Bringing home a new dog might just be one of the best days of your life. It could also be one of the most stressful. No matter whether you’re bringing home a new puppy or an adult dog, it’s a big commitment and requires a fair amount of preparation on your part.
The good news is, the more of a head start you have to make necessary preparations, the smoother the transition will be for all members of the family.
When adding a furry, four-legged addition to your home, it’s best when all family members are in agreement. Decide what kind of dog works best with everyone in the home and the family lifestyle. Age, breed, and where you’re getting the dog from are all contributing factors to pre-pup discussions.
You will also want to establish house rules and a dog-care routine. Who is going to feed the dog and when? Where will the dog sleep? What’s the walking schedule going to be? Are any rooms or pieces of furniture off-limits? Consistency is important when it comes to dog training, so establishing rules before the arrival is important.
Before you bring any dog into your home, it’s also a good idea to gather supplies in advance. You will need a collar, leash, food and water bowl, dog food, toys, and an identification tag. If you plan on crate-training, you will need a crate. For a puppy or dog that isn’t house-trained (or is incontinent), you may also want to stock up on cleaning supplies and pee pads.
Puppy-proof an area of your home where the newest addition can spend most of its time safely. Think of it along the same lines as baby-proofing. If a puppy can put it in its mouth and chew it, that’s exactly what it’s going to do (regardless of whether it belongs there or not). Some puppy-proofing tips include taping loose electrical cords to baseboards, storing household chemicals out of reach, and removing plants, rugs, and breakables from the puppy zone. Baby gates are an easy way to keep the dog confined or to restrict it from going in off-limit areas.
No matter the age or circumstances of your new dog, there’s going to be an adjustment period for everyone. While you may have dog-proofed your home thoroughly already, be vigilant for anything he or she might get into. If this is your first dog, you might not realize just how tantalizing that garbage can is for a nosey pup. To let your dog explore the home safely, you can keep him on a leash as you walk through the house.
Show him where his bed, food, toys, and water are. And give him time to adjust! It’s a big change. Let your new dog have a safe space that is just his if he ever needs an “escape” from the chaos of this new environment. If you already have pets in the home, take introductions slow. Consult a professional if you have any questions on best introduction practices.
Dogs love consistency, and creating a schedule from the get-go (that you follow every day!) will help make your dog feel more secure and help prevent accidents.
It’s always a good idea to bring your new dog home at a time where people are going to be around to interact and train the new dog, especially when it comes to a puppy. Shower your new best friend in love and remember: patience is key. Your new dog may not come with any training and certainly won’t have an understanding of what’s “yours” and what’s “his.” Some simple advice is this: if you worry about your dog destroying something, there’s the possibility that he might so you should keep it away from him. Whether it’s shoes, a rug, or a leather couch, Fido isn’t going to automatically know that it’s not his new favorite chew toy. Consult with a professional trainer or enroll your puppy in classes for extra help.
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.