Puppy proof your home Even if you bring home an older dog, they are still curious creatures! Keep an eye out for potential dangers: electrical cords, poisonous houseplants, and other small items that could be swallowed.
Grab your gear New dog owners should be prepared with the essentials when bringing a new furry family member home: food, treats, a cozy bed, toys, a leash and collar, poop bags, and grooming supplies.
Go to the vet Ask around to find a trustworthy vet in the area. Making sure your pup is healthy and up to date on shots is important! Not only do you want to find a reputable vet, but be sure to locate a 24 hour vet hospital to bring your dog to in case of emergency.
Microchip and register If your city or town requires dogs to be registered, get this taken care of right away. Even if your city does not require a license, it’s a good idea to get your pup microchipped and also provide the dog’s name, your name and your contact information on your dog’s collar. If your pet is lost or stolen, microchipping will ensure his or her safe return. Collars can come off, but microchips are there to stay.
Clear your calendar Avoiding extended days away from your new family member is important to creating consistency that dogs need. Having your new dog stay with someone else during the first few months could interrupt bonding time, especially for rescue pups, and being around them will help them get used to their new life and their new home.
Reach out to puppy parents Having a new dog can be overwhelming! Keeping in contact with other puppy parents for assistance and support is crucial to saying calm through this often difficult process. Some reassurance and a confidence boost is always comforting--and new puppy friends are great, too!
Find a puppy class Even if your dog is a rescue and somewhat trained, it’s still a good idea to go back to basics and enroll in a training class. Your dog will get socialized, learn basic commands, and become much easier to handle.
Set some rules It can be tempting when you bring home a new dog to be a little lax on the rules, but resist the temptation now so you can avoid problems later on. It’s much easier to prevent a bad habit from starting than it is to break one.
...And expect those rules to be broken It’s easy to get frustrated when you feel like your new pup should understand quickly, but he still doesn’t. It can take 30-50 or more perfect repetitions before a dog truly gets a command.
Introduce new dogs outside This one is for those of you who already have a dog or cat in your family: If you have another pet at home, let your pet(s) meet the new dog before he comes into the house, if possible. Take the dogs on a walk together so they begin to feel like a pack and start to bond without feeling territorial.