The First Few Days Can Be Ruff

Adding a dog to your family or life is a fun-filled occasion that can also raise a lot of questions if you’re a first-time dog owner. Here are a few helpful suggestions to make getting to know your new pup easier, and to explain what to expect the first week or so as they explore their new home.

Welcome Home:

  • Set up a dedicated space that includes their bed, crate, and food and water bowls.
  • Doggy-proof your home by picking up small objects like shoes, and check for toxic plants inside and outside the house. Oleanders are lethal for almost all species of pets and livestock.
  • Ask the rescue what brand of dog food your pup has been eating and try to stick with that for a few weeks.  You can gradually introduce a new brand once your pup gets settled.
  • Ask about any health concerns the rescue might have. If you suspect any medical issues, see your vet right away. We recommend visiting your vet for a general exam within 1 to 2 weeks of bringing your dog home, regardless of their age.

The First Week Or Two

  • Dogs can quickly become insecure in a new house. Get them used to their crate in short bursts of time and understand they will whine, bark and possibly bite their pen when left alone. Start short and work up to longer periods of time in their crate.
  • If you decide not to crate train, baby gates are handy and inexpensive ways to keep your pup from wandering into rooms you deem off-limits, or to keep them contained in rooms of their own for short periods of time.
  • Accidents happen. While you can take your new pet out every hour or so to do their business, they’ll still have occasional accidents. Use an enzyme cleaner to completely eliminate smells and discourage repeat offenses.
  • Your dog might have a change in appetite or bathroom habits.  if these last more than 3 days, see your vet. Worms or internal parasites might be at work, but can be easily eliminated with the proper treatment.
  • Take your time introducing the new dog to other pets and family members. They’re all going to be a little anxious and there’s no hurry to make friends – your dog will be with you for years, so a few additional days getting into a routine will help make introductions to other pets and small children much smoother.
  • Keep an eye out when things get quiet. Hopefully, Fido is just napping after chasing balls and playing but if you haven’t seen your pup for awhile, they could be into mischief.  Use gentle correction to let them know what they shouldn’t be into. Things like litter boxes and throw pillows seem to be natural attractions for some dogs. Have acceptable options handy to divert their attention.
  • Don’t take the newbie out in public – without a complete series of vaccinations, puppies can pick up parvo and other serious diseases from public spaces very easily. Even adult dogs should have their boosters to ensure they stay disease-resistant.  When in doubt, ask the rescue if they have the dog’s vaccination record or talk to your vet about getting boosters done.
  • Watch out for chewing and have good canine-specific options ready. There are lots of inexpensive dog toys out there perfect to ease teething and anxiety in your dog.  Don’t wait until they’ve developed a bad habit before giving them acceptable chewing options.
    • We don’t recommend rawhide or pig ears for dogs under a year old or considered senior. These materials can be tough on teeth and harder for very young or very old dogs to digest without gastrointestinal upset. And nobody wants that!
  • Love. Play. Love.  Gentle discipline. Love. Play. Love.