First Things to Do When Adopting a Dog From a Shelter

Tips for Bringing a New Dog Home

Adopting a dog is fun and exciting, but it is also an overwhelming time of change for you and your family, as well as for your new furry friend too! This milestone moment is a special time for everyone involved, and it is important to make sure there is as little stress as possible. To help ease that stress, here are ten things you can do to ensure a smooth transition for everyone:

1. Gather the Needed Supplies

Make sure you have everything you will need for you new furry friend before you bring him home. Basics like a bed, food and water bowls, brushes, and leashes are a must, and don’t forget about things like toys, blankets, and grooming supplies. Taking the time to get what you need beforehand will help reduce stress and worry once your new friend has come home and joined your family.

2. Prepare Your Home

Similar to babyproofing, it is very important to make sure you check your home and get things safe and ready before your pup comes home. Walk through your home and stow away items that might be harmful to the new dog or that you do not want to get chewed up by a curious pup or an older dog that is stressed out. This extra effort will help keep your pup, as well as your family, safe and happy!

3. Assign a Safe Space for Him

Pets are just like any other member of your family – they need a place where they can get some privacy and feel safe and secure. It is important to make sure your new family member has a place that is just for him – he needs a place to feel safe while he adjusts this new family and the new environment. A crate can be used, or you can use a baby gate to block off an area for your dog to escape crowds and noise and feel safe.

4. Make Plans to Bring Him Home

If possible, make sure you can take a day or two off when you bring your new family member home. If you can’t take the time off work, be sure to bring your pooch home on the weekend.  Don’t plan a long vacation right after bringing them home either, or it will stress them out too much, as they will be alone and in a new place. Also, remember to bring the collar and leash when you pick him up too so that he’s ready to go!

5. Introduce Your Dog to the House

It is important to make sure you take the time to show your dog around the house so it does not seem too strange and frightening to him. Keep him on the leash as you let him explore and sniff inside. Show him where all of his things are, like his food, bed, and toys, and let him know what he shouldn’t get into with a simple no or not for you and use his name. Introductions like this can help reduce accidents later on.

6. Explore the Yard on Leash

Adopted dogs have a lot of adjusting to do and will need time to adapt to their new home and environment. Make sure you give your new family member plenty of time and space to sniff out their new surroundings. Walk with them on a leash and let them see what is out there and get used to the smells and sounds and sights of their new yard. Keep him on the leash for a while to avoid him getting spooked and running off.

7. Introduce the Family

Every member of the family needs to have their own time with the new dog so that they can get to know each other in a quiet, calm, and low stress environment. One on one meetings are the best so that the pooch doesn’t become overwhelmed or scared by dealing with too many people and too much noise all at the same time. Children, however, should always be supervised and never left alone with a new dog for any reason!

8. Switch Your Dog’s Food Slowly

You know your tummy hurts if you suddenly start eating foods you don’t normally eat, and the same is true of your new furry friend. If you can, incorporate some of the food the shelter or breeder was feeding him, and start working in some of the new food you want to switch him to little by little. This will help avoid stomach issues due to food when he may already have tummy troubles due to the stress of a new home.

9. Begin Training Right Away

Even adult dogs who were previously housebroken will require a little house training. The stress of moving to a new place can make dogs nervous and cause them to have accidents, so work with older dogs to help them learn where they need to go at and begin training puppies right from the start. Obedience training also has to start day one with a puppy, and you can work on what older dogs already know to build from there.

10. Get Him Checked by a Vet

Within a week of bringing your new family member home, you should visit a veterinarian for a health check and to make sure he has all his vaccinations. This will ensure he stays healthy and happy and will also make sure you and your family have a fun and enjoyable time with your newest family member. Make sure the vet’s number is somewhere handy so they can be reached if there are ever any concerns or an emergency.

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