The First Week with Bruce
Hey, it's me! Since the previous entry of this blog was all about our week leading up to getting our new dog, Bruce - I wanted to now spill the tea on our first week with him.
I kept a log of what went on during our first week with Bruce and of course, I wanted to share with you. This goes over each day's highlights, some worries (lol), some dog tips for you, and several firsts with our new little buddy.
Day One (arrival day):
Let Bruce sniff our front yard, walked him around, and let him sniff the backyard for a bit
Encouraged going potty outside
Walked him inside to the dog room and let him sniff around and see where his stuff was
Used some freeze-dried chicken breast treats to get him into his crate
Left a fan on (ambient noise) and asked Alexa to play “music for sleep”. Ambient noise can help dogs relax, decompress, and decreases the likelihood for barking at random sounds outside, etc.
The rest of the day was simply rotating from letting him rest/sleep, taking him out to go potty, feeding him, letting him out to stretch his legs and get pets. Rinse and repeat
Walked Bruce around more of our house (with Jade and Freddie away) with him on leash
It's safe to say that he has a leash on for everything and everywhere he goes for right now
Worked on positive associations with the crate (feeding meals in there, rewarding him for going in, etc.)
Began working on picking him up. A lot of small dogs have issues with getting picked up and one of the reasons is usually that they don’t get asked for consent or get a heads up that it’s coming. Humans tend to just rush over and scoop small dogs up time and time again, leading to small dogs who gradually over time become difficult to “catch” or pick up easily
Walked around the back yard on leash and let him get used to the space he will now have back there! Add in a dash of panic as I watched him try to squeeze under every tiny area of the fence (insert eye roll here) lol – we are working on it
Lots of sitting on the floor next to him while he was exhausted and anxious in his crate
After a good nap and Bruce seeming ready for action, we did some training with Jade and Freddie see me holding Bruce from a distance, with a gate up in between us while getting rewarded
Gave Bruce his first bath with us because he was a little stinky. We took things super slow, calm, and he got lots of rewards and gentle praise. I bought this new anti-itch, medicated dog shampoo from Tropiclean. and I absolutely love it!
Spent some time alone with Bruce on the couch and introduced him to one of the loves of my life, Gilmore Girls. He fell asleep in my lap on the couch for the first time
Made sure to spend lots of time with Jade and Freddie as well so they didn’t feel left out
I saw glimpses of Bruce being super playful. He had his first little play session with me. No toys, just some good old-fashioned light mouthing of my hands, happy tail wag, rubbing his body on me, pawing for more pets, etc. It was a beautiful moment! Still not interested in toys though
Took Bruce on his first walk with us. John and I brought him out and did a walk around the block. I don’t like to overwhelm new dogs with too much right away. I recommend sticking to your block or close to home for at least the first few days as they get acclimated. Bruce did wonderful and we were so proud of him
Did more training with all the dogs in their crates in the dog room. Worked up to Jade and Freddie lying down inside the crates with the door open and Bruce closed in his. Everyone was visible to each other and able to be relaxed! Proud dog momma moment!
Had more alone couch time with Bruce until he stared at the TV, quickly froze, then leaped off the couch and ran back into the dog room into his crate. I made a mental note of this to work on in the future with gentle exposure and rewards. This little dude is fast! LOL
Bruce played with John today! He definitely is learning to trust us
He started eating more regularly and taking treats from our hands more
Did more training with the crates and with Bruce paying attention to me in general
Jade and Bruce had their first interaction outside in our yard. I did this by myself and with the proper management, slow introduction, and luckily, I know a few things (wink, wink), it was super successful. They seemed playful and curious with each other and we spent some time in the yard together
Today was also the first day I brought them all out (with leashes dragging) and everyone got along and was well-mannered! I teared up watching all of them in the yard together
I can tell Bruce enjoys seeing Freddie and Jade. He seems to light up when they are around
I took Bruce on his first decompression-style walk with me to the park. He loved it. It made my heart burst seeing him frolic around in the grass and seem so happy and free
Bruce ate his first full meal without needing enticement
Went on an outing alone with just Freddie to Lowe’s. I wanted to make sure he got some one-on-one time. I'm definitely aware of how bonded he is to me, so I am trying to help him feel his best with this new situation and the changes
I then took Bruce and Jade on a decompression walk together. They did amazing! I later found out from my husband that Freddie wasn't too fond of being left behind (even though we had gone to Lowe's together and I was hoping he'd be tired out)
Did some more training overall with everyone. Focused on crate training, settling, and running around after Bruce 24 hours a day in hopes that he doesn't pee on everything or try to climb up the lamp like a chimpanzee
Day Seven: (One week since we picked Bruce up!)
Bruce got more familiar with our bedroom and the upstairs level of our house
Freddie and Bruce shared a dog bed for a bit, with no one getting any big feelings about it
Bruce and Freddie shared the human bed together and were both relaxed and fine. I am always watching and managing
John and I then brought the whole trio on their first decompression walk together to the local park that Jade and Freddie love. Everyone had a blast and did super well! We were so, so proud
Some takeaways from the first week of having Bruce and my first time having a three-dog household:
- I am glad I waited three full days before letting any of the dogs truly “meet”. They saw each other, smelled each other in the air and on all the things around the house, and spent time in each other’s presence with the safety of a divider of some kind, but they didn’t get to physically approach each other until Day Five
- My first main priority was helping Bruce feel safe. This is so important. Your dog is in a brand new environment with new people, potentially other animals, etc. So focus on bonding and making your dog feel safe and as relaxed and happy as possible
- Pay attention to your new dog’s cues. Every time I think I hear Bruce whine in my presence, I bring him outside. Any time I notice him being quiet, lying down, sitting, settling, or not having an urge to pee on the dining room table leg after sniffing it, I praise him to let him know I’m happy with those choices. This type of consistency right from the beginning helps both you and your new dog find a rhythm much faster
- Take it slow – with everything. Bruce was understandably apprehensive about a lot at first. So, I did everything in my power to not rush him on anything. If he needed a couple of moments to get the courage to go into his crate or up the steps, I patiently waited for him. Being patient and taking a deep breath can truly do wonders. So next time you feel yourself getting frustrated with your dog (we have all been there), take a nice deep breath, and remind yourself that you can do this!
So that’s my roundup of our first week with our new dog, Bruce. We are currently at a little over three weeks since getting him, and I will continue to share updates, training tips, and my takeaways as we continue to work with him and continue his training with our family.
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I appreciate you being here. I'll have more updates and tips on here soon! What else are you interested in hearing about? Let me know in the comments.