How to Bring a New Dog Home

Whether or not you have pets already in your home, adopting or even fostering a new dog takes work. You may not know much about your new dog’s history. There are a lot of things to consider. How are they with people? Other dogs? Cats? Children? Food?Toys? Being left alone?

If you go into this process knowing that it is just that – a process – you will find it mucheasier. The following are some tips to help make the transition a smooth one. A lot ofthese tactics maygo against your human nature, so it is important to continuouslyremind yourself of these and why they are so important.

Apply Rules From the Beginning

When first adopting a dog, thereis so much excitement and happiness, a lot of people resort to smothering theirnew friend with love and attention. RESIST! The best thing you can do for youand your new dog is to establish rules and boundaries from the start.For example, if youeventually would like to train your new dog not to jump up,you should be enacting a “NO” or “OFF” command starting Day 1.Don’t worry, it may seem cold or cruel to you, but your new dog wants to pleaseyou, so making clear what you want from them is truly a service to them!

Limit Their World and Exposure to New Things

Space. It is best to limit your dog’s capability for destruction in your new home.Start withallowing them in one room and one room only. Over the course of afew weeks (if you can manage it), slowly, add in other rooms. Additionally, manyowners like to implement crate training (if the dog isn’t already crate trained).Crate training is a wonderful tool to give your dogboundaries AND a safe spaceof their own.

People. You may be so excited to bring your new dog home that you want tothrow a party.However, it is best to limit the number of new faces. Even if yourdog is lovely with new people, reducing the number of new people only helpsthem establish the bond with you AND helps ensure rules and boundaries arebeing relayed properly. If you can tell your new dog is wary of new people, it isespecially important that you prep all new people with this information – both

for their safety and your new dog’s best interest.

Other Dogs. When encountering another dog on leash, your first step should beto communicatewith the other owner. You should ask if the dogs may meet and iftheir dog is generally friendly. You should also make sure to let them know thatyour dog is new, and you are still getting to know them. Leash meetings areimportant and should take your full attention. Promote your dog sniffing theother dog’s rear – not their face! Keep the sniffing short and keep an eye out forleash tangling.

Even if the interaction goes well, it is important to remember that these meetingsshould be short.

If you find that your dog’s leash interactions aren’t going well, don’t stress aboutit. Leash interactions are extremely tough as leashaggression is very common.Instead of continuously forcing these interactions, take the time to work on therelationship between you and your dog. Building trust can help with thesemeetings in the future.

Introducing Your Dog(s) to Your New Dog. It is easier said than done, buttry to remain calm. All dogs have different personalities, and this process willinevitably take some time and will likely be stressful since you so dearly wanteverything to work out. If you are (understandably) nervous, chew gum or grabsome mints; these help mask your fear/nerves as dogs can smell them! If your‘old’ dog senses you are uneasy, they will associate that uneasiness with the new


Before introducing the dogs, ask someone to help you out. For the first interaction,do a PACK WALK. This means, you take one dog on leash, and your assistant takesthe other. Upon seeing one another, the dogs will undoubtedly be excited. Do notallow the dogs to interact. Instead, you and your assistant should begin walking,each with their dog on the outside. As the dogs become calmer, they each can moveto the inside of their human. Still, do not allow the dogs to sniff each other. Once thedogs are very calm, you may stop for a brief interaction. Then, continue to walk. APACK WALK should happen on neutral territory i.e. around the neighborhood, in asecluded park, etc. Try to walk for at least 30 minutes. If you encounter other dogs,cross the street. This interaction is about your two dogs!

If you have additional dogs in the household, repeat this process with them.

Depending on how well this goes, one PACK WALK may be all you need. However,feel free to do these PACK WALKS as often as needed.

When you feel comfortable allowing the dogs to meet at home, make sure there areno tension triggers around like food or toys. Start with small sessions. When thedogs are separated again, be sure to spend time with each individually – work ontraining, commands, etc.

Other Pets. Other pets in the household should be the last thing you introduceto your new dog. This introduction should happen after they’ve met with otherdogs, and you have an idea of their behavior. Of course, you may choose not tointroduce them to your other pet at all – that is also perfectly fine if you sochoose.

Build a Routine and Trust

Right off the bat, try to create a normalroutine for your dog. This applies to feeding times,bathroom breaks, exercise,socializing, training, etc.

In the beginning, practice leaving your dog alone. Every dog will have a differentresponse to being left alone. For the first few days, leave the room or house for15-30 minutes at the same time every day. Your dog will learn that you leave, butyou also come back! Over time, leave for longer periods of time and at differenttimes of the day.

If you plan to use a dog walker when you are away from home, now is the time to introduce the walker to your pet and add them into the routine. The more exposure your new dog gets to their daily life, the more adjusted they will become.

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