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What To Do When You Bring Your New Dog Home

So, you have decided to have a new addition to your family. We understand how excited you must be. After all, the addition of a new family member can be a thrilling moment; however, it can also be a source of stress, especially if you have no experience living with a dog. Plus, dogs also can have a stressful time during this phase. This is why it is important to be aware of what to do and what not to do when bringing a dog home.

The key lies in planning ahead so that you have enough time to take care of everything. Here’s all you need to keep in mind when bringing your new dog home:

Before You Bring Your New Dog Home

Make Sure Everyone’s On the Same Page

This is one of the most important parts of the planning phase. Everyone who shares the house with you needs to be aware of your plans to introduce a pet. We understand the importance of ‘surprising’ your loved ones but we still suggest that you sit down with your family members and discuss your plan with them.

Remember that you will have to prepare both your home and your family to welcome a dog. Also, we suggest that you get kids involved if they are old enough. Dogs and children can form strong bonds. However, you will have to teach your kids how to behave around dogs. It is important to let the dog decide if they want to be friends with someone and not the other way around. 

Collect Supplies

The next step is to visit a mart and shop for your new dog. Here are a few items to purchase:

  • Food Bowls: Buy bowls to make it easy to feed your new pet. The bowls should be the right size for the dog. Plus, it might be a good idea to talk to a vet for specific instructions as some dogs may require elevated bowls.
  • Food: Do not wait for the dog to arrive before buying food. You should consider discussing this in detail with the current owner. Also, it might be a good idea to have some of your dog’s previous food mixed with new food as some dogs can take a while to transition to new food.
  • Collar and Harness: Get a harness and collar for your dog. You should consider getting a collar even if you only intend to use a harness. Collars can prove to be very helpful as they come with a license and ID tag. Moreover, be careful when buying a collar as some are known to prong, choke, or cause stress. 
  • Dog Toys: Get some toys to keep your dog engaged. The pet may feel lost in the beginning and toys can prove to be a great distractor. Make sure to buy toys that are appropriate for your pet. They should be safe and the right size for your new dog.
  • Bed: Get a comfortable bed for your dog to sleep on once he arrives. Also, do not forget your dog’s old bed as some dogs can take a while to get used to new bedding.
  • Pee Pads: You’ll need peep pads if you are bringing home a puppy. Otherwise, decide where you’ll take your dog for a dump.

Other supplies include kongs so that it is easy to freeze food for your dog and crates for your dog to move around. Also, get ready to buy new supplies from time to time as you get to know your new pet.

Make Place for Your Dog

Make sure there is space to accommodate the dog. You will have to dedicate a corner to your pet so he can sleep comfortably. Plus, there should be space for the dog to move around during the day and night. 

Furthermore, decide where you wish to keep the crate and where you will take the dog for a walk. Lastly, decide on a ‘washroom’ for your dog. 

Create a Routine and Training Schedule

Sit down and think about your dog’s routine in advance and discuss it with all the human members of your household. Here are a few things to discuss:

  • Who will walk the dog and when? It is very important to take your dog out for a walk as not doing so could make them lazy. Create and stick to a routine. Your dog will get used to the new schedule in a few days and may begin to anticipate the walk.
  • Who will feed the dog and when? Make a schedule and make sure to keep an eye on your dog’s food. Ensure they eat the required amount of food as some dogs may decline food in the beginning. It is very important to feed the dog on time as it helps improve discipline. Furthermore, discuss the schedule with all members and make a list of foods that are not suitable for a dog so that he doesn’t end up consuming them.  
  • How will you train the dog? You can choose the DIY approach or hire a professional for the job. The training phase can be lengthy and some dogs may have to be taught to do small things such as hold toys. 

What If You Already Have a Pet(s)?


Getting a new dog can be tricky if you already have pets, especially another dog or cat. Here’s what you can do to ensure they quickly become friends:

If You Have a Dog

The average American household has multiple pets. Most people choose to get a second dog because they want a companion for their pets. While this can be a good reason to choose to get another dog, it shouldn’t be your only determining factor. Get another dog if you truly feel like having one.

