-legged traveler.
A doggy seat belt is a great safety option for your Beagle — but not necessarily on the day you bring her home. These devices can be a little bit daunting to use at first, and may add to any stress you and the dog already are feeling. However,having a canine seat belt is a great idea for future trips. Get the goods on these devices by checking out Chapter Traveling (or Not) with Your Beagle.
– A chew toy: Having a durable, medium-sized toy to chew on can distract your Beagle from any apprehension she may feel as she leaves her old home and moves to her new home with you.
Receiving the necessary papers
Hooray! You’ve made it to the breeder, shelter, or foster home, and you’ve got your new friend. Before the two of you embark on your journey home, however, you should receive a few additional items:
– A signed contract: No matter where or from whom you adopt your new Beagle, you should receive a document that transfers ownership of the dog to you. The contract also should specify your obligations and those of the individual or institution from whom you’re acquiring the dog.
– Your dog’s health record: The breeder, shelter, or rescue group should provide you with a copy of your Beagle’s health record. This document should include when she was born and/or arrived at the shelter or foster home, and the veterinary care she has received, such as immunizations, spaying or neutering, deworming, and/or other procedures.
– Some food: A breeder or rescue volunteer may also give you a few days’ supply of the food she’s been feeding your Beagle. If you aren’t given any food, at least ask what your new dog’s been eating so you can pick up the same product (if you haven’t done so already).
– A scent cloth: To get your Beagle puppy’s housetraining off to a good start, consider asking her breeder for one more item: a paper towel that’s been scented with a bit of your pup’s urine. This pretreated sheet will speed up your pooch’s potty-training process. More about scent cloths and housetraining appears in Chapter Housetraining Your Beagle.
From there to here: The trip home
Make sure this spot is away from any other doggy deposits. Until your dog is fully immunized, she’s vulnerable to picking up nasty diseases from other canines — and stool is a prime transmission vehicle. Contact with stool can also put your pooch in contact with roundworms and other parasites.
If your Beagle poops or pees, tell her in a soft, cheerful voice what a good girl she is, and take a minute or two to pet her. Use one of the plastic bags you brought to clean up any poop, and drop the bag into a trash can.
If your Beagle puppy pees, wipe her urinary area very gently with a clean paper towel, and then put that towel into a plastic bag. You’ve just made a brand new scent cloth that will come in handy when the two of you arrive home.
After your little love-fest, take your new Beagle back to the potty spot to give her another chance to do her doo. Maybe she will, maybe she won’t — but at least you’ve given her a chance. Either way, you can then continue on to your home and know that you’ve already started to not only teach her basic bathroom manners, but also form a lifelong bond.
We’re Here! Arriving Home
You’ve truly arrived: You and your new Beagle buddy are about to cross the threshold into your abode. But before you open the door and are greeted by the other members of your household, consider how you’re going to help your Snoopy-dog handle the first few hours of life in your household.
First things first: A potty break
Even if your Beagle does take a whiz or make a deposit, don’t bring her inside your house immediately afterward. Many Beagle puppies and even some adult Beagles may need to make multiple deposits or take several whizzes before they’re totally empty.
Checking out the new digs
Meeting the rest of the pack
The human members: No trauma please!
Never, ever leave any dog — Beagle or otherwise — alone with a child under the age of 6. Even the gentlest Beagle may nip a small child that pulls her tail or yanks her ears. Kids under 6 often don’t understand that a Beagle is a living creature with real feelings, not a stuffed toy that just happens to walk and bark. For the sake of your dog and your kids, stick around to make sure that everybody stays out of harm’s way.
The canine members: Don’t let the fur fly!
The rest of the critter crew
Other animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, and reptiles generally spend most of their time in cages. When your Beagle’s around, that’s where they need to stay. A dog has a strong instinct to chase and catch prey, which is what these critters will look like to her (especially if the critter is a rabbit). The result, unfortunately, will probably be the critter’s demise. Allow your critter floor time only when your Beagle’s not around.
Introducing (or re-introducing) the crate
– Start with an open-door policy. Successful crate introduction is a gradual process that forestalls any events that could spook your little hound. One such event is the accidental closure or slamming of the crate door before she’s fully acclimated to the crate. Prevent such events by tying the door open and leaving it that way until your dog ventures into her crate under her own steam.
