The first few weeks of a dog’s time in a new home are crucial. It’s an unnerving period for your new dog, who has to get used to a completely new environment. They have to get used to living with new people and sometimes other pets.
It’s important to try and make the transition as smooth as possible, by helping your dog to feel comfortable in their new home. Whether you have a young puppy or an older rescue dog, you need to carefully prepare for their arrival and set some ground rules. Here is the essential guide to introducing a new dog into your home.
Equipment and accessories needed
When your new dog arrives it’s important that they have everything they need. You will need to stock up on dog supplies before they are due to arrive, so that everything is ready. You will need things such as a bed, lead, collar and name tag, food and water bowl, toys, grooming products and treats.
Preparing your home
You will need to dog proof your home and get it ready for your new pooch. First, make sure your house is safe for a dog and remove any potential hazards. Walk around your house consider things your dog might be able to get to. For example, chocolate should be stored well out of reach of dogs and you should make sure you don’t have any houseplants that are poisonous to dogs.
Keep an eye out for sharp objects that your dog could run into and injure themselves and things that are small enough for them to swallow.
Next, check your garden is secure. Your dog should not be able to escape or jump over your garden fence (fences of at least 6 foot are often necessary). For more information on how to make your home dog friendly, check out this article.
Create a den, crate or bedded area where they will feel safe. Then if things in the house get a little too much, they can always go to their quiet spot and take some time out. A nice comfy bed will make them feel right at home.
You will also need to get some pet travel products and prepare your car, so that your new dog can be transported safely. There are a few options when it comes to securing your dog in the car, you can use a seat belt, car harness or crate. You might also want to get some car seat protectors to prevent your car from getting really muddy and full of dog hair.
Preparing family members
Before getting a new dog, you should make sure all family members are on board. There is no point getting a dog is one family member isn’t keen, it’s unfair and probably won’t work out. Get everyone who lives in your house to meet your dog before they come home, so that they can establish some kind of a bond. This will also make it easier for your new dog, because they won’t be walking into a house with total strangers.
Once you have decided on a dog then it’s time to set some ground rules. Your training won’t be successful if everyone is doing different things. Decide what commands you are all going to use and stick to them so your dog doesn’t get confused.
Agree on what your new dog can and cannot do in the home, so that everybody is on the same page. You might also want to decide what sort of role everyone will play in looking after your new job. Who will be walking them on a daily basis? Who will be doing most of the training? It’s useful to get all these things sorted before your new dog arrives.
If you have another dog
If you already have another dog then you will need to gradually introduce your new arrival. Before you bring your new dog home, make sure they have met any existing dogs in the home. Try and get them to meet on neutral grounds and check that they get along. It may take a few visits to establish whether they can live together. Consider your existing dog’s needs before you make your final decision, it’s unfair to get another dog if it will put them under stress.
If you have other pets
Other pets in the home also need to be considered. If you have cats you will need to make sure your new dog is cat tested before bringing them home. If you are getting a puppy then you should be able to get them used to having a cat around, although some dogs can still take a disliking to cats. If you have small furries then keep them well away from your new dog, ensure their cage is secure and out of reach.
Giving your dog time to settle
It’s important to note that a dog might not settle in right away, they need to time to get used to a new environment. Don’t expect miracles and for them to behave perfectly right away. They may be a little anxious for the first few weeks so try and allow for this and make them feel as comfortable as possible.
Don’t get a new dog if you are planning a holiday
It’s not a sensible idea to get a new dog if you are planning on going away when you get your new dog. They will start to settle into a new place, and then have to deal with being uprooted and separated from you. Wait until you have been on holiday and then you can think about bringing a new dog home.