Your New Dog: What to Expect the First Week

Are you planning on adopting a dog or puppy? Congratulations on your new future family member! TCPR is committed to helping our adopters acclimate their new dogs to their furever homes. Here are some important things to know before bringing your new dog or puppy home!

The First Day:

Prepare Your Home

  • Make sure you have an appropriate-sized crate, food bowls, high quality dog food (see adoption agreement for some suggested brands), and a few toys.
  • We recommend all of our dogs be crate trained in their new home.
  • Preparing Your Home for a New Pet is a thorough guide to all the things you may need with setup recommendations from the ASPCA. 

I Have Cats

I Have Another Dog

Your First Night

You may not get a lot of sleep!  It’s okay though; it won’t be like this forever.  

  • An hour before you go to bed, consider putting any water away help your new dog maintains an empty bladder overnight.
  • Make sure your new dog goes to the bathroom before bedtime.  Be patient.  Puppies will need to get up again in the evening depending on their age.
  • Consider keeping your new dog kenneled in your bedroom, at least initially. They will be nervous and it may help them sleep if they can see you.  They will bark.  Some dogs bark for a short time, others will amaze you at their ability to bark through the night.  Purchase ear plugs and take deep breaths.  They are scared and don’t know where they are yet.
  • Keeping your new dog in his or her crate will save you a ton of stress and worry over potty training, destruction in your home, or unapproved interactions with resident pets. It is also much safer for your dog to be in their crate where they can’t get into anything that may harm them.
  • Don’t give in – your dog needs structure more than ever right now.  Spoiling your new dog with love at night needs to come later in the relationship. For now, they need structure so they can learn the rules and schedules of their new home.

The First Week:

Prepare for a Slow Adjustment Period

It usually takes about two weeks for a new dog to adjust to a new environment. It can take a couple months for dogs to completely acclimate to their new home.

  • Keep them on a leash for a week or two so you can keep any eye on them and redirect whenever necessary.
  • Never leave them to be alone unless they are kenneled. This is for their safety!
  • Allow them to have free-roam of only a few rooms at a time until they learn the rules. This is especially important for puppies and young dogs. Baby gates are a great way to manage space.
  • Enjoy getting to know your new dog a little more each day. Play games and work on figuring out their likes and dislikes. Don’t forget to spend lots of time relaxing with petting and snuggling.
  • Consider taking an obedience class to help you bond with your new dog and build a strong, trusting relationship with them. Even if you’ve had lots of experience with dogs, obedience classes are still highly encouraged. Every dog is unique and your new dog may require different training techniques than what you’ve used before.