Congratulations, you’ve just brought home the newest member of your family! Adopting a dog can mean big changes are coming to your life (that’s good, right?!) Here are 10 tips to ensure a happy, stress-free transition to life with your new best friend.
Set Up Their Environment: Before your new pup comes home, pick out a place for them to sleep, eat, and hang out. Where will you put their toys? Where will their food and water go? Will their bed or crate be in the living room or your bedroom? Will their toys be out all the time or put away until it’s playtime? Setting these areas up in advance will help your dog understand where they belong in the house and adjust to life in their new home more quickly.
Dog Proof Your House: Dogs love mischief! Especially if you have a puppy, consider puppy proofing your house before bringing home your newly adopted buddy. Even adult dogs can find things to get into. Make sure all shoes have a proper place and that there are no loose articles on the floor (this includes clothing!) After all, the less you have out on the floor the less there is to pee or chew on. Keep all medicines, cleaning supplies, and plants out of chewing range since they can be poisonous to pets, and always supervise playtime. Even dog toys like ropes and bones can cause trouble if left unsupervised. Doggy gates or crate time are always options to manage your new friend while he is getting used to his new home.
Use That Leash: Leashes aren’t just for walking anymore! Want to work from home but have your dog not wander from room to room? Leash that pup! Allowing your dog to be on leash while he learns the rules of the home is a great way to set up your dog for success throughout the first few weeks. Leashing your dog inside can prevent unwanted accidents, boredom destruction, and even encourages settling down during work times! Of course, leashes are always recommended on walks too, as new dogs won’t always know to come back to you.
Pick a Name: One of the most important things you will do is pick your new dog’s name (no pressure)! Whether you decide to keep the dog’s previous name from the rescue or choose your own, you’ll want to make sure your dog learns his name early on. If you change names, don’t expect your dog to catch on right away. One of the best ways to get a dog to learn his name is wait for him to look at you, say his name, then reward. Repeat, repeat, repeat! Soon you’ll be able to say his name and he should look at you automatically! Want name tips? Choosing something with one or two syllables and something easy to pronounce will make it easier for your dog to hear you.
Take Introductions Slow: Moving to a new place can be stressful, as can meeting new people. Take a few days to let your pup decompress before allowing all your family members and friends to greet your new pal. The same applies for new dogs; waiting a few days before letting your dog meet the neighborhood puppies will let him feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed in the long run.
Limit Outings at First: For the first few days, try not to leave for long periods of time. Your dog just moved to a new place after all; how do you think he would feel if his person suddenly disappeared? While never leaving your dog alone can result in separation anxiety, leaving your dog alone too soon can also cause your dog to take out his frustrations on your house, your shoes, or even your new carpet. Start with 5 minute outings and graduate to longer periods of time over the coming weeks.
Go Potty Often: Even housebroken dogs can have trouble when moving to a new environment. Taking your dog outside often (every 45 minutes to 2 hours) can help make sure there are no unwanted accidents in the home. If you’re house training a puppy try and pick a spot outside and take them to that spot multiple times a day. This will help encourage puppies to go in the “right” spot every time.
Keep a Schedule: Feeding your dog at regular times and taking them out regularly is one of the best ways to ensure your puppy has structure and successfully integrates into your home. But you can do more! Don’t want your puppy waking you up at 3 am or keeping you up all night? Pick a bedtime and stick to it. Humans aren’t the only ones who benefit from a regular sleep schedule. When your dog knows what time you go to bed and wake up, they are less likely to try and take out their noisiest toys in the middle of the night. The first few weeks are important in setting up boundaries and scheduling, so don't hesitate to start early!
Talk to Your Vet: When bringing home a new dog, it’s always a good idea to have them checked out, even if they were seen previously while at the rescue. If you’re a new dog owner, find a vet and establish a relationship. If you currently have pets, make sure your vet knows you’ll be bringing home a new pup! Always defer to a veterinarian if you have medical questions or any concerns about your new dog.
Keep Calm: Change can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be! Keep calm, and enjoy life with your new best friend.