When you adopt a dog, it’s a big adjustment for all involved. It’s probably most overwhelming for the dog! It’s so important to take measures to help your new pup adjust when you first bring him home.
Here are five ways to help your dog become comfortable in their new home:
Have Some Structure
Establish some house rules before you even bring your new puppy home! If you live with others, having a dog is definitely a collaborative effort! Agree on how duties will be distributed. For example, whose job is it to walk the new dog in the morning? Who is the primary giver of meals? Is the new member of the family going to be allowed on the furniture?
You should also make sure your new pup knows who’s in charge from the very beginning. Use tone of voice to signal when your dog has done something that isn’t allowed–he’ll be able to read you. If you let him know you’re in charge from the very beginning, you’ll have fewer problems later on, and he will know who to look to for direction.
Establish Vocab Words
To get your new pooch off to a good start in your home, you should start training him the moment he gets there. With the other members of your household, establish command words you will mainly use on the dog, to avoid conflicting messages and confusion.
Get Ready to House-Train
You should assume your new pup is not house-trained. Be ready to house-train him. This means reading up about how to do this ahead of time, if you’ve never done it, and dog-proofing the areas of your home where he’ll be spending most of his time.
Don’t Keep Him Cooped Up
A played-with dog is a happy dog. From the first day he arrives, make an effort to have fun with your new pup. You don’t want him to feel like a prisoner in his new home! Take him out for long walks and games like Frisbee or fetch.
Consider a Crate
You might see crates as tools of abuse, but as dogs have a natural tendency to want to create a den, many actually find crates quite cozy and comfortable! Giving your dog a crate will let him have his own little space in your home, a safe spot to get comfy. Crating your dog can make his first few weeks and months in your home easier by making house-training simpler and preventing him from exhibiting problem behaviors when you aren’t home.
However, the crate should not be overused. Don’t keep your new pup in his crate all the time, or for many hours on end. A good rule is to keep him in there for a few hours each day. Make sure he always has water in his crate and that it is a comfortable size. A crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around.
If you don’t like the idea of a crate or it’s not an option for any other reason, you can use something like a baby gate to keep your new pup in one room of the house, like the kitchen. Kitchens are easy to dog-proof and easy to clean up if your dog makes a mess.