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Top Tips for Bringing Home a New Dog – Dealing With the Crucial First 2 Weeks

It may be a little ruff in the beginning, but your new best bud will soon feel right at home

Newsweek AMPLIFY Tips Bringing Home New Dog

The first two weeks are an important time in your life with a new dog. Not only is it Rover's first days at home, but it's also the start of a lifelong friendship for both of you. Experts often refer to it as the "Two-Week Shutdown," an adjustment period when you and your new pooch figure out how to navigate your new life together.

When you get a new pet, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of gaining a furry friend. A lot of people jump into the experience ready for action: introducing their new dog to family, friends, and neighbors, going on long walks to the park, and setting up playdates with other pet owners.

But these are probably the last things that your new dog wants (or needs) to do!

Put yourself in your four-legged friend's shoes. Suddenly, a new person comes along to take you for a strange car ride to an unfamiliar place where everything you've ever known is gone. Even if you've met your adopted pup a few times prior to taking them home, it's still an overwhelming situation for a young or adult canine.

Keep in mind that you're still a stranger to this little pup. To build trust, you need a little patience—and to avoid putting pets in uncomfortable situations. So, set aside your big plans for now.

During the Two-Week Shutdown, focus on establishing a safe haven for the new pup in your life. Keep things simple with just you, your dog, and all the essentials you can find at Chewy. Here are a few tips on navigating this "shutdown" period, so you can start life with your new dog on the right paw!

Prepare Early

Newsweek AMPLIFY Tips Bringing Home New Dog

Before even taking your new pup home, make sure you have everything dogs need to feel comfortable. Some of the essentials are straightforward, such as dog food, leash and harness, crate, bed, treats, and a few toys. Others require a bit of foresight, including odor and stain removers as well as anti-chew sprays. Grooming supplies like pet shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, and dog brushes are also important.

The most important thing is to avoid procrastinating. You do not want to drop by any old pet shop on the way home with your newly adopted dog in tow as the detour could make him even more confused and stressed.

To ensure the easiest and most complete shopping experience, order online at Chewy. Chewy, one of the most trusted and convenient online destinations for pet parents, is a one-stop-shop and when it comes to quality dog supplies, food, toys, crates, cleaners, medicine, and even costumes.

It's also important to "dog-proof" your home before your new pooch arrives to avoid the chaos when the zoomies hit. Keep your home and dog safe by stowing away harmful items like medication, chocolates, and chemicals. Make sure stray cords are hidden out of sight, as these are often the target of teething puppies.

Plan a Stress-Free Day 1

Remember how scary it was to start in a brand new school? That's probably how your dog feels right now. Try to minimize stress with a chill first day at home. If you smother her with cuddling or bombard her too much with new faces, it might only make your pup more scared of you than she already is!

After getting to the house, the first thing you should do is to go to the yard in case your pooch needs to go to the bathroom before going inside. A young pup may not be toilet trained yet and even if she is, the anxiety and excitement of being in a strange new place may cause her to lose control.

After letting your dog relieve herself outside, take a tour of the house with a leash and harness. Let your new companion sniff and explore the rooms, while maintaining a calm and steady presence beside her. At the end of the tour, give your pup a treat and let her rest. Find a safe corner of the house for her "den" (or crate).

Commit to a Routine

Newsweek AMPLIFY Tips Bringing Home New Dog

Beyond the first 24 hours, it's important to establish a daily routine. Dogs are creatures of habit. While it may take a few days to get him used to a schedule, your new pup will be much more comfortable and confident at home once he knows what to expect from you—and what you expect from him.

A good routine consists of fixed times for meals, walks, playtime, rest, and bathroom breaks in the yard. Puppies eat three times a day, while adult canines typically get meals in the morning and evening. Most pooches also need to relieve themselves right after eating.

Exercise, whether it consists of walks or playtime indoors, depends on your dog's breed and personality. Hyperactive dogs tend to crave physical activities more, while others only need half an hour of movement daily for exercise.

Limit Exposure to Other People, Pets

Hey, it's understandable to want to show off your new pet to everyone you know! But while socialization is important, the first few weeks are all about you and your dog—others can enter the picture later.

Instead of taking long walks to the park or around the block, limit walks to the garden or backyard for the first two weeks to avoid overwhelming your new dog with too much stimulation. This not only gives your dog the opportunity to practice with the leash and harness, but it also lets her get a taste of the sights, sounds, and scents outdoors.

Eventually, you can slowly introduce your pet to the greater world outside.

Keep Training Simple and Pleasant

Newsweek AMPLIFY Tips Bringing Home New Dog

Crate training is extremely helpful in house training a dog, but it also provides your beloved pooch a safe and cozy sanctuary where he can take refuge any time he wants. Dogs are naturally den creatures, after all.

To make sure your dog's den is a pleasant place for him, make sure that training is as non-stressful as possible. First, never use the crate as a punishment or force him to enter. Instead, coax your pup in the open crate with treats or his favorite toy. Feed him meals inside the crate for the positive association, then leave him inside for longer and longer periods of time as he gets used to it.

Remember that a dog shouldn't be left inside a crate for too long. A pooch who spends more than six to eight hours inside a crate at a time may become depressed or destructive with poor physical and mental health. Puppies with little control of their bladder need to be let out at least every three to four hours.

Instead, let the crate be your dog's place of sanctuary and enjoy spending time with him the rest of the day! The first two weeks are all about giving your new companion time, space, and opportunity to relax in your company—and it's puppy love from here on out!

Find everything you need to make your dog feel at home at Chewy and enjoy great deals daily on all pet essentials.

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