So you adopted a dog! Now what?
Congratulations on being a new a dog parent. Welcoming a dog into your life and home can be one of the most rewarding of life’s experiences. It’s a special time full of love, hopes and dreams for that precious little furball in your arms.
Because there are so many things to think about in raising your new dog, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Remember that moving into a new home can be stressful for a dog too. He’s in a strange environment with new people and that can be scary.
But don’t worry, a happy experience in his first few days at home will have a lasting, positive effect on your pet’s attitude.
Being patient and prepared will go a long way. Here are some tips to make things as easy as possible!
Make sure everyone in your home is ready
It’s important that everyone in your home knows their responsibilities and are on the same page, so it is essential to talk about it. Be sure to lock down who will feed, walk and play with your new dog. Try to agree on a select set of words everyone will use when training. Using consistent language and patterns will help your dog adjust more easily.
Prepare your home
Not only will your dog need constant access to fresh drinking water, but he’ll need to be kept safe from toxic chemicals and other hazards in your home. Dog’s explore by putting things in their mouths, so anything they find has a good chance of ending up there. What can you do about it? Get down on the floor to see things from a dog’s perspective. Look for poisonous plants, cleaning supplies, exposed electrical cords and anything small like jewelry, or golf balls, then move what you find to a safe area. Dogs play, that’s what they do! You may see a remote for your TV, but in Biscuit’s eyes, it is definitely asking to be chewed.
Get pet supplies
Who doesn’t love getting all of the fun stuff for their new dog?! The new dog product landscape is absolutely littered with every kind of product you could imagine. All of that being said, there are a few essential items that you will want to focus on. So before you splurge on that wifi camera that lets you watch your new pup while pretending to be productive at work, check off every item here:
- Collar with a quick release
- 6 foot leash
- Bed for inside the crate
- 5 plush toys
- 5 plastic chew toys
- Water bowl
- Grooming supplies
- Healthy food and treats
Create a space for your dog
Your dog needs a place of his own. Give him a box or dog bed inside a crate in a draft free corner of your room. Your dog will use this place to rest and sleep and he’ll feel safe and protected there. Why? A cave was home to the dog’s wolf-like ancestor, so your dog instinctively feels cozy and safe in anything remotely cave like, even just a turned over box! Add some warm washable bedding (like an old blanket, towel or dog bed) and his place is complete.
Name and commands
You may already have the perfect name for your new pup, but if you’re still deciding, here are some tips:
Two syllable names that end in “a” or “o”, like Sara or Bosco, are the easiest for your dog to recall and won’t be confused with one syllable commands like “sit” and “stay”. We won’t judge anyone that names their dog Elizabeth Loretta Hutchinson III, but keep it short and sweet and both you and your dog will be happier.
When you do choose a name use it consistently until your pup understands and responds to it. Calling your new dogy “Freckles and then using “Freck” and/or “Freckie” will confuse him.
Show him around the house and where to eliminate
When you visit a new home you like to know the layout of the home and where the bathrooms are. Your new pup is no different. Let him sniff around your house (on leash if you’d like) so he can get used to the lay of the land. The point here is just to introduce him to the home so next stop, the bathroom! The first time you bring him home take him out to your yard, or where you would like him to eliminate, on leash. Praise if he goes. If not, no worries. Next, feed him and again take him immediately on leash to the place you want him to go potty. This will hopefully start you out with your first success in the right place. The next morning you’ll want to repeat this process as soon as you wake up. Pick Freckles up, grab your collar and head out to the elimination spot. Sure, you’ll have accidents to clean up, but it won’t take long for your new pup to figure it out.
Get him checked by a vet
The decision to bring a dog into your home is no small matter. By doing so, you are making a commitment to keep him safe and healthy. Taking your new friend to the Vet gives the Dr. a chance to do a full physical and check your dog for worms and other ailments. Some breeds are more prone to certain illnesses than others, and your Vet will be able to give you tips for your specific breed.
Introduce him slowly to friends and family
After your dog has become accustomed to his new home and to you and your family, you can begin to expose him to others. Think of it like building a solid foundation that your pup can rely on before broadening his horizons. Take him to a family gathering or for a walk in the neighborhood to meet the neighbors. Dogs are instinctively social and your dog will be eager for friendly contact.
Switch food slowly
Often, puppies are fed foods that will technically sustain them in the short term, but may not put them solidly on the path to whole life wellness. Changing foods is incredibly common, but you do want to have a transition period as fast diet changes can make your dog sick. Find out what he was eating before and feed him that along with your new food. Start by adding just 25% of the new food to 75% of the old food and add more new to the diet every few days. Look out for signs of upset such as vomiting or change in bowel movements.
Investigate professional dog training
Dogs act on instinct, which doesn’t always align with our human expectations of how they should behave. It’s up to us to understand and properly train them. It’s crucial that they learn basic skills and manners, and professional help can be invaluable. Dog trainers can teach us why our dogs do the things they do and effective ways to communicate with them to get the results we want and need. Why is it so important? Not only do you want your dog to have good manners, but proper training will keep him safe. You can learn how to keep him from running out of the front door, to drop dangerous items that are in his mouth and to stay calm when he sees other dogs. Practicing training every day provides mental stimulation for your pup and even tightens your bond with each other.
Know your breed
Understand your dog ancestry including which traits are hard wired into their brains as well as the characteristics that they were selectively bred for. This way you can be sure they get the exercise they need and that you understand their health issues, behavior and activities they might enjoy.
You did it!
Now that you’re all set, get ready to enjoy your life with your new best friend. There is still a lot more to know about raising a healthy and happy dog!
And of course if you have any questions or just need to share with the world how amazing your new puppy is, just stop back at one of our stores or visit us on social media and we’ll jump and dance right along with you! We’re here for you!