Getting to Know Your New Dog - Part 1

August 2019

Audience: Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers

Becoming a member of a new family, moving to a new home, and making new friends can be an exciting and memorable time for your dog, but it can also be stressful. Help your dog to adjust by creating a consistent and stable environment. Here are some tips to help ease the transition.

Do's

  • Fit your new dog's collar or harness snugly so they won't be able to pull out of it if scared.
  • Keep your new dog on a leash when outside of the home. New dogs are at higher risk of running away. To prevent this, keep your dog leashed while in unfenced spaces.
  • Encourage them go to the bathroom before entering the house. Some dogs need a short walk before relieving themselves. More information about housetraining
  • If you have other pets in your home, give the new dog a few hours to get accustomed to the home by themselves. Then introduce your new dog to your other pets by following the recommendations for; cats, pocket pets and birds or a resident dog.
  • Close doors or use gates to block spaces you can't closely supervise.
  • Introduce new people one at a time. For the first few days, only have your dog meet immediate family or housemates. If all goes well, move on to friends, neighbors and others. Let your dog approach people at their own pace. Give people treats to offer your dog. More information about introductions to people
  • Focus on low-key activities for the first week or so. Take your new dog on walks around quiet neighborhoods at low traffic hours. Adjust the length of walks to your dog's energy level - energetic dogs will need longer walks than mellow dogs.
  • Learn how to read and respond to your dog's body language, to help them better adjust to new situations.

Don'ts

  • Don't let anyone crowd or lean over your dog.
  • Don't host a welcome party for your new dog with all of your family and friends right after you bring them home. It could be overwhelming. Some dogs are introverts, like us.
  • Don't leave your new dog unsupervised around children, new people or other pets. People can be "rude" even without meaning it, and our dogs count on us to keep them safe.

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