There is an abundance of tools at your disposal to help keep your dog safe and out of trouble. Depending on the circumstances, you might use a combination of crates, gates, tethers, draglines, and leashes to keep your dog under control — and that’s just indoors! This section will focus on the supplies you need to interrupt and prevent mischief.
You’ll need to gather some supplies to get started out right.
- Crate: at least one; consider getting a second crate for car travel.
- Collar: at least one well-fitting plain collar; maybe get special training collars later.
- Leashes: at least one 6-foot leash (longer lengths are helpful), possibly a retractable. Do yourself a favor and buy a leash that feels good in your hand, rather than what fits your dog or matches his collar.
- Draglines: at least one 6-8 foot and at least one 25-50 foot.
- Aversives: at least six of each type you use (noise, water, or taste). You’ll get more details about aversives later in this chapter.
- A fence, or at least a plan for how you will contain your dog outside.
- Food and water dishes: stainless steel is best.
- Food: If you know what your dog is eating now, get enough to feed him for at least a couple of weeks so any change can be done gradually.
- Toys: Time and experience will teach you what your dog likes, so start with a few different types
- Chewing items: again, experiment with a variety (you’ll get more detail about this in Chapter 8).
- Soft treats for training.
- An appointment with your veterinarian within a few days of bringing your dog home.
Aversives and Deterrents for Misbehavior
There are several things that you can use to help your dog realize the error of his ways when he makes poor choices. You want to use something that is aversive — that is, something your dog doesn’t like and will work to avoid — but isn’t harmful. What you use will depend on your dog’s individual personality.
Just like people, what one loves, another can’t stand, so you’ll have to experiment a bit to figure out what is most effective for your dog. Commonly used aversives include noisemakers, like throw chains or shaker bottles (½ gallon or gallon–sized plastic milk jugs with ten pennies inside and the top taped shut). Squirt guns or spray bottles with stream settings can also be used to interrupt or deter your dog from unwanted behavior, as long as your dog isn’t one that thinks a stream of water is something to play with!
For certain behaviors, particularly unwanted “mouthy” behaviors like play-biting, inappropriate chewing or excessive barking, you will want to use something that tastes bad to your dog. You might use one of the readily available possibilities like Bitter Apple, vinegar, Tabasco, or human breath spray. Whatever aversives you use, have plenty of them handy wherever you hang out with your dog. You don’t want to have to go find something; you want it to be there when you need it.
Once you’ve assembled all your supplies, yippee! You’re ready to bring your dog home!