Introducing a New Dog to Your Home

The first few days in your home are a special, yet anxious, time for you and your new dog. Your new dog will likely be confused about where he is. He won’t immediately connect your home with his home. It’s a completely different environment than what she knows (whether she came from a shelter or a family- it’s still different). It’s up to you to ensure she has the smoothest transition possible.

Before Your Bring Her Home

Before you bring your new dog home, you should determine which area of your home your dog will spend the most time. Then, dog-proof that area and place the crate somewhere comfortable (if you’re crate training). Usually, the kitchen works best. It’s easy to clean up in case of any accidents. Their knowledge of house-training may be lost during a time of great stress like this.

If you plan to crate-train your dog, the crate should be set up before you bring your dog home. Don’t forget to place a mattress of some kind in the crate with them. The type of mattress you should have varies based on the breed of dog you are bringing home, and the age of the dog. Be certain to do proper research on this before bringing your new dog home.

Now, dog-proofing. Dog-proofing your home is critical to keep your dog safe. Tape off any loose wires. Place household cleaners, medications, and other chemicals up high. If you have plants on the floor, do some research and see which plants dogs can and can’t be near.

Finally, have their collar and leash ready to go. On the collar, there should be identification tags already attached. If your dog doesn’t already have a microchip, this may also be something to consider. The microchip isn’t a GPS device, but if your dog were to ever get lost, the microchip would be scanned and an identification code unique to your dog containing all your details would be available.

On the First Day

The first day home could be extremely stressful or overwhelmingly exciting for your dog. Either way, give your dog time to acclimate to your home before you allow any ‘strangers’ to come over. Even if you think your dog is doing wonderful with the transition- one new event could spark stress in the first week. If you have children, show your children the appropriate way to approach a dog.

When you pick up your new dog, don’t forget to ask what she ate that day (and the type of food). If you feed your new dog a completely different food, this could lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. We don’t want that. An upset stomach could make the transition even more stressful for both him and us.

If you would like to feed a different brand/type of food, do so over a one-week period adding in the new food to their old food slowly. Watch for any signs of stomach upset or loose stools. If you do notice any symptoms, lessen the amount of new food and extend the transition time.

When you arrive home, immediately show your dog where the potty area is and softly say “potty-potty” or similar. Be patient during this time. Even if your dog is fully potty-trained, don’t forget there could be accidents. Your dog may not act like he has to use to the bathroom while he’s outside, then come in and immediately have an accident. Don’t panic, this is a completely normal behavior when being introduced to a new home.

A routine should be put in place immediately. Structure is extremely helpful to a dog adjusting to a new home, and your resident dogs as well if they don’t already have a routine. Feeding, potty-time, and play/exercise, should have an approximate time each day. If the time changes by a half hour occasionally, that’s okay.

For the first few days of your dog being home, try to be as calm and quiet as possible. Limiting excitement during this time will help her adjust. And, it will give you time to get to know your dog better. Take this time to build a foundation for the bond you will share.

Training should also begin immediately. But, after the first week, you can increase the amount of physical and mental stimulation your dog is receiving. Training also helps a dog settle in further and strengthens the bond you are building.

Introducing Your New Dog to Another Dog

If you have a resident dog, introduce your new dog to your resident dog outside in a neutral area. If you have more than one resident dog, introduce one at a time. Don’t rush the introduction. Each dog should be on a leash, and each leash should be loose to allow the dogs to get to know one another.

After the outside introduction, you can bring your new dog inside and do the in-home introduction (if all goes well outside). If you bring your new dog inside immediately without the outside introduction, this could spark a huge list of problems. Keep each interaction between your new dog and your resident dog(s) short and as pleasant as possible. If you see any sign of tension, immediately separate the dogs and try again an hour or so later.

Don’t leave all the dogs alone together until you know it’s safe to do so. Watching your dogs’ body language can help you understand when it’s safe.

The Bottom Line

The most important take-a-way here involves patience. Be patient with your new dog’s behaviors, training levels, and the bond you are establishing. Some dogs adjust quickly and form a bond immediately. Others take more time. Commit as much time as possible to getting to know your new dog while spending time with your resident dogs. Watch your new dog’s body language to understand what she is communicating to you and others.

