Getting a dog is probably one of the most exciting things in the world, and it’s key to make sure that your dog has a successful adjustment to your home. Out of excitement many people will get home with the dog, take them off the leash and let them roam free to explore the house. This is not the approach to take, as you’ve just thrown your dog into an alien environment with no direction. When you first bring your dog home, they will be confused as to where they are and what to expect from you. The following tips will assist in making your dog’s transition to your home as smooth as possible.

Before You Bring Your Dog Home
  1. Pick up all necessary items: Food and water bowls, dog food, collar, leash, and toys. Make sure to also order an identification tag ahead of time to have ready for when you pick up your dog. If your dog is micro-chipped and the rescue or shelter did not already do so, register your contact information with the chip company.
  2. As your dog will be under a lot of stress due to the change in environment, establish where your dog will be spending most of their time. A kitchen usually works best for easy clean-up.
  3. Dog-proof the designated area. This includes storing household chemicals on high shelves, taping loose electrical cords to baseboards, removing rugs, plants and anything breakable, as well as installing baby gates and setting up the crate.
  4. You want to start training your dog as soon as you have them. Create a vocab list for everyone in your household to use when giving them directions. This will help your dog learn his commands more quickly, and prevent any confusion.
Day One
  1. When you pick your dog up, ask the rescue/shelter what and when they were fed. Mirror that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric issues. If you decide to switch to a different brand of dog food, do so over a one week period by adding one part new food to three parts of the old food, then switch to half new half old, and then one part old to three parts new, before finally transitioning to the new food completely.
  2. Safely secure your dog on the ride home, preferably in a crate.
  3. Take your dog to the area that you plan on having him go to the bathroom. Even if your dog does go, be prepared that there may still be accidents. Coming into a home with new sights, sounds, smells and people can throw your dog off.
  4. Start a schedule of going to the bathroom, feeding and exercise/playtime.
  5. If you plan to crate train your dog, leave the crate open so they can go in and out as they please in case they get overwhelmed.
  6. Remain quiet and calm around your dog (keep this up for at least the first few days). Limit too much excitement, such as having strangers come over or bringing them to the dog park. This will allow your dog to settle in easier, as well as give you more one-on-one time to get to know them.
The Following Weeks
  1. Be patient with your dog as they may be a bit uneasy when first getting to know you. Understand that you may not see their true personality until several weeks after adoption.
  2. Stick to the original schedule you plan to maintain for feeding, potty time, and walks. This schedule is important in showing your dog what is expected of them, and what they can expect from you.
  3. After ensuring your dog has all the necessary vaccines, you may want to take your dog to the dog park or group training classes to interact with other doggies. Note your dog’s body language to be sure they are not fearful of a dog park bully, and that they’re having a good time.
  4. Give your dog the attention they need. You want a long happy life together, and so do they.

If you’re planning to get a new dog, congratulations! We hope you find these tips helpful in ensuring a positive experience for both you and your new canine companion.