Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Adopting a Dog: 7 Quick Tips for the First Day Home


Adopting a Dog ImageYou’re adopting a dog and you’re so excited! You’re also a little anxious. What are they going to be like? What should you do (or not do) that first day? So glad you asked. Here are seven of the things I do when I have a new dog in my home:

  1. On Leash Always
    Keep a leash on inside and out for the first few days unless crated (and even if you have a fenced yard). A leash allows you to get a hold of him without grabbing. He doesn’t yet know you and may run from you—especially outside. A leash prevents that.
  2. Control Contact with Other Animals
    Don’t let current pets swarm your new addition. Cats should be contained unless you are right there to supervise things. Make sure cats have a easy means of escape where the dog cannot follow such as gates and cat climbers. I use gates between dogs so they can get to know each other a bit without direct contact.
  3. Let Them Come To You
    YOU know this dog is your new best friend but give him a chance to catch up. No hugging or head locks or nose to nose conversations. Let your dog come to you. Always give him an easy way to move away if he wants one. Give him a chance to settle.
  4. Nothing Worth Fighting Over
    No chew toys that ever had a pulse as such items—bully sticks, rawhides, marrow bones—can cause coveting. Keep things low-key until you all get to know each other better by choosing tough, man-made dog toys.
  5. Keep Things Calm
    Moving to a new home is stressful. Always. No matter how great the home is. No neighbors or parties or sleepovers for the first few days, at least. Let him settle in, get to know you and relax a bit.
  6. Build Communication
    Training is a great gift to both you and your dog done calmly, kindly and with joy. The My Smart Puppy approach uses games and simple exercises to create quick success as well as give you useful tools.
  7. Use Confinement
    Your new dog will be stressed and stressed dogs can chew, pace, dig/scratch, bark and soil. Help him out by crating him when you cannot directly supervise him. Using a crate gets things off on the right foot, prevents problems and keeps things calm between you.

By understanding that this is a big change that he needs some time to adjust to, you can help him settle in and bond to you quickly. Adopting a dog is an exciting time; these seven steps help to make it an easier, calmer time for everyone.

Now, what’s your new dog like? I’d love to hear!


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