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The First Day with Your Adopted Dog

To be successful in transitioning your new dog to his new home, here are some tips for the first day.

  • Go Home – when you pick your new dog up, go straight home. It can be tempting to visit with friends or family to show off your new dog or to stop for supplies at the pet store, but it is better for the dog to go straight home.  Adopting is exciting but your new dog may be a little unsure of what is ahead of him.  Go home, have some quiet time, and allow him to explore his new surroundings before asking him to have more interactions with new people (and new environments) than is necessary. 
  • Outside First – upon arriving home, walk your new dog around outside on leash until he urinates and defecates. Praise him when he eliminates outside.
  • Use the Leash – It is imperative that the dog remain on leash in the car, in the neighborhood, and in the back yard while the dog learns about his new home and you (his new person!). Hold tightly to the end of the leash and be prepared for the possibility the dog might attempt to bolt out of open doors.
  • Slow introductions – it can be helpful to leave the leash on the dog while he explores the new home, the leash can be removed once the dog has settled a bit and you feel comfortable. Will he be allowed up on the furniture?  Many families want their dog to be able to sit with them on the couch but if your family has different rules, take ahold of the leash and tell him "off" while applying light leash pressure to help him understand to get off the furniture. Your new dog should also be introduced to other family members slowly and calmly, ideally one at a time, so that he can get to know the sight and scent of each person without being overwhelmed.  
  • Diet - we sent you home with a bag of your dog's current diet.  It is fine to switch to a different diet, but it is recommended that you make the diet switch slowly, for instance, 2/3s of their shelter diet mixed with 1/3 of their new diet.  Continue as such for 3-4 days, then change to 1/2 of their shelter food with 1/2 of their new food for 3-4 days, followed by 1/3 of their shelter food with 2/3s of their new food until they are completely on their new diet.  Don't be surprised if some dogs don't eat the first day or two as the stress of changing homes may cause their appetite to decrease.  Add some canned food to their kibble to entice them, but it's ok if they wait a day or two before eating, as long as they are drinking and active.
  • Bedtime - Dogs generally like to "den up" with their owners.  If you have room, he is most likely to be comfortable sleeping in a bedroom with you.  This doesn't mean he has to sleep in your bed (unless you'd like him to), but a dog bed by your bed will be welcomed.  If you've adopted a puppy or prefer a crate, move the crate into your room and put your dog in the crate when you go to bed.

Don't worry if he behaves differently than you anticipated the day you bring him home.  He doesn't know that this is home yet and he will need time to get to know you and your expectations and for you to get to know him and his preferences.  Be patient.  The specialness of a bond with your new canine companion will likely take time.  WE ARE HERE TO HELP.  Call our Training Team for any questions~