I Just Adopted a New a New Dog. What Should I Do First?

Congratulations! This can be an exciting, albeit overwhelming time for both you and your new dog. The first bit of advice we like to give new dog owners is to go slow. There is no reason to allow your dog to have access to everything in your home, be best friends with all your current pets/neighbors/friends, go to the dog park, etc. within the first hour or two of arrival.

Newly adoptive dogs will go through a 2-3 week “honeymoon period” where they are just trying to figure things and may be showing you their house guest” side.

Most phone calls we receive happens after the honeymoon is over and what we find is the new dog has been given a lot of freedom in the home and privileges (e.g. overwhelming amount of affection, free fed, etc.). This amounts to very little structure and leadership and the pup is showing a mountain of bratty behaviors (jumping, barking, pulling on a leash, destruction in the home, etc.).

The kindest thing you can do for your new dog is to set the tone and create a schedule right away as most behavior problems arise because there is lack of it. Structure is the clock the dog lives by.

Structure includes:

  • Crating: Crate your dog for 1-3 hours when you are home, so they get a sense that crating isn’t an “event” like when you leave, but can happen at any time.
  • Feeding: Use their daily ration of kibble to train behaviors such as “down”. Have your new dog sit and “wait” before eating out of a bowl.
  • Walking: Teaching a structured heel (dogs head at or behind your knee) allows you to advocate for the dog and teaches self control.
  • Doorways: Asking your dog to sit and “wait” before going through thresholds including the crate door.

​These are a few things you can do right away! We, of course, are here to help you build a great relationship with your new dog based on fairness and clarity. Contact us with questions or check out our upcoming class schedule for further training.

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