Bringing Home Your New Dog

Bringing home a new dog is a big deal. Here's how to make the transition a smooth one for you and your best friend.

Gather Supplies & Prepare a Space

  • Find out what type of food your best friend eats and have some on-hand. If you plan to change her diet, gradually transition to the desired food over the course of 10 days.
  • Purchase a collar, leash, and ID tag. Your new dog is in an unfamiliar place, so keep her in a fenced yard or on a leash.
  • Set up a dog-proofed area, complete with a bed, toys, water, and food. If you plan to crate train, have this ready.

Monitor Physical, Emotional & Mental Health

  • Take your new dog to the vet within three days. Many clinics offer a free first visit for owners who adopt. Bring all vaccine records provided by the shelter.
  • Your best friend may act differently in your home that she did at the shelter or in her foster home. Be prepared for it to take weeks or even months for your new dog to show her true self. Be patient and loving, but also be consistent. Make sure she gets plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, socialization, and attention. All of these things can lead to a long and happy life together.

Prioritize Training & Routine

  • Establish a routine, and set down the "house rules." Begin feeding, walking, and interacting with your dog on the same general schedule each day, If there are areas in or around your home that are off-limits to her, establish this up front, either by blocking access to the areas or by using the "leave it" command.
  • Make housetraining a priority. Take your best friend outside frequently and provide plenty of praise when she goes. Expect a few accidents at first.
  • Work on basic commands and loose leash-walking, then move on to tricks and advanced training. Above all, keep things positive!