What to Expect When Adopting a New Dog

unspecified-13Adopting a dog can be a wonderful and challenging experience. The dog will be confused, excited, anxious, worried, fearful and/or elated. Here are a 9 tips to help you through the first month:

All Aboard!

Everyone in the family should be happy and willing to take on this new addition, complete with all his/her doggie baggage. And, there's likely to be at least a "carry-on".

Adding Another Dog

If you already have a family dog, ask if the adoption can be based on this dog getting along with your current dog...at your home. Having the dogs meet first in a neutral territory is good, but, you may get a totally different and inhospitable response at your home. Pick up all toys, chew items and food bowls before the new dog enters. You never know what will spark resource guarding between dogs.

In Transition

Treat the new dog like a guest. Give them several weeks to acclimate to your house and your habits and YOU! Try to be home as much as possible. 

You Said She Was House Trained!

Pretend you just got a puppy and take them outside where you want them to relieve themselves, every few hours. You are building a new habit. Don't assume the dog will communicate in a recognizable fashion that they "gotta go!" They might not recognize where your doors and outdoor toilets are.

“Oh, That Was Your Favorite Shoe?"

Use Good Management. Example: Tether the dog to you via a long leash or use gates to other areas of the house. Don't allow them to wander your home without you, but do allow them to explore! 

Protect the "escape artist".

You don't know anything about this dog. If there's a hole in your backyard fence, fix it. If there's a door that doesn't shut properly, fix it. Always have them on a leash or long line when you leave the house.

Write your phone number on your new dog's collar with a permanent Sharpie pen in case she escapes.

I Don't Need to Meet the Whole Neighborhood!

Keep things quiet for the first week. Don't invite several guests over and don't drag your dog around town introducing them to everyone. Give them a chance to feel secure in their new home.

I Bite When I'm Scared

Be very careful with strangers and children. You don't know for sure how comfortable this dog is with other people...no matter how friendly they are with you.

Cut Them Some Slack!

Don't dive right into a strict obedience regimen. Spend as much time as you can with your new family member, getting to know who they are and what they know. This dog has her own personality. Don't expect her to be a carbon copy of your last dog. Wait a month before you enroll in a training class. 

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Positively Expert: Laura Brody

Laura Brody is the owner of Denver's Good Family Dog, Kind, Purposeful, Force-Free Dog Training and Behavior.


One thought on “What to Expect When Adopting a New Dog

  1. LAM

    Just adopted a puppy from the humane society over the weekend. I'm happy to see that I've been doing things right!

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