So you’ve just brought home a new dog! Congratulations!
The next 30 days will be filled with moments of absolute joy and a love so strong that it crosses the species barrier. But it won’t all be fun and games. The next 30 days will also test your patience and your wallet. There may be times when you question your choice or realize that you don’t know as much about dogs as you thought. And other times when you feel as if you’ve discovered your soul mate.
One thing is for certain: The next 30 days will be a wild ride. We’re here to help make the road a little less bumpy (and more enjoyable) with our ultimate guide to the first 30 days with your new dog. Buckle up and read on!
Day 1: Settling in
No matter where your dog was yesterday—a shelter, a foster home, with their mama and littermates—they’re likely to be pretty overwhelmed on their first day with you. It’s important to strike a balance by giving your dog plenty of support while allowing them the space they may need to feel comfortable.
Don’t overly “manhandle” (or in this case, pup-handle) your dog by restraining them with hugs or holding them (unless holding them is how they feel most safe).
Let your dog come to you to solicit attention. Arm yourself with treats and puzzle toys filled with high-value goodies like peanut butter and cream cheese to make them feel like this brand new home is about as awesome as they come.
On Day 1, it’s also important to have some measures in place to prevent your dog from unintentionally forming bad habits.
This is especially important for puppies and adolescents who know less about the world and have more energy to explore than their older, wiser counterparts.
- Using a baby gate or x-pen, set up a confinement space for your dog to go to when you can’t supervise.
- Pick up or put away anything within muzzle’s reach, including shoes, remote controls, and dirty laundry.
- Provide them with a comfortable space such as a dog bed or a pile of towels so that they can relax near humans
That last point is true even if you plan to allow your dog to lounge on the couch and sleep with you!
Give your new dog space and time to make choices that make them feel safe and comfortable.