– Let her check out the crate. Let your Beagle walk around and sniff the exterior of the crate. After a couple of minutes of investigation, place a treat or toy just inside the crate door. If she enters the crate to retrieve the goody, praise her extravagantly and let her enjoy the treat or toy. If she’s unsure about setting foot in the crate, encourage her to try — but don’t force her. Allow your dog to decide when she’s ready to enter her crate on her own. When she does, tell her what a very good girl she is.
Playing the name game
If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time for you to give your Beagle a name. Your Snoopy-dog is a distinct individual and should sport a moniker that reflects her endearing, irrepressible individuality. For adult dogs adopted from shelters or rescue groups, a new name can take on an added significance: The new appellation reflects the dog’s new life in a happy household.
But coming up with the right name for your little hound may be more of a challenge than you anticipated. To help you negotiate those challenges and come up with a name that truly fits your magnificent canine companion, consider the following suggestions:
Pick a name that says something about your pooch. For example, a good name for a Beagle might be Elvis, reflecting The King’s classic song “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog.”
Choose a name that’s easy to learn. Most experts suggest limiting a name to one or two syllables. Such names take less time for a dog to recognize than a longer one does — and will be easier for your kids to use, too.
Pick a name your dog will grow into. Sure, calling your Beagle puppy Baby Snooks sounds cute now, but that name will sound doggone undignified when your puppy reaches adulthood.
Avoid sound-alike names. Names that sound like either the names of other people in your house or common commands will confuse everyone in your home, including your Beagle. For example, the name “Kit” wouldn’t work for a dog, because it sounds too much like the word “sit.” Similarly, if your husband’s name is Manny, don’t name your dog Fanny.
Don’t choose a name associated with negative behavior. Prime examples here: aggressive names for dogs. In other words, don’t name your Beagle “Killer.” And even if your Beagle has had an accident or two, avoid calling her “Piddle-puss.”
Pick a name you can use in public. Okay, okay — your Beagle has made an unauthorized deposit in the middle of your Berber carpet. Worse, you have tween-agers who think potty humor is the greatest thing going, and they want to immortalize that deposit by christening your Beagle with a name that rhymes with “sit.” Tell them no. If they accuse you of being an uptight fuddy-duddy, refer them to the “Avoid sound-alike names” suggestion.
Google for some ideas. The World Wide Web has a gazillion sites that list common dog names. Just type “common dog names” into a search engine and you’ll come up with scores of sites that are stuffed to the gills with suggestions.
Follow the leaders. If you can’t come up with something suitable on your own, consider what’s worked for other people and pooches. For example, PR Newswire reports that the most popular names for dogs in 2005 were Max, Bailey, Buddy, Molly, Maggie, Lucy, Daisy, Bella, Jake, and Rocky.
– Shut the door — but not for long. When your Beagle consistently chooses to enter the crate to retrieve a treat or toy, take the next step: shutting the door quietly for just a few seconds. While the door is shut, praise her, then open the door and coax her out. Praise her again and give her another treat. Repeat this sequence, gradually increasing the time the door remains closed, until your dog stays calmly in the crate for five minutes or so.
– Leave the room. When your dog can spend five minutes in her crate without getting hysterical, try leaving the room while she’s inside her little den. Lure her into the crate with either a safe chew toy or several treats (not just one). When she’s in, shut the door quietly and leave the room for just a minute. When those 60 seconds are up, come back and see how she’s faring. If she’s content, leave again and come back in a few minutes. Continue checking until she’s finished her chewing or eating, or acts restless or distressed. At that point, let her out of the crate and praise her for her remarkable achievement. Keep practicing until she can stay in her crate alone for about 30 minutes.
Surviving the First Night
Keep your Beagle with you . . .
. . . But keep your bed to yourself
Play some (not so) funky music
Use your hands
– Keep it dangling: Your hand, that is. Dangle your hand in front of the crate door or slats so your dog can sniff and maybe even lick it. This superclose proximity to your scent and your person can help even the most unhappy new puppy feel better and settle down to sleep.
– Give a pat: To the crate, not the canine. If your dog still refuses to wrap up her nighttime concert or otherwise won’t settle down, give the top of the crate a little pat and tell her “Jessie (or whatever her name is), go to sleep.” This maneuver works better if you’ve chosen a plastic crate rather than a wire crate for your dog, because the plastic crate has a solid surface that makes a sound when patted.
Have your shoes ready
Keep your outdoor gear close by the first few nights your Beagle is with you. You’ll get her outside more quickly, thus preventing more than a few potty accidents. Few aspects of dog ownership are worse than cleaning up dog doo in the middle of the night!