We know moving is stressful — and your new dog feels the same
way! Give him time to acclimate to your home and family before
introducing him to strangers. Make sure children know how to
approach the dog without overwhelming him. Go here for more on
introducing dogs and children.
When you pick up your dog, remember to ask what and when he was
fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to
avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different
brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part
new food to three parts of the old for several days; then switch
to half new food, half old, and then one part old to three parts
new. For more information about your dog’s diet, check out our
On the way home, your dog should be safely secured, preferably
in a crate. Some dogs find car trips stressful, so having him in
a safe place will make the trip home easier on him and you.
(Watch this video on
Dog Car Rides.)
Once home, take him to his toileting area immediately and spend
a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area
and relieve himself. Even if your dog does relieve himself
during this time, be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new
home with new people, new smells and new sounds will throw even
the most housebroken dog off-track, so be ready just in case.
Need more housetraining tips? Check out our
Dog Housetraining section.
If you plan on crate training your dog, leave the crate open so
that he can go in whenever he feels like it in case he gets
overwhelmed. Also, be sure to check out the dos and don’ts of
crate training your dog.
From there, start your schedule of feeding, toileting and
play/exercise. From Day One, your dog will need family time and
brief periods of solitary confinement. Don’t give in and comfort
him if he whines when left alone. Instead, give him attention
for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly
Preparing Your Home For A New Dog).
For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your dog,
limiting too much excitement (such as the dog park or
neighborhood children). Not only will this allow your dog to
settle in easier, it will give you more one-on-one time to get
to know him and his likes/dislikes.
If he came from another home, objects like leashes, hands,
rolled up newspapers and magazines, feet, chairs and sticks are
just some of the pieces of “training equipment” that may have
been used on this dog. Words like “come here” and “lie down” may
bring forth a reaction other than the one you expect. Or maybe
he led a sheltered life and was never socialized to children or
sidewalk activity. This dog may be the product of a never-ending
series of scrambled communications and unreal expectations that
will require patience on your part.
People often say they don’t see their dog’s true personality
until several weeks after adoption. Your dog will be a bit
uneasy at first as he gets to know you. Be patient and
understanding while also keeping to the schedule you intend to
maintain for feeding, walks, etc. This schedule will show your
dog what is expected of him as well as what he can expect from
After discussing it with your veterinarian to ensure your dog
has all the necessary vaccines, you may wish to take your dog to
group training classes or the dog park. Pay close attention to
your dog’s body language to be sure he’s having a good time —
and is not fearful or a dog park bully. If you’re unsure of what
signs to watch for, check out this video on
Dog Parks and Good Play vs. Bad Play.
To have a long and happy life together with your dog, stick to
the original schedule you created, ensuring your dog always has
the food, potty time and attention he needs. You’ll be bonded in
no time! For more information on creating a feeding schedule for
your dog visit
How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?
If you encounter behavior issues you are unfamiliar with, ask
your veterinarian for a trainer recommendation. Select a trainer
who uses positive-reinforcement techniques to help you and your
dog overcome these behavior obstacles. Visit
Dog Training and Behavior
for more information on reward-based training.
Congratulations! If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to
having a well-adjusted canine family member.
Sara Lippincott, Director, Shelter Outreach, Petfinder
Rescue Line -- (509) 443-1133