7 Things to Do Before Adopting a Dog

Bringing a puppy or dog home is exciting, but you may be surprised to learn that you will need some preparation to welcome your new furry friend into your home. It is easy to be overwhelmed, especially if you are a first-timer. But do not panic, because here are seven things to keep in mind before welcoming your new best friend.

Make a List of Everything You Need

Before you pick him up, make a list of everything you will need to keep him safe and comfortable. You will need to stock up on a few basic dog supplies ahead of time, so you do not have to hurry to the shop. In addition to food and water bowls, you will need a dog bed, some toys, and grooming supplies. It is also a good idea to get training pads and an enzymatic cleaner, which will come in handy during the early stages of house training.

A leash or collar with an ID tag with your phone number is highly recommended for extra protection. If the dog escapes or wanders, the tag ID will surely come in helpful because the dog will most likely not find its way back to your home. Install a few security cameras on the outside of your house as well if you have extra budgets, so that you can keep an eye on the dog while you are away. Also, bring the tag ID with you when you pick him up.

Arrange Your Home

In addition to all the goods, you will need to arrange your living space. Look around the house to see if any parts of the house are harmful to your pet. Ensure there is enough room for the dog’s bed, food and water bowls, and toy. Also, ask if you can bring anything from the shelter or foster home, such as a blanket or toy to make the dog feels comfortable inside the house. Consider installing a dog door so they have free access to use the bathroom when they please.

If you plan to crate train the dog, make sure the crate is ready as well. If not, a pet fence would be enough to create a separate space for the dog. Other than that, you must prepare the family. Decide who will be in charge of training, feeding, and walking. Establish age-appropriate guidelines for your children. For instance, teach your kids not to chase the dog, pull on its tail or ears, or play with its toys. Teaching them these basic rules will help them avoid bites and nips.

Take Him Around the House

Once you pick up the dog, keep him on a leash and bring him straight home without any interruptions. Let your furry friend explore and sniff everything inside. Show your pet his place and use short but firm orders such as “stand up” or “sit down” to let him know what is off-limits. Keep in mind that adopted dogs require more time to become familiar with the new environment. They might even behave differently in your home than they did in the shelter or foster home.

Therefore, it is important to discuss the do’s and don’ts with shelter staff or foster parents so you can better understand the dog. Do not expect him to reveal his true nature right away because it can take weeks, if not months. It is essential to be consistent, but patience is also necessary. What matters at this point is that the dog receives sufficient attention, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Introduce the New Family

While it may take some time for your dog to adjust to his new surroundings, there is no excuse not to spend some time bonding with him. Begin feeding, walking, and playing with your dog every day. Try to connect and reward him with treats if he performs what you ask. You should also use a gentle, soft voice when interacting with him. If possible, avoid kissing or hugging the dog first, no matter how adorable he is.

If you have children, try to introduce them to the dog before bringing it home, so the dog can recognize their scent. If you are aggressive with him, it may cause him to exhibit territorial behavior. Territorial aggressive behavior can include growling and barking, as well as biting and chasing. Of course, spending quality time with a pet is great, but a dog also needs some time alone. Give your dog some space, so that he can absorb everything he does during the day.

Start Training

Another ‘to-do’ list when picking up the dog is training. It is ideal to begin as soon as your furry friend arrives home, but it is far preferable to start slowly. If you have not heard, many shelter and rescue dogs have been trained, but there might be some hiccups in the first few weeks. In any case, you are not losing anything by training them again.

To start, teach simple commands and allow the dog to walk off-leash. Let him explore his surroundings before moving on to tricks and, finally, advanced training. Adopting a dog is a huge responsibility; therefore, it is critical always to have a positive attitude. Do not be frustrated if your dog does not understand what you say because each dog has their own pace. Just make sure you set up the ground rules from the beginning, and you will get there.

Slowly Change His Diet

It is crucial to consult with the dog’s previous owner about the type of food the dog eats. Explore with similar ingredients if you cannot find the same dog food. When you have the dog around, make sure you have enough food for at least the first few weeks. Give it at least a week before introducing the new diet to avoid digestive difficulties. 

Combining your dog’s current food with his new diet to make the transition easier. Over seven days, gradually reduce the amount of current dog food while increasing the amount of new dog food. Feeding him new food right away may cause him to experience stomach upset and diarrhea. If your veterinarian has prescribed a dog food for a specific health concern, inform the doctor of any changes that take place. There may be some adjustments and suggestions to make it effective.

Set an Appointment with the Vet

Finally, make an appointment with the veterinarian before bringing the dog home. When the time comes, simply take your pet, and let the vet do the rest. This process is critical so that if your pet becomes ill, they know what to do next and can recommend you on what to do. Moreover, you will learn about his previous medical history and whether he has had any vaccines to keep them healthy. You will also be happier and more dedicated to making sure your dog is comfortable in his new home.