Bringing a new dog home involves more than puppy proofing your living space and backyard. You’ve got to adjust to a new schedule, for example, purchase important accessories, and discuss the new responsibilities with the rest of the family as well. Here’s how to get organized.
The source from which you get a new dog will determine what you do and when you do it. Consider getting a dog from a breeder for example. Getting a dog from a breeder gives you plenty of time to prepare. A waiting list or the lengthy approval process gives you ample time to puppy-proof the home and go shopping well before you’re even permitted to bring the dog home. Getting a dog from a shelter, however, can be a little hectic since quite often, you’ll bring a dog home the same day that you go looking for one! If you plan to house a sheltered dog, it’s therefore always best to prepare for it before inquiring about one. You won’t be able to fully prepare for everything with a sheltered dog (its size, its food requirements, etc.), but you can at least set up the basics like a sturdy fence, gates, and general home repairs. Just don’t get anything that depends on a dog’s age or size until you’re 100% sure of the type of dog you’ll bring home.
In addition to influencing the way you prepare your home, the source from which you get a new dog will also influence when the dog will see a vet. We recommend that you take a sheltered dog to a vet immediately. In some circumstances, a shelter may not even allow you to take a dog home before it has been spayed or neutered. If you are allowed to take an unaltered dog with you, have it spayed or neutered before it turns six months old.
To help your dog adjust to its new environment, routine, and your family’s lifestyle, see if you can give it a week of undivided attention. The first week is a critical period in which the dog can learn what’s appropriate and what isn’t, and if you have to work, it’s going to feel like the longest week that you’ve ever encountered. Remain committed and your dog will eventually accept you as the master to follow. After a week has passed, return to your regular schedule, but try to visit the dog during your lunch hour so that it doesn’t feel abandoned. If you’re unable to break free, see if a neighbor, friend, or relative can check on your dog for you.
In the event that you can’t take a week off from work, try to get your dog on a Friday. This will give you at least three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) to acclimate your dog to your home.
Here’s a brief list of new dog must-haves. Some of these items can be purchased before you bring her home. Others shouldn’t be purchased until you’re sure of the dog’s size, weight, height, or even breed.
- Puppy pads
- Urine cleaner and disinfectant
- Food and water bowls
- Age-appropriate dog food
- Leash and collar
- Grooming supplies
- Baby gate(s)
Here, you’ll want to assign revolving chores and decide where the dog will sleep, eat, and play. You’ll also want to discuss how the dog will be trained. It’s much easier if everyone agrees on the same training methods since individual approaches will only confuse the dog and prolong the training process.