Puppy's First Week Home

When you bring home a new dog or puppy, there will need to be some time for adjustment. By following these tips, you can lay the foundation for a long and happy life together and make the transition as easy as possible for everyone involved.

Plan Ahead: Make all your purchases ahead of time so you have the supplies, food, and toys your dog needs ready to go, and have your house ready for your newcomer. Read about items you need to have and how to prepare your home.

Make Time: The best time to bring your newcomer home is at the beginning of a weekend. If possible, add a few vacation days. This gives you time to acquaint your dog with his new home and begin housetraining and other training.

Choose a Name: Agree on a name ahead of time and make sure everyone uses it all the time when talking to your dog. This will help him recognize his name and avoid confusion.

See the Veterinarian: As soon as possible after you acquire your new dog, take him to your veterinarian. Bring any immunization information you may have received when you acquired your pet to your veterinarian to begin a case history for future reference.

Get Everyone On Board: Once in his new home, remember that your dog is adjusting to strange new surroundings and people. Children can become especially excited. Show children how to play nicely.

Be a Leader: Simple things like asking him to sit before he gets a treat or asking him to wait and sit at the door before he goes outside will make it easier for your dog to accept that you (and your family) are in charge.

Feed Your Dog: It is best to bring home the dog food that your new pet has been eating to make the transition to his new home as easy as possible. New sights, new environment and all the attention can be very stressful. The only familiar thing may be the food he has been eating. If you plan to switch foods, you can minimize digestive upsets by allowing 7-10 days for the transition. Place food in the spot where the food dish will be kept to set a routine. If your dog doesn't seem to be eating, try moistening the food with water.

Be Fair: Never hit your dog. Never scold him for something he did a while ago. Your puppy will have no idea what the problem is and will think that you are mad for no reason. Instead, encourage the behavior you want and prevent the ones you do not. It’s a much more productive approach. Learn more about behavior issues and how to address them.

Get Out: Begin socializing your puppy as soon as your veterinarian gives the OK. Take him out and gradually introduce him to new people and other dogs in controlled, safe settings. It is one of the most important things you can do for him. It teaches him to be a "good citizen" and gives him confidence and social skills.

Make Introductions: Introduce your new dog to resident pets in controlled situations – if the resident pet is a dog, perhaps on neutral ground where neither will feel the need to defend territory. Give each pet his own food dish, and give all pets attention to avoid competition.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do make sure your entire family knows how to act, and agree on commands and rules. Complete cooperation of all family members is ideal. When a pet receives mixed signals, he can become confused and not know what to do.

Don’t bring home a new dog during busy times such as birthdays and holidays. The noise and confusion may frighten the pet. Family members are generally too busy with the festivities to devote adequate time to help the dog become comfortable in his new home.

Do have fun. Dogs of all ages love a good time!

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