In most cases, your old dog will not have much of a problem getting used to a new friend as dogs are known to be social animals and live well in groups. However, there may be some exemptions. This is why it is important to think of your existing dog when you decide to bring home a new one.

First thing first, pay attention to the breed as not all breeds gel well together. Some breeds that get along with almost all other dogs include Poodle, Pug, Whippet, Great Dane, Saint Bernard, and Basset Hound.

The next step is to introduce the two dogs. You will have to be careful and get started on neutral ground to ensure there is no territorial aggression. Pick a place that’s new to both dogs. Don’t put the new dog immediately with or next to your existing pet as it could cause hostile behavior. Also, make sure to keep both dogs on a leash when you introduce them.

They might not start playing with each other right away and may require some time. Allow the two to sniff each other and indulge in ‘investigative’ behavior. Furthermore, be attentive as dogs can turn hostile without warning. Stay in control and keep the environment positive.

Dogs can take a while to get used to each other and they may also form a hierarchy. It is common for the existing dog to take the alpha position. You must keep this in mind when playing with your dogs. Do not neglect one for the other.

If You Have a Cat

Introducing a dog to a cat is easy. They rarely get hostile or indulge in serious fights. Still, pay attention to the two when you introduce them. We suggest that you study a little about dogs and their body language before you introduce your new dog to your cat so you can identify signs of discomfort. 

Bringing Your New Dog Home: On The First Day

Here’s what to do to ensure your new friend, you, your existing pets, and household members face no difficulty when you bring your new pet home.

  • Schedule and confirm the time with the shelter and do not be late. Make sure to carry the leash.
  • Let your family members know you’d be coming with a new pet.
  • Do not go with your old dog (if you have one) and do not force your new pet to enter the house. Give him some time to get used to the new environment. 
  • Take the new dog to the bathroom every few hours and offer rewards in return.
  • Feed him and allow him to eat comfortably.
  • Consider taking him out for a walk and allowing him to sniff the neighborhood.
  • Try petting your new dog but do not force yourself and teach children how to behave in front of a dog.

Do not force your new dog to do something he does not want to do. For example, allow the dog a few hours to spend in a corner if he’s not comfortable coming out.

Bringing Your New Dog Home: In the First Week

Here are a few things you’ll be expected to do in the first week:

  • Pay a visit to the vet with your dog for a regular checkup. Moreover, a microchip may be needed if your dog does not already have one.
  • Educate yourself and understand dog care, including signs of hunger, fear, anxiety, etc. Talk to a dog trainer to know more about dog behavior and what you can do to quickly train your pet.
  • Get a collar and license for your dog and ID your new pet. You will have to visit your local animal control to request a license. This is a legal requirement in most states. Plus, an ID will ensure you have no trouble finding your pet if he gets lost.
  • Start forming a bond with your new pet and have fun. Do not make the mistake of leaving your new pet alone if he doesn’t show interest in playing with you. The nicer you are to them, the quicker they’ll open up to you.

You will now begin to have a good understanding of what your dog likes and doesn’t like. Remember that no two dogs are the same and you may have to change your behavior a little to get closer to your new pet. Eventually, things will fall into place. However, remember that pups, old dogs, and dogs with illnesses or injuries may require more time and attention. Discuss this with the previous owner or your vet to ensure you give your dog the love and care that they need.

Bonus: Bringing A New Dog Home Checklist


We have created this checklist to make it easier for you to bring a new pet home. Take care of all these things to ensure an easy transition:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Food, including previous food items from the shelter or current owner
  • Leash, ID, and collar
  • Bed, including previous bed from the shelter or current owner
  • Crate
  • Food chart, though not necessary it can help ensure you don’t forget to feed your dog
  • Prepare a budget for vaccines, vet visits, food, etc.
  • Previous owner’s contact details so you can get in touch in case of queries 
  • Pee pads
  • Toys, including previous toys from the shelter or current owner
  • Training manuals 
  • Treats and rewards
  • Routine, including duties
  • Vet, including contact details

Consider taking a printout of this checklist so that you do not face any difficulty when you bring your new friend home. 

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