The time has come to bring your newest four-legged family member home. This can be a very exciting day but it can also be stressful for the dog. Keep the following tips in mind when bringing home your new best friend for the first time.
Gather everything you need for the dog before the time comes to go get him or her. Going to the store to buy things like a collar, leash, food dish, water bowl, doggie bed and a few new toys before you go to pick up the dog allows you to get things set up for the dog without having to run any errands on the way home from the pickup.
Go to the local pet store and have a dog tag engraved with your name and phone number so you can put this on the dog at pick up. This helps to avoid any mishaps if the dog happens to run away or gets out of the yard in the first few days.
Establish your dog’s “bedroom”
Before your dog comes home, pick out where in your home they will be sleeping by setting aside a space for their bed, crate or wherever they sleep. This will be their personal space where they can retreat and take a break. The space should be doggie proof so they are enclosed enough that they are not damaging valuables.
Dog-proof your home
Dog-proofing your home means putting anything up that might be harmful to the dog like chemicals or things they can chew apart. It can also mean using a system of baby gates to restrict movement in the home as needed if the dog will be limited to certain parts of the home while you are out of the house. If this is a younger dog, you also need to figure out how you are handling housebreaking. If you’re adopting an older animal, you may need to make some modifications to your home.
Plan the trip home
When it comes time to bring the dog home for the first time, the car ride might be a time to ask for a friend’s help. The dog is probably going to be either really scared or so excited they are all over the place. Having an extra person there to sit with the dog can help to keep them from jumping around in the car. Making sure that the dog has both a collar with dog tag and a leash on in the car will keep from any mishaps with the dog getting away from you as soon as you stop the car.
Meeting the family
Once you arrive home, the dog should only meet the family living in the house. This is not the time for any type of visit from neighbors, friends or anyone else. Give the dog a short introduction to the family one at a time and outside of the house.
Walk the yard for a good sniff
Taking a short walk around the yard and giving the dog time to sniff as much of the yard as they want to will help to get them settled in the new home. Remember this is all new to them and dogs like to sniff things out. Staying outside for a bit of time right out of the car also gives the new dog time to calm down and go potty if they need to.
Walk the home leashed
For the first introduction to the inside of the house, walk the dog around the home on the leash. This allows you to keep them calm and show them quickly the layout of the house. The tour should end at the spot where you have already established their “bedroom”. When they arrive at their own space remove the leash to signal this is their space.
And repeat with your pet sitter
There will probably be occasions when you’ll have to leave your pet with a sitter. If your pet will be staying at the sitter’s house, many of these tips are also great for helping your pet acclimate to their home. Make some time well in advance of your pet’s stay to take them to the sitter’s home so that they can get to know the sitter and their temporary environment. Doing so will help them feel less anxious when the time comes for their stay, which will decrease the chances of them demonstrating less than desirable behavior.
Having a new pet is exciting, but it’s important to remember that coming to your home is a huge transition for them. When you take steps to help them get used to their new home, chances are, things will go a lot more smoothly for both of you. If you have any issues or don’t know where to start don’t forget that we are here to help you with training your new dog!
*This article was written by our guest writer Jessica Brody from Ourbestfriends.pet