How To Bring a New Dog Into the Home

Helpful Tips for Bringing Home a New Dog and Helping Them Feel Comfortable

There’s nothing quite like bringing a new or adopted dog into the home for the very first time. You and your family are officially getting that four-legged companion that is capable of unconditional love and affection. They will be there to greet you when you get home and be the last face you see when you head out the door. They will be a constant source of entertainment and tail-wagging fun.

However, getting to the point where your new dog understands their place and what they can and cannot do is a bit of a process. You have to teach them what is and is not a toy, where they sleep, where to eat, and where to go to the bathroom.

Even the most intelligent of pups have a learning curve, so be patient with your new or adopted dog until they can get acclimated and feel welcomed into their new environment.

Some Key Questions To Ask Before You Adopt or Purchase a Dog

Don’t get swept up in the idea of a new pup being added to the family without making sure it’s feasible to do so. The last thing you want is to adopt or purchase a dog only to find out that you don’t have the resources or properly care for it–or worse–it’s not allowed in your home.

Returning a pup for any reason is absolutely heartbreaking for you, your family, and, yes, your four-legged pal. In order to avoid that situation, ask yourself some of these key questions to determine if you’re prepared for the journey of pet parenting.

“Am I allowed to have a dog here?”

If you’re renting an apartment or home, you should definitely check your leasing agreement to make sure you’re allowed to have a dog. Even if you know for a fact that the property management is pet-friendly, some places have breed and/or weight restrictions on pets. Make sure to read the fine print.

“Is my home big enough to accommodate the dog?”

It’s easy to forget that a six-pound puppy can grow into an eighty-pound dog over the course of a year or two. Puppies don’t need much room to roam. Big dogs, however, need plenty of space–especially if they’re an energetic breed. Make sure the space you have is going to be enough to accommodate the pet. A full-grown Golden Retriever is not going to do well in a 500 square foot apartment. However, a Yorkie or Maltese would do just fine there.

“Do I have the resources to take care of a dog?”

Resources means a few things when it comes to properly caring for a dog. It’s not just about money. It’s about being able to invest the time to train and house them properly. It also means getting them up to date on their shots and arranging a dog insurance plan for any future issues they may have. New dogs require a lot of oversight and attention when you first get them.

“Will my family pitch in to help raise the dog?”

Raising a dog and getting it acclimated to a new home is a team effort. It helps if everyone is on the same page. Before you go through with purchasing or adopting a dog, it's a good idea to sit down with your family to discuss who is going to be responsible for what. That could be as simple as one child being in charge of food and water while another child is in charge of walking the dog in the morning. Make sure everyone is included, so the dog has plenty of exposure to each family member.

If you feel like you have all your bases adequately covered, you should feel free to move forward with the adoption or purchase of your new dog.

Bringing Home a New Dog Checklist

There is a long list of essential items that need to be bought, along with several housekeeping items that need to be completed before your new dog steps foot (or paw, rather) into the home. To help you out with this, we've put together a new dog checklist so that you don't accidentally forget something important to their well-being.

In addition to all these items, you’ll want to go through your home and do some basic dog-proofing. That means picking up all items you don't want your dog to pick up with their mouth. You should also go through the home and remove anything that may be potentially poisonous or hazardous to your new pup. Make sure you close the lid on things like trash cans and toilets. New dogs love to explore, so it’s crucial that you set boundaries early on.

You also need to make sure that your new or adopted pup is up-to-date on all their vaccinations and so forth. Pet adoption facilities, private breeders, and pet stores should have medical records on file so you know which shots are due and the date by which they need to be completed.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to get your new pup on a pet insurance plan. In the event that your new dog takes an unfortunate tumble down the stairs, eats something poisonous, or develops some other medical issue, the coverage plan can help ensure they will get the medical attention that they need while minimizing the out-of-pocket cost to you.

Prevent Your Dog from Getting Lost

Although you never want to imagine being separated from your new best bud, providing your pup with proper identification such as a microchip and ID tag can give them the best chance of getting back home to you. If your dog was microchipped at the shelter or breeder, take a moment to check that the contact information on file is up to date .

