When the big day arrives for you to pick up your Otterhound you will need to take the following items with you in the car:
Collar and lead
Crate with a towel or blanket inside
A container of water and bowl
A spray cleaner
Several plastic bags in case towels get soiled
You should know what kind of food your Otterhound has been eating, the amount and his current schedule. This will make his transition to his new home easier. If the food that your Puppy is used to eating is not available in your area, ask for a small amount that you may mix with his new food to make the adjustment gradually.
Below are tips to help your Otterhound adjust to its new home. No matter how wonderful a home you have for your hound, it is a traumatic experience for him/her to leave familiar surroundings and littermates.
Settling your puppy in its new home
Don’t have unrealistic expectations
Don’t expect your puppy or dog to “know” what to do once you get it home. Your Otterhound will be lonely the first few days and nights that it is separated from its littermates and familiar routine. Like children, puppies need to be taught what is expected of them. Even adult dogs will have to adjust and learn the particular rules and routines of your home.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make with a new Otterhound is to spoil them, allowing behaviors (just for today) and granting too much freedom too soon.
When you correct your hound for an improper behavior, don’t apologize when he gives you one of those true Otterhound looks which says, “I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry, don’t you love me?” Don’t dwell on the error. Be firm and brief in any correction. Your hound will appreciate clear boundaries and knowing how to please you. Lavishly praise good behavior.
Decide ahead of time who will be responsible for caring for your Otterhound. If you have children, it is best to divide the duties among them. Don’t assume, that the children are doing their assigned chores. It is an adult’s responsibility to make sure that proper care, including food, water, exercise, clean bedding and a clean exercise area have been provided.
Crate training should begin as soon as you bring your new Otterhound home. It is important to understand that crating an Otterhound is not cruel. Dogs have a nesting instinct and the desire to find a protected spot of their own. The crate becomes your puppy’s special “room” where he can feel protected and sleep. Crating will help your dog adjust to its new home, keep him safe when you are away for short periods and help in the housebreaking process, since dogs, by nature, do not like to eliminate in their dens. You should feed and water your new Otterhound in his crate, as well as provide comfortable bedding and something safe to chew. This will help him adjust or relax. Teach your puppy to sleep in its crate the first night you bring him home. It is not unusual for a puppy, or even an adult to cry or whimper during the night when it gets lonely. Think of your new dog as a baby learning to sleep on its own. A day or two of steeling yourself against the whimpering will pay off handsomely in the form of a secure and well-adjusted dog. Don’t give in and take your puppy to bed with you unless you are willing to sleep with your dog in the bed for the next 15 years!
The first few days and nights will have a big impact on your Otterhound's adjustment to his new home. Inconsistency and carelessness on your part may result in an undependable confused pet. Be diligent and you will have a wonderful, loyal and well-trained puppy.
Set up a “dog area”. Young puppies and adult dogs need their own space where they can get away from children and the hubbub of a busy family. In addition to crate training your hound, you may also designate an area such as a laundry room or other room preferably with a tiled floor which can be sectioned off with a baby gate.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact your breeder or rescue group. Many a puppy has gotten the upper paw as soon as it walked into its new home. Be consistent with your training and you will be rewarded with many good years with your faithful new companion.
Don’t allow your puppy to be out of your sight until it is fully housetrained.
If you aren’t available to watch your puppy with your full attention, let him rest in its crate until you are able to devote your time to the puppy. It may take time for your puppy to learn to let you know when he needs to go out to potty. This takes time and patience. If your puppy has an accident because you were not watching him, it does no good to punish him “after the fact.” He won’t be able to make the connection that he did something wrong. If, despite the fact that you are watching closely, your puppy starts to go potty, immediately take the puppy to its potty area. Wait until it goes there and then reward him with praise.
Allow your puppy or adult dog an adjustment period before introducing it to your extended family and friends.
You should allow your puppy time to settle into its new home for a week or two before bringing too many visitors (both human and canine) in to visit. It is natural to want to introduce your new Otterhound to your family and friends, however, too much activity can be a bit overwhelming. In the beginning, let things be as quiet and undisturbed as possible.
Introduce your puppy to other pets in your home slowly.
If you have other dogs in your home, introduce your new Otterhound in neutral territory. Keep all the dogs on a leash, and fully supervise them at the beginning. Your small puppy can be accidentally injured by a large dog, even during play. Make sure you feed your pets separately. Your puppy should always eat undisturbed in its crate.
Make introductions to cats slowly, keeping your dog on a leash, and allowing the cat to warm up to the dog. Let the cat wander near your dog while he is in his crate. They will usually learn to get along.
Your hound’s diet should not include your cat’s food or droppings from your cat’s litter box. Keep cat food and the litter box away from your Otterhound.
Lifting your Otterhound
It is very important to pick up an Otterhound (puppy) carefully. Small children should never pick up an Otterhound. They are too big to be handled by a small child. Lifting a puppy by his front legs or shoulders can cause injury. You should use both hands to pick up an Otterhound puppy. One hand to support the hindquarters and one the front legs. They should never be picked up in the middle. Very soon your hound will be too large to pick up! In the unfortunate event that your hound is severely injured, make a stretcher from a crate pan or quilt so that you may bring your Otterhound to the vet without further injuring him.
The Aggressive Otterhound
While it is very unusual to have an Otterhound who exhibits aggressive behavior toward people or other animals, it can happen. Should you see any sign of aggression, contact your breeder or rescue group immediately. Puppies will sometimes get carried away and play a little too roughly with their companions. Any nipping, possessive or aggressive behavior should be firmly reprimanded.