Save a Life, Adopt a Dog

“What a good doggie you are, you always let us know when you need to go out!””

This is just one of the reasons busy people should consider adopting a pet from their local shelters instead of buying from pet stores. It takes a long time- with a lot of patience and consistency- to get your dog trained properly.

Other Reasons to Adopt

What other reasons would someone want to adopt for?

They’re giving up that little bundle of fur that is so cute in the store, but he may be more trouble then you are expecting once you get home?

The only thing I can think of that is on the down side of adopting is the fact you more than likely wouldn’t be getting a “puppy” or “kitten”.

Shelters Have Puppies, Too

Shelters, at times though, DO have litters of animals that need to be adopted out or someone’s pet has babies and family can’t afford to keep them and hand them over to a shelter. Are they purebred? Not usually. Will they love you as much as an expensive store bought animal? Absolutely.

Opening Up a Space

As I am thinking of good reasons to adopt an animal… there is an obvious fact that crosses my mind. And, the fact is that you would be saving a pets life.

There are few no kill shelters, as they fill up the long term animals that haven’t been adopted have to be euthanized to make room for more to come in. So not only are you saving one pets life you are saving two by making room for another pet to be sheltered.

A Certain Dog in Mind

Depending on you and your family, you may have a certain kind of dog in mind.

Is it for companionship, for protection or just to add joy to the family?

Shelters usually have many different breeds at one time and some will even give you a call if you are looking for a certain breed if one happens to come in. If you want to just check them out and see what is available, most shelters will take a dog out to play area and let you interact with it to see if you are interested and if the dog likes you.

You are able to see their personality, how they act with your children, or with another pet. If you are older you might just need a low key pet but find one you like really wouldn’t work because of the energy they have. It is a good time to see if you and the pet would connect personalities.

When you’re adopting from a shelter, you can rest at ease knowing your dog will already be spayed/neutered, vetted, and often microchipped. Pet store dogs don’t offer this. The vetting is your responsibility.

And, there could be more veterinary costs than you think… because most of the puppies found in pet stores are straight from the puppy mill.

On top of these points, if you watch your local shelters, most will have specials throughout the year.

Saving a Dog is a Wonderful Feeling

Adopting a pet is a wonderful feeling as the pet picks you just as much as you pick them!

Be a hero not just to your family but to a loyal companion who will love you until the end.

MY HERO SAVED ME; WILL YOU BE A HERO TOO? (Pictured: Smokie, my rescued Pit)

 

4 Common Dog Adoption Mistakes

When you’re planning to adopt a new furry family member, there are a few important tips to keep in mind.

A dog will be in your life for a decade or longer, and you’ll be his heart for his entire life. This is not a commitment to take lightly.

Mistake #1 When Adopting a Dog

The number one mistake is adopting a dog on the spur of the moment. You might see an adorable little puppy as you scroll through your Facebook or your news feed. Of course, he’s adorable. But, are you ready for the commitment?

 

Mistake #2 When Adopting a Dog

The second mistake dog lovers make when adopting a dog is underestimating the cost of being a responsible dog guardian.

Whether you choose a purebred dog from a breeder, or a mixed breed from the local shelter, making sure you understand this will not be the only cost is critical.

Keep in mind you’ll also have to pay for dog food, veterinary care and any other necessities your dog has… and he will count on you to take good care of him.

Mistake #3 When Adopting a Dog

If you’re adopting a dog to ‘replace’ a dog you lost, tread carefully. It’s important to remember that your new dog will not be able to replace the one you lost.

Each dog is unique and the dog you are adopting will fill a new place in your heart.

Your adopted dog’s personality will not be the same as the dog you lost, even if she is the same breed.

Mistake #4 When Adopting a Dog

A dog is a part of a family, so you should make sure all of your family members are on board with being a part of your dog’s life.

Some breeds do tend to ‘prefer’ one person, but they all want to feel loved by everyone in the home. And, they should be treated with respect and have a sense of belonging.

A Wonderful Companion

Adopting a dog and welcoming her into your home is the most wonderful experience. But, be sure to take your time when deciding which breed, age, size and personality is best for your family to ensure all of you are happy.