Just as it’s important to guard against hazards inside your home, it’s equally important to pet-proof their outdoor space. Make sure all gates latch securely and that there are no gaps in your fence where your dog can squeeze through or under. Consider any furniture or decor like patio chairs, BBQs, rocks or sheds that could be used as a potential launch pad and move them a safe distance away from the fence.

What to Expect When Bringing a New Dog Home

When you bring home a new dog or puppy, you have to remember that this is the first time they have ever been in this environment. Naturally, their curiosity will kick in, and they'll want to explore every nook and cranny of your home, including things they're not supposed to get into, like the trash and your personal items. Additionally, every member of your family is a new person with which your dog will need to get acquainted.

Your home is a cornucopia of new sights, smells, and flavors for your dog to experience. Naturally, this is going to be overwhelming and exciting for them, so try to be patient as they get their bearings. Everyone needs to remain calm so as not to promote any rambunctious behavior.

Tips for Bringing Home a New Dog

As the owner of a new puppy or adopted dog, the responsibility will fall on you to ensure that your new canine pal gets properly acclimated to your home. If you've done all your prep work, dog-proofing, and bought all the essential items like food, toys, etc., then you are well ahead of the game.

Here are some tips for bringing a new dog to your home for the first time:

  1. Take a long walk. Your dog likely has a lot of energy, so try to burn some of it off before they enter your home for the first time. It will reduce the chances of them trying to run wild as soon as they get inside.
  2. Remain calm . Although it may be tempting for you and your family to become overwhelmed with emotion, it’s important that everyone remain calm while introducing your dog to their new environment.
  3. Give your new dog a guided tour. While using a leash, give your dog a tour of the home by leading them from room to room. Show them where they’ll sleep, eat, and so forth. Remember to establish leadership with your dog. You take them to the next room. Not the other way around. Be sure to show them all the parts of the home they’ll have access to, in addition to their toys, food and water, dog bed, and bathroom area.
  4. Correct unwanted behavior on the spot .If your new dog does something such as chewing on a piece of furniture or eating something not meant for them, communicate not to do that using a finger snap or “Tsch!” sound to discourage it.
  5. Reward good behavior. Always make sure to reward good behavior with praise, petting, a treat, or you can use clicker training. This is especially key when it comes to potty training.
  6. Introduce other pets slowly and under supervision.Your resident dog or cat may feel threatened by your new puppy or adopted dog, so you’ll want to make the introduction slowly and under strict supervision. In fact, you should keep your resident pet separated in another room until your new dog has had ample time to tour their new home and sniff out the place. Once your new dog is calm and has seen everything, you can move on to introducing them to their new four-legged pals.

How To Make a Newly Adopted Dog Feel at Home

Adopted dogs are a little bit different from puppies because they often have a history of being neglected or abandoned by their owners. This can have a long-lasting effect on their mood and overall disposition towards humans. In fact, some adopted dogs take months before they finally get to the point where they trust their new owners. Adopted dogs can also be especially sensitive to loud noises or thunderstorms.

Although adopted dogs compose a little bit of a challenge, there are some time-tested tips you can use to earn their trust and get them acclimated.

  1. Always be patient and remain calm . Adopted dogs often come from chaotic environments, so they need a little extra TLC and understanding.
  2. Establish a routine with them from day one . Try to be consistent about when they get to go for a walk, to the bathroom, get fed, and so forth. Eventually, they will acclimate to the routine and see you as a source of nourishment and provider of their basic needs. Routines build trust.
  3. Make your adopted dog a priority. It’s no secret that adopted dogs need a little more time and attention than most. Make sure you put in the time to build a relationship with them.
  4. 4. Give them a place to call their own . Adopted dogs need a place where they can go to feel safe. Make sure that’s provided for them. A dog bed or a crate with blankets are two options that tend to work.
  5. 5. Don’t push them too hard. If you feel your adopted dog is withdrawing or wanting their space–give it to them. Allow them to come to you. You have to give them time to let their guard down.

Finally, don’t be afraid to enlist the services of a professional if you need help with behavioral issues or training. Adopted dogs can be complex creatures, and nobody expects a new pet parent to know exactly what they’re doing. There’s no shame in asking a professional to help you navigate the choppy waters of new pet parenting.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.