Bringing a new dog home is an exciting experience for both you and the animal. While it can be tempting to rush and integrate the dog as quickly as possible, taking things more slowly and being careful is important. There will be anxiety on both sides, but preparation is key for getting the first few days right.
#1 Buy everything you need in advance
It’s natural that you’ll want to spend as much time with your new pet as possible. New homes are unfamiliar territory for dogs, and leaving them alone when they’ve just moved in is extremely stressful. That stress can, in turn, lead to excessive chewing, destructive behavior, and, if you leave them in a garden, digging or even tunneling under fences to escape. As such, it’s vitally important that you take a few days off work and devote your time to getting your dog settled in.
That, of course, means buying supplies in advance. A dog bed, food, a lead, and a collar are all essentials, but you’ll want toys and treats too. Buying supplies can be daunting if you’re a first-time owner, but dedicated pet search tools like Exceptional Pets make the process easier. They list everything you need in one place (including vets, grooming services, and more) so that you can easily track down services in advance of the pet coming home.
#2 Dog proof your home
No matter how safe you think your home is, dogs will find a way to cause trouble! That can involve chewing on wires, injuring themselves on sharp edges, or dislodging low-lying ornaments. Before you bring the dog home, undertake a quick survey of your living space. Look for exposed wires that could be chewed through and sharp edges that might injure the dog if it’s running. Dangerous chemicals like bleach should be moved to a high place or locked away.
The same applies to ornaments. A wagging tail is always a happy sight, but it can be (accidentally) destructive. Tails will sweep ornaments off coffee tables and even low shelves, so beware and move items accordingly. If there are some rooms that simply aren’t suitable for a dog, be sure to install a child gate to keep that area out of bounds.
#3 Give the dog some space
Dogs are people-orientated animals, but they also need space and time to get accustomed to a new environment. Dedicating a specific space to your dog is extremely important in the early days. It gives them somewhere to retreat to if they’re feeling stressed and a territory that is clearly identifiable as their own. A dog bed in a secluded corner is sometimes enough; other owners swear by crates. In the end, it comes down to the preferences of both you and the dog.
It’s useful to find a space that’s accident-proof, though. Even house-trained dogs can have issues when they move to a new home. A tiled floor is much easier to clean than a carpet. A corner in a kitchen is ideal, or anywhere that doesn’t have high footfall throughout the day.