I just got a new dog... now what?
Updated: Mar 14, 2022
Congratulations! Bringing home a new dog is exciting for everyone - including your new canine companion! Your life has just changed in an intense and special way. Even happy changes like adding to your family come with an adjustment period, so here are some tips to help make this adjustment as smooth and fun as possible.
If a puppy has just come into your life, you’re likely in for a whirlwind of kisses, messes, surprises, and possibly some sleepless nights. Whether your puppy is from a breeder, shelter, or rescue, this might be the first time away from their mom and littermates. If your plan is to have your puppy contained in a crate or exercise pen at night to minimize nighttime accidents, be prepared for some crying. Making sure your puppy is fed and tired out for bed time and providing comforts such as a Heartbeat Stuffed Animal and puppy safe chew toys can be soothing and calming for your puppy. Also, unless your puppy has a place to eliminate during the night, get ready to take some early morning potty breaks for several weeks.
Speaking of potty breaks, potty training can be a stressful and messy process. While pheromone based attractant sprays can help, the true keys to success are consistency, patience, and big rewards for your puppy when they do their business where you want them to. In the meantime, you might want to invest in a supply of enzymatic cleaners and potty pads.
From training and socialization to vaccinations and choosing the foods and toys that are best for your puppy, puppy parenthood can be overwhelming. If you can do your best to set up and stick to routines, and to be grounded and present for all those adorable puppy moments, one day you’ll wake up to find your new fur baby is all grown up.
Rescued or rehomed
Maybe your new dog was previously in another home, or has just come from a shelter. Suddenly being in a new environment can be stressful for a dog. If your dog was in a shelter, expect that their stress levels are already pretty high, and they will need a few days to adjust and decompress. During the first 3 days to a week, you can help your new dog feel more at ease by providing a routine and avoiding crowded public places and dog parks. This is a time to get to know what makes your dog special, begin to develop your bond with them, and gain their trust.
If you regularly have visitors over, your dog might feel more comfortable meeting them outside the home on a short walk first. Of course, providing your visitors with tasty treats to give your dog should help them make friends too! Each dog will be different in their level of confidence, how much training they’ve had, and their temperament. Whatever challenges or surprises your dog brings up for you, working together to overcome them and seeking help if needed should result in a deeply rewarding experience of a lifetime.
The golden years
So much can be said for welcoming a senior dog into your life. The pure and steadfast love that many senior dogs bear for their people is unlike any other. Allowing your new senior a few days to settle into their new life will bring them comfort and reassurance that they are in a safe, stable place. If they have medical needs, establishing a connection with a veterinarian or other pet healthcare provider will set you up for a smoother process. While some seniors are still full of get up and go, others might be more content taking things slow and easy. Take some time to understand what works and doesn’t work for your dog, and be their advocate when interacting with other dogs or people.
Each journey we embark upon when we bring a new dog into our lives is unique and precious, and every dog brings their own kind of joy and zest for life. Just as we invite them into our homes and lives, they invite us to open our hearts, delve into unexpected lessons, and experience an unconditional love like no other.
Curious to learn more about what your new dog is thinking? Book an animal communication session here.