Bringing home a puppy is one of the most fun, joyful, and heart-warming moments you can experience. There’s nothing like watching your pup get used to their new home and family. Whether your new pup has made their way to you via rescue or a breeder, there are some great tips on how new dog owners can transition their little friend.
Check out these tips to get your newly adopted dog more comfortable and acclimated to your home.
New Pet Basics: Specific Food And Water Locations And A “Safe Space” For Your New Puppy
Bonding with your dog early on is critical, especially when you first bring them into your home. This is when you set the tone for how your pup should behave. Not only do you want them to feel safe and comfortable, but you want them to know that you’re the boss. Your pup is going to look to you for how they should behave.
Make sure they know where their special puppy places are and be consistent.
- Assign a space for their food and water bowls. Just like you know where your kitchen is, your dog wants to know where they can eat and drink. Your kitchen doesn’t get up and move every time you want to make a meal. Your dog’s “kitchen” should stay in the same place as well.
- Your dog’s diet may depend on your dog’s breed. Talk to your vet about which dog food and dog treats are best for your puppy or newly adopted dog. You want to be your dog’s best friend, and having the right dog food is a big step in the right direction. You’ll also want to feed your pup consistently and preferably around the same time each day. This will help them to trust you and feel safe.
- Give them a safe space to call their own. When you set up a crate or baby gated area that is just for your puppy, you are giving them the ability to bow out of a situation that makes them uncomfortable. This will give them confidence in dealing with new stresses. They know they’ll have a place to go where nothing stressful can get to them.1 Think of what you would do if you couldn’t go home after a hard day – it’s the same for your dog. Your dog’s crate may go in your bedroom or family room. This way, your dog can see you from their safe space – which makes them feel safer. Make sure you crate train your dog well. If you choose not to use a crate, a dog bed can also be a safe space that’s great for training. Positive reinforcement is a great tactic to reward your pooch when they go lay down in their bed.2
- Find a vet. You want to make sure you find the right veterinarian for your puppy. Make sure your dog feels comfortable with the vet — and you should feel comfortable too. Try asking other pet parents you know for a recommendation or searching online for highly rated veterinarians in your area.
Note: Prepare for your puppy’s arrival as much as possible. Purchase all of their food, bedding, and water bowls before bringing them home.
Set A Regular Daily Routine (But Remember To Give Them Ample Time To Adjust)
Potty training your new puppy is essential to your relationship. Why? Because puppies don’t know you don’t want them to pee on your floor. Nor do they know going to the bathroom could upset you if they do it in the “wrong” place.
At first, you’ll need to be patient with your new dog. Also, accidents are par for the course. So have the right cleaning products handy. Take your dog out regularly, and when they potty outside, praise them. You can even offer potty training treats to expedite the process. Make sure to take your dog out for potty breaks —
- When you get out of bed in the morning
- Before you go to bed at night
- When your dog wakes from a long nap (there will be many)
- After they’ve played or exercised
- If they haven’t been outside in the last hour or two3
And if you feel like you need help, look into puppy classes. Expert help (especially in the beginning) can teach you to be an expert for your pup. Puppy classes can help your pooch get used to socializing, being on a leash, and learning to follow your voice.
Check to see if your nearby pet shop provides a puppy training course. You can also ask other pet parents or your vet for recommendations.
Playing With Toys Is Important (And Fun)
When bringing home a puppy, make sure to have a few toys to occupy their minds and make them feel welcome and comfortable.4 When choosing toys, try and find the following:
- A fun chew toy
- A cute toy that your puppy can carry around and nurture
- An exercise toy, like a ball or frisbee
- An interactive toy for when you’re unable to play with your pet (puzzle toys are great)
Being Your New Adopted Dog’s Best Friend
The best advice for any new dog owner is to be very patient and hold onto your sense of humor. Your new puppy is going to make a lot of mistakes. If you can’t laugh about it and shake it off, your puppy may learn to fear you instead of trust you (and that’s the last thing you want).
They won’t stay puppies for long, so be patient with them during training and enjoy each and every minute of being a pup parent. You’ll get a handle on their personality and learn to love their antics.
And if you find your dog isn’t adjusting to life in your home, give your vet a call. They’ve seen it all and they might have some great advice — especially because they know your dog’s breed and common behaviors. It doesn’t ever hurt to reach out and ask for advice or help.
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