Dog Care 101: Bringing A New Dog Home

The first week that you and your new dog spend together is, of course, exhilarating, but it's also sure to be unnerving.

Being in a new home and a new family can cause dog stress, and it can cause stress to you, too. You will make the process simpler for both of you by doing a bit of advanced preparation.

Before Bringing Your Dog Home

Even when your new puppy lays a paw in your house for the first time, you're going to have to make some plans. These moves will ensure that your dog has the best possible start in his new life.

1. Have a meeting with the family.

A puppy is a significant commitment, but before you take the plunge, make sure you're all together looking for this most recent member of the family.

Then decide who will be the primary caregiver—otherwise, you'll waste a lot of time complaining as your new dog paws at their empty food bowl.

To stop upsetting the puppies, work out the house's laws ahead of time—is the dog allowed on the bed? On the sofa, huh? Where's the dog going to sleep? Are any rooms in the building permanently out of bounds? Have the families in the decisions so that everybody is on the same page.

2. Stock up on the supply side.

Buy the basics ahead of time. That way, both of you can settle in without too many wild sticks in the shop.

Here's what you're going to need to get started:

  • Crate

  • Bowls for food and drink

  • Food and maybe some training treats—talk to the vet for a proper diet.

  • Leash and collar

  • Bed

  • Toys, in particular, chew toys.

  • Cleaners for stain-and odor-removing

  • Some baby or dog gates to block parts of your house

3. Prepare your home.

It takes a bit extra effort for you to have a dog, so they can have a knack for getting into stuff they're not supposed to do. So no matter how old the dog is, you're going to want to do some organization ahead of time.

Create a temporary, gated-out living room for your dog or puppy, so they can't harm your possessions or ingest food that makes them sick. Whenever you're not with them, they'll sit in this place to keep them from getting house training injuries.

Pick a space that's the core of your household's life, so your dog won't feel alone, and make sure it's one with an easy-to-clean floor. The kitchen is always a good choice; if desired, you can lock it off with baby gates. Make sure you delete something that you don't want to be chewed or soiled.

What's in your dog's field can change slightly based on your age and how you practice at home. Puppy-proof to make sure that something that could harm your dog—medicine, chemicals, certain plants—is out of control.

4. Take a few days off work to take care of the new puppy.

Ideally, you should take a couple of days to a week off work, get your new dog or puppy moved in, and start house training. It's also going to help the two of you bond, which in itself will make preparation simpler.

But even though you do take some time off, you're going to need a back-up team in place pretty soon. Shop for dog walkers, pet sitters, or doggy daycare in your city. Depend on friends and family for word of mouth advice.

5. Choose the right trainer or class.

Group obedience lessons are useful for communicating with your new dog and learning how to work with and teach them. These lessons are particularly encouraged for young puppies, as they give pups a chance to get acquainted with other canines and people—a vital aspect of raising a healthy, friendly dog.

Dog training is unregulated, and almost everyone can call themselves a dog trainer, so you'll want to do some homework and make sure you've got a suitable class and instructor.

6. Make plans for future trips.

Get a helper to tag along when you're going to pick up your puppy. Young puppies, who have never been on a car trip before, maybe rattled. And adult dogs can get nervous—and a terror-filled car ride can transform into a long-lasting phobia of car travel.

Get someone to sit next to your dog on a trip home, soothe them, and keep them from hopping into your lap when you're walking. If your dog is used to a cage, you should stick it in a crate for a ride home. Only make sure it's safe; rolling in the back seat will make the drive more stressful.

When The Dog is Home

Now that you're done with the first car ride and stepped in the front door with your new puppy, you're both going to start the transition process. This time is critical because it's going to be your dog's first experience of their new home—so make it a nice one! Here are a couple of tips.

1. Keep it pleasing but low-key at first.

For a timid puppy or dog, being introduced to a new location and then deluged with plenty of loud, lively strangers may be daunting. On the first day or two, keep the attitude soft and peaceful. Hold on to the invitation of the visitors before your dog moves down.

2. Introduce your dog to your crate.

Crates are the fastest way to get home to the station, but most dogs require a little time to get cozy. It isn't hard to do; you need to know how to get your dog or puppy to their crate. 

3. Start your training course.

The sooner you start, the better the lessons will be. Besides, the faster and easier it is to teach proper etiquette. The two most important lessons to teach your dog are house training and socialization to familiarize them with other people and dogs.

4. Set up a routine.

A schedule helps to teach your dog at home and is reassuring your dog. Identify a routine for walks, dinners, bath breaks, and exercise—and aim to stick to it. Many of these can include watching your dog and dealing with their routine to meet their needs.

5. Get a license for your dog.

Getting a dog license is a legal prerequisite in most United States locations, although local standards differ. But this is a vital move, as you will use your dog's collar to get them back to you if they get lost. You would even want to have the dog microchipped for additional insurance. Check with the nearest pet care and control and figure out how to get your dog registered. You should be able to apply online.

Vet Care & Maintenance

It's particularly critical that the first visit to a puppy's vet is a fun one so that your dog learns to take a walk to the vet on a stroll.

Ask for references, then make your first meeting. Your dog is going to need a check-up and maybe some vaccines. Word of mouth is a perfect way to find a trusted vet near you.

Your dog's first few weeks at home are going to be a period of enormous change for all of you. You will make the change much smoother all around if you plan your home, have a team—vets, dog walkers, and doggy daycare—and set up a schedule right away.

Have you ever taken in a new dog? If you have any ideas to make things run smoothly? A schedule helps to teach your dog at home and is reassuring your dog.

Identify a routine for walks, dinners, bath breaks, and exercise—and aim to stick to it. Many of these can include watching your dog and dealing with their routine to meet their needs.

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