Tips for Bringing Home Your New Dog

| July 14, 2023

Bringing home a new dog is an exciting experience that starts a new chapter. This can be very emotional and overwhelming for everyone involved as it’s a huge lifestyle adjustment. Some dogs may have never experienced the comfort of a home before, while others may find the sudden change in their surroundings overstimulating. By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth transition for your new furry friend and set the foundation for a loving and fulfilling relationship. 

Prepare Your Home

Before bringing your new dog home, it’s essential to create a safe and dog-friendly environment. Taking some necessary precautions will ensure the safety and well-being of your new furry friend. Here are a few steps to follow: 

  • Remove any dangerous items or clutter: Scan your home and remove potential hazards that could harm your dog. Secure garbage access, loose cords, toxic plants, and small objects that they may swallow. Take extra care to prevent access to areas with a gate or barrier to signify that it is off-limits. 
  • Create designated dog spaces: Set up areas where your dog can eat, sleep, and play comfortably. Provide them with a cozy bed, food and water bowls, and a selection of appropriate toys. Offer them a crate with the door open so they can walk into it of their own accord. 
  • Stock your shelves: Dogs require lots of necessities in their daily life, so make sure to stock up on items like leashes, collars, food and water bowls, a variety of toys, clickers for training, pee pads, nutritious food, treats, brushes, nail trimmers, and poop bags. 

Understand Your Dog’s Needs

Effective communication is key to building a strong bond with your new dog. Learning to interpret their body language will help you understand their feelings and address their needs. Consider the following tips: 

  • Read your dog’s body language: Dogs communicate through their body posture, facial expressions, and tail movements. Learn about the common dog body language signals to better comprehend your dog’s emotions and respond accordingly. Some of these include lip licking, freezing, moving away, growling, eye contact, vocalizations, and so on. But remember to always look at the entire picture to fully understand what they’re trying to communicate!  
  • Use a calming voice: Dogs respond well to a gentle and calming voice. Speak in a soothing tone to reassure them and create a sense of comfort. 

Bring Your Dog Home

The journey from the shelter or breeder to your home can be stressful for your new dog. It’s important to provide a supportive and calm environment during this transition. Here’s what you can do: 

  • Stay calm during the car ride: The car ride home can be overwhelming for dogs, especially if they are not accustomed to it. Stay calm and provide a comforting presence. Consider using a secure crate or harness to ensure their safety. Playing soft music may also help create a relaxed atmosphere. 
  • Allow them to explore at their own pace: Once you arrive home, give your dog the opportunity to explore their new surroundings. Avoid overwhelming them with attention or introducing them to too many people at once. Let them set the pace for their exploration and provide gentle guidance when needed. 

Establish a Routine and Bonding

Creating a routine and providing structure will help your new dog settle into their new home more easily. Additionally, building a strong bond is crucial for a healthy and happy relationship. Consider the following tips: 

  • Set a consistent routine: Dogs thrive on routine, so establish a schedule for meals, walks, playtime, and bedtime. Consistency and predictability will make your dog feel secure and reduce anxiety. 
  • Use positive reinforcement: Encourage good behaviour through positive reinforcement. Use treats, praise, and affection to reward your dog for their desired actions. This will help them understand what is expected of them and strengthen the bond between you. 
  • Respect boundaries: Each dog has their own comfort level and boundaries. Respect their personal space and allow them to approach you on their terms. Avoid forcing physical contact or overwhelming them with excessive attention. Building trust takes time and patience. 

Consider Professional Training

Enrolling in a training class can benefit both you and your new dog. Professional trainers can provide guidance on behaviour management, obedience training, and strengthening your bond. Here’s why you might want to consider it: 

  • Behaviour improvement: Training classes can teach you and your dog foundational behaviours to set everyone up for success. Private consultations can address any behavioural issues your dog may have, such as excessive barking, leash pulling, or separation anxiety where a trainer can provide tailored and effective techniques to modify these behaviours. 
  • Socialization opportunities: Training classes often include socialization exercises where dogs can interact with others in a controlled environment. This helps them learn proper social skills and build confidence around other dogs and people. 
  • Bonding and communication: Working with a professional trainer enhances your ability to communicate with your dog effectively. You’ll learn to understand their needs and establish clear boundaries, resulting in a stronger bond between you. 

By following these tips, you are setting your dog up for immediate success. The first couple of days will be incredibly overwhelming for both you and your new pup, so take time to slow it down and enjoy the little things. Remember the 3-3-3 rule; the first 3 days will be the “detox” period and will be a big adjustment, after 3 weeks your dog may start to relax and let down their guard, and after 3 months your new dog will feel comfortable in their new routine and environment. Embrace this exciting new chapter together and look forward to a lifetime of cherished companionship and shared adventures.