So you have taken the plunge and adopted a dog of your own. Congratulations!! But what do you do now? No doubt you’re excited and looking forward to a lifelong friendship with your new buddy. Try to keep in mind the confusion he’s feeling right now. Whatever his past history, coming home with you is a new and frightening experience. He is likely to be a little disoriented, wondering where he is and who all these people are.

The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being very patient. It can take anywhere from two days to three months for you and your pet to adjust to each other.

The following tips can help ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Prepare and provide an area that he can call his own, preferably with a tile floor for an easy clean up of any accidents that he may have. If using a crate, place the crate in an area of the house that is occupied most of the time. Not in a back bedroom or laundry room
  2. Limit his access to the entire house. Limiting him to one or two rooms will help reinforce his housebreaking. Only allow him out of these areas with supervision or when you are sure hi is fully housebroken.
  3. Respect his space. Allow him time to learn to trust you. It will come in time, some longer than others, but always in time. Don’t constantly be on top of him. Allow him to explore and adjust to his new environment at his own pace until he feels comfortable.
  4. When you first bring him home, bring him right out to his “area” to go to the bathroom. Give him a lot of praise if he goes. He will probably sniff around a lot so be patient with him. He’s just getting the scents of your yard. 
  5. Give him at least a couple of days to adjust before you bring all your friends and family over to meet the new member of your family. He has enough to adjust to with his new home, family, etc. Within a few days he will have calmed down and become more relaxed.
  6. He is probably going to have accidents. There is no guarantee he won’t. Be patient. DO NOT scold him, just clean it up and go on with your day. When you have a dog, there is always a chance he will have an accident. By limiting his access to the rooms of the house, you are decreasing his chance of having one.
  7. After he gets more comfortable and relaxed, start socializing him. Take him out of the house, walk him around the block, take him to the bus stop, take him to stores and walk him around outside. By getting him used to strangers and other animals, you will a more relaxed pet.
  8. Make sure he is getting enough exercise. At least 30 minutes per day. Play ball, go for a long walk, play hide and seek. Interact with him. Don’t just put him outside by himself. Most dogs when left outside on their own become mischievous and destructive. They can dig holes in the yard, dig under the fence or jump over the fence and sometimes just chew things in the yard.