10 Tips For The First Few Weeks After Adopting A Dog

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Getting a new dog is always an exciting event. You get a happy, loving, energetic new family member, and your life is forever changed. But adopting a dog can be a bit overwhelming both for you and your new pup. It requires an adjustment period before life can flow smoothly again. Below are ten tips for the first few weeks after adopting a dog that will help you navigate this new transition.

Dog-Proof Your Home

If this is your first dog, you’ll need to make some changes around your home to ensure it is a safe and comfortable place for your new pup. Dogs are curious creatures known for getting into things they shouldn’t. For example, some get into the trash, while others have a knack for escaping the yard. Be prescient of these possibilities beforehand so you can set up your home to prevent them. You’ll also need to make adjustments as you learn more about your dog’s quirks and bad habits.

Give Him A Tour

When your dog first arrives at your home, you should give him a tour. This will help him get acclimated to the place so that it won’t feel so scary and overwhelming. This tour should include exploring the yard, but keep him on a leash to prevent him from running off. If he doesn’t want to tour the house right away, then wait a few hours or a day or two until he feels more comfortable. Don’t force him to do anything if he isn’t ready.

Set Up A Safe Space

Every dog needs a safe space to go when he feels scared or overwhelmed. This safe space could be his bed, a cage, or some other area where he can relax. A safe space for your pup is the key to him acclimating and feeling at home.

Establish A Routine

You need to establish your dog’s food, sleep, and potty routines right away, so he knows what to expect. Otherwise, he will get hungry at random times and may not settle down quickly when it’s time for bed. Creating this routine right away will make life easier for everyone involved.

Furthermore, refrain from taking too much time off from work when getting a new dog. Taking an extended vacation can lead to your dog expecting you to be home all the time. If you don’t work remotely, your dog may develop separation anxiety when you return to work. Therefore, don’t plan to take more than a few days off to bond with your dog so he can get used to your schedule.

Start Vet Appointments Early

You should take your dog to his first vet appointment within a few weeks of adoption. This first vet appointment is essential to ensure that he has all his vaccinations and is in overall good health. Moreover, an early appointment helps you and your dog develop a positive relationship with the vet. With an early introduction, he can become friends with the vet right away and look forward to future appointments.

Start Training Immediately

Though you may be tempted to give your dog a few days or weeks to get acclimated before training, you should start training him immediately. This way, your dog learns the rules of the house right away instead of thinking he can slack off. For example, if you plan on crate training your dog, you should introduce him to the crate on the first day. You should also start house training him as soon as possible as this will make your life much easier.

If you decide to bring a trainer into the mix, make sure they focus on positive enrichment and reinforcement. Dog training should never be aggressive or result in abusing the animal. Therefore, take some time to find a good trainer who understands this and will treat your dog right.

Switch Over To New Food Slowly

If you decide to change your dog’s food from the brand their previous owner/shelter used, make sure to make this change slowly. Dog food brands are not all made the same, so transitioning to a new diet can cause your dog some digestive upset. Start by mixing a small portion of the new food with the old food and gradually increase the amount over time. You should also discuss any diet changes with your vet, as they will be able to give you more personalized recommendations and tips.

Provide Plenty Of Toys

After food and a good bed, toys are essential for your dog to feel happy and safe in your home. Playing with a toy can help your dog relax his nerves and acclimate to the new environment. A great variety of toys also helps him associate this new home with fun and happiness, which is essential if he is ever to feel at home there.

Introduce Him To Friends And Family Slowly

Even in the best scenarios, moving into a new home is overwhelming for a newly adopted dog. Though it may be tempting to invite all your friends and extended family over at this time, you should take things a bit more slowly. Wait a few days, or even weeks, until your dog has gotten used to his new home and family before introducing him to anyone new. When you do introduce him to other people, only introduce one or two people at a time. Don’t invite a large group over, as this will easily overwhelm your pup.

Be Patient

And, of course, patience is required for every step of this process. The adoption process is just as overwhelming for dogs as it is for people, if not more. A new dog has to adjust to new people, a new setting, new smells, and a whole new way of life. Therefore, he may not act as you want him to or adjust as fast as you would like. But it is important to be patient and let him acclimate at his own speed. Getting angry will only hurt your bond, so stay calm and show him lots of affection every step of the way.

Final Thoughts

Few family events are as exciting as getting a new dog. However, dogs take a lot of work, and there is always a bit of an adjustment period when adding a new family member. By following the 10 tips above, you’ll experience a smoother transition and be one big happy family before you know it.

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