Bringing a new dog home is exciting! Often we are so excited that we do too much too fast, without giving the new pup time to settle in. No matter where you got your dog, going to a new home is incredibly stressful for them. They are in a new environment with new people, and are likely not quite themselves yet.
Here are some tips to help make the transition easier on your dog and set them up for success:
1. Keep it low-key.
Let them explore their new home at their pace, never force them to interact with something or someone they are unsure of. Keep everything fun and easy.
2. Reinforce going potty outside with a yummy treat and supervise while inside.
Previously house-trained dogs may regress and have accidents in their new home. You may need to go back to house-training 101.
3. Be patient and go slow.
Some dogs will be unsure with all this change, and may shy away from you at first. It may take a while for them to feel safe and secure in their new home and with you. How long this takes will be different for every dog.
4. No big events.
It may be tempting, but no trips to the dog park, doggie events, or big public gatherings in the first month or so that your new dog is home. They already have enough stress trying to settle into their new life and new routine. As they settle in you will begin to see who they really are… what they are scared of, what they love, and what needs some work.
5. Keep your interactions fun, friendly and reinforcing.
Play a lot, explore the neighborhood on your walks, and try not to have a strict timeline in mind for your goals. Every dog is an individual and will acclimate at their own pace.
6. Enjoy your new family member!
Try to be patient with them when they make a mistake, and teach them what behaviors you like early on by reinforcing the behaviors with food, play, or whatever motivates them.