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A Step-By-Step Guide to Help a New Dog Adjust to Life With You

Here are the essential things to know and prepare before bringing home a new pup

Newsweek AMPLIFY A Guide For New Dogs

Are you ready for a new pet? Dog adoption is an exceptionally rewarding experience that leaves both human and canine happier than ever. But whether you're adopting a newborn pup, a trained pooch, or an elderly canine in need of medical care, it's important to make the transition period to your home as easy, safe, and stress-free as possible for your new best bud.

Dog-Proof Your Home

The first step to getting ready for a new dog is to pet-proof the home. This is especially crucial for puppies who can wreak havoc on unsuspecting households. Be ready for a young pooch's antics and organize the rooms to minimize the potential destruction.

Keep the lower cabinets shut with child safety locks, if necessary. Items that can be dangerous to animals should be kept locked away or out of reach, including human and animal medication, chocolates, and cleaning chemicals, among others. Eager dogs often go digging in garbage cans for leftovers, so make sure that yours come with a lid or are tucked away where pets can't rummage through them. Stray cords are also often the target of puppies and should be kept out of sight.

Set up Space

Before even bringing a pooch home, set aside a cozy corner of the house for your new buddy. Many dogs appreciate having a safe spot to retreat to when they want peace and quiet. It doesn't have to be a room or an expansive playpen. A pup's space can be as simple as a corner of the living room or a plush dog bed in the study, as long as it is a place for them to stay snug and unbothered.

It's also important to place many of the canine essentials here, like a comfortable dog bed, water, and a few toys. Not only does putting it in one place avoid cluttering the rest of the house, but it will also let your dog know that this is where he can find his favorite things.

Take a Tour of the House

Newsweek AMPLIFY A Guide For New Dogs

Upon getting home with your new dog in tow, the first thing any pet parent should do is to take the dog to the backyard to relieve himself, if necessary. At this point, a puppy may not be housetrained and even well-behaved dogs can pee in excitement or nerves from the new environment. If a dog seems to be too wound up, take him for a quick walk to burn excess energy and get him more acquainted with surrounding areas.

After letting the canine go to the bathroom outside, take him on a tour around the house on a lead. While it's good to let pups sniff and explore each room, keep him leashed at your side and supervise the process the entire time. At the end of the house tour, take the newly adopted dog to their very own safe space where they can drink water, enjoy a treat or two, play with new toys, and finally relax in their new sanctuary.

Introduce the Dog to the Fam

Don't overwhelm a newly adopted dog with the entire household crowding them within minutes of walking through the front door. It's impossible not to be excited with the arrival of a new pet, but for now, the most important thing to do is to avoid overwhelming the pup. Introduce each family member slowly and calmly. When there are children, maintain close supervision and help them practice gentle behavior on stuffed animals prior to the new dog's arrival.

Other dogs in the household should also be introduced to their new "pack member" one at a time in a neutral area like a park. Supervision of the doggy relationships may also be necessary in case dominance and territorial issues arise in the first few months.

Give the Dog Time to Adjust

When you adopt a dog, it's important to keep in mind that bonding may take some time. A strong bond between human and pooch is built over time, not instant—and even good dog behavior takes a while to develop. Let your dog adjust to his brand new home at his own pace, from getting to know the family to exploring the different parts of the house.

Getting to a new environment and a new family may be a stressful time, so don't force him into too many activities. Avoid additional stressors, such as baths, haircuts, and nail trimming. Hugs can also be irksome for some dogs, so wait until you get to know your new pet a little better before cuddling. Watch out for stomach and other medical issues that can occur as a dog adjusts to new food and new surroundings.

Establish a Routine

Newsweek AMPLIFY A Guide For New Dogs

One of the most crucial aspects of dog adoption is building a routine that takes your pet into account. For households who already have pets, it may be as simple as incorporating the new arrival into the fold. For rookie pet owners, this can be a big adjustment—and not a bad one!

A daily routine should include a fixed time for feeding, walks, and going to bed, as well as regular potty breaks and playtime. While new pet owners may be tempted to spend the first few weeks next to their dog 24/7, it's best to adopt the routine immediately, so Scooby can get comfortable with it as soon as possible. Dogs are creatures of habit and knowing what to expect (and when) will help them feel more relaxed at home.

Be Ready for House Training

House training is another essential part of a pet owner's life after you adopt a dog. Most people want their pups to relieve themselves outside, but this habit takes patience and time. Dogs need to be taken to go on bathroom breaks regularly to prevent them from peeing inside the house. Puppies typically need bathroom breaks every two to three hours, while adult dogs usually need to go around three to five times a day.

At the beginning, reward your dog with each successful "potty" in the yard to encourage good behavior. Praising, petting, or giving them a treat are some of the things that count as positive reinforcement.

Take a Trip to the Vet

Finally, visiting the vet is advised within a few weeks of dog adoption. It's not just to spay, neuter, and get complete vaccinations, but getting to know the vet and keeping Fido's records up-to-date ensures that you have someone to turn to if health issues occur.

It's easy to rack up veterinary bills, so it's also important to prepare ahead for rainy days. A reliable veterinary plan or pet insurance is recommended. Pet Assure offers pet owners discounts on all medical services, including but not limited to routine check-ups, vaccinations, cancer care, spays and neuters, and surgical procedures.

Make pet care more affordable for you and ensure you never skip your beloved pets' medical needs with Pet Assure.

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