Adopting a dog can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start, but opening the doors of your home to your dog is also fun and exciting. This stage is the initial moment when a bond is established between you and your new furry friend. Here are ten tips to ensure the transition is enjoyable for everyone and help relieve stress best family pets.
- Gather the items you need
Get everything you need to make him feel safe and at home before bringing him to his new home. In addition to the basics—collar, leash, food and water bowl—you’ll also need a bed, a pet flap, toys, treats and grooming supplies. Additionally, it is advisable to have training mats and enzymatic cleaners on hand during the early stages of housetraining.
- Prepare your home
As with babies, it is always helpful and reassuring to prepare the space before the puppy arrives at its new home. Go through your home looking for objects that could be dangerous to small or overly curious puppies, and remove anything you don’t want them to chew on.
Likewise, the rest of the family should also prepare: discuss with your family who will be the members in charge of feeding, walks and training. If there are already other animals living in your home , make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations to ensure everyone’s safety. And if you have cats, you should have an area that the dog cannot access so that they can have their space, so that they can acclimate to the excitement of the newcomer at their own pace. There may be people who consider this an exaggeration, but this preparation will help keep your dog safe and make the transition process easier for everyone.
- Designate a safe space for the dog
Just as with pets already living in your home, the newcomer should have the same private space to themselves. Some people balk at the idea of getting a dog crate, but the non-profit organization Best Friends maintains that dogs actually see them as their own resting place, sort of like their den. They also serve as a place for them to feel safe while they adjust to the new home.
If you prefer not to use a cage, you can always use a dog fence to fence off a space just for him.
You can visit him within this space to contribute to the creation of an emotional bond, but it is important that children and other pets stay outside at first.
- Plan how (and when) you are going to take it to its new home
If possible, take a couple of days off work or try to pick up your dog on the weekend, so you have free time. However, it is not advisable to pick him up just before a long vacation since if he gets used to always being with you, he may develop separation anxiety when you return to work. Go to pick it up with another person at the wheel or with someone accompanying you to make it feel comfortable while you drive. Don’t forget to take his collar and leash and go straight home, without making any stops that distract him.
- Guide the dog around the house
Keep him on the leash while you let him explore and sniff the inside of his new home. Show him his food, his bed, and his toys, and let him know what is prohibited with short but firm commands such as “no” or “out.”
- Explore the garden on a leash
Adopted dogs should be given plenty of time and space to discover and sniff out their new surroundings. If you have designated an area for him to relieve himself in the garden, take him to it and reward him with a treat when he uses it correctly.
- Introduce him to the family
At the Animal Rescue League of Boston , they recommend that family members and other dogs meet the new member one on one. Keep other dogs on leashes and supervise their interactions, keeping in mind that too intense an introduction can cause them to adopt a territorial attitude towards the newcomer. Avoid letting children (and other family members) kiss or hug the dog, no matter how adorable it may be, but give them the freedom to make friends with a sniff and a treat.
- Change the dog’s diet progressively
If you can, get some of the food the dog ate at the shelter or from its breeder and gradually change your dog’s diet to the brand you intend to give it from that moment on, to prevent it from having digestion problems caused by a very abrupt change.
- Start training as soon as possible
Even adult dogs that have been potty trained outside the home before will need some training. If you plan to crate train your dog, introduce him early on and practice leaving him inside, with a toy, for short periods of time while you’re away from home to get him used to it. Are you interested in obedience training itself? You’ll also need to start working with him to set the rules from day one.
- Take him to a vet checkup
During your dog’s first week in your home, you should visit a veterinarian to do a general checkup and make sure all of his or her vaccinations are up to date.
Adopting a dog is a big change for both the animal and your family. However, leaving these loose ends together will help him feel safe in his new environment and will make it easier for you to bond with your new friend.