Updated: Apr 7
We have put together some suggestions that we think will help settle your new dog into your lives.
When you’re bringing home a new dog, there’s the 3-3-3 rule.
The first 3 days is almost a “detox period” where they get used to their surroundings and living with new people. They’re figuring things out and may not be fully comfortable being themselves. It can really overwhelming!
The first 3 weeks are where they start to settle in and feel more comfortable. Here’s where they start getting into a routine, let their guard down a little and show their personality! After 3 months, they’ll finally be comfortable in their new home and will have gained a new trust with their family.
This is quite general (as all dogs are different), but it's a good timeline to go off of when introducing a new dog to your home. Some take longer, and some get comfortable more quickly! So long as you try to make the transition as relaxing and stress-free as possible, after a few months, you’ll have a happy new member of your family!
You just bring them home, and they settle in???? That would be so amazing … but it is not likely.
Here are some tips to help your new dog settle in
You have finally found for the right adult dog to become a member of your family.
It is very important to recognize that, although you and you family have had a chance to think about this , your new dog has no idea that an unknown family, strange household, and different expectations are about to become his new reality.
Your new dog will need a few months to develop trust and feel comfortable..
What is your family like? Some dogs don’t like children, and some think small animals to be prey.
What do you want a dog for? If you’re a runner, you want an athletic dog.
Is your house safe for a new dog? Even older dogs get into cleaning products, human foods that are bad for them, kids’ toys, or poisonous plants.
Look into getting pet insurance. It will be very useful if you ever find yourself have to unexpectedly take your dog to the vet.
Do you have the supplies you’ll need right away?
Is your new dog coming with a bed? Toys? These things may offer comfort in a new home.
What food have they been feeding? It is important to feed the same food. Keep the dog on the same diet for at least two weeks. If you want to switch foods, do it gradually, mixing the old food with the new one.
What are the rules? Decide where you want the dog to eat and sleep, is jumping on furniture allowed ?
You won’t know how your dog will act in the car, so take someone else along.
When you pick up your dog, early in the day if possible, ask when he was fed. Feed the same food on the same schedule at first.
As soon as you get home, take the dog to the area where you want him to relieve himself – on a leash. If he does go, give him a treat and praise.
In the house, confine his space. Give him some quiet time to rest and feel secure.
Introduce the dog to household members calmly, one at a time. Wait to allow other people to visit. Supervise carefully when your dog meets children.
Start him off where you want him to be later – put his crate or dog bed in your bedroom. Put his food and water dish someplace he’ll feel safe, so you don’t stimulate guarding behavior.
Continue a daily routine. Dogs are creatures of habit, and they’re most relaxed when they know what to expect of you and what you expect of them.
Keep the dog on the same diet for at least two weeks. If you want to switch foods, do it gradually, mixing the old food with the new one.
Reinforce positive behaviors. When your new dog does something you approve of, reward with praise and treats.
Be patient with housetraining, and treat the dog the way you would a puppy – keeping an eye on him whenever he’s not confined and giving him frequent walks outside. Just because he was housetrained somewhere else doesn’t mean he understands how that works at your house.
Visit your veterinarian. The first visit should be a greet and treat to get him comfortable.
Make sure vaccines and worming are up-to-date. also check for a microchip.
keep building trust
Stay calm and patient, warm and welcoming. A dog who’s anxious and insecure in a new environment can take months to show trust and affection.
.Don’t take your dog many other places until he’s had a chance to adjust to the new surroundings. If you have to go out, leave and return calmly to prevent separation anxiety.
If the dog displays behavior issues you’re not sure how to deal with, check with an animal behaviorist.
Beware of the escapists who rush the door whenever someone enters. Keep the dog attached to you, confined, or supervised at all times.
Register your contact information with his microchip number.
What if I have other pets already?
You want to make this as stress-free as possible, so make sure you have at least a weekend free so you can supervise them.
When you’re first introducing them to a current dog, choose a neutral location (somewhere that’s not your house or backyard). You want to have an adult for each dog and to keep them on their leashes so you still have control (but not too tightly, so they don’t feel restrained).
I’d recommend having one person walk your current dog and have the other person slowly catch up to them with the new dog. Then walk together (giving the dogs room between them) until you get somewhere where they can get to know each other a bit more. If they start giving off positive vibes (wiggling, tail wagging, any friendly cues), let them off their leashes so they can interact with each other more fully.
Always look for body language that shows the dogs are uncomfortable (tail between the legs, cowering down with ears back, rigid body, etc). If any of those signs show up, separate the dogs and give them some space.
Once that’s gone well, you can bring them inside, but make sure you do it in a quick manner, so that one dog doesn’t react to the other dog entering. Make sure there’s plenty of toys, space and a separate food and water bowl for them both (I’d recommend feeding them separately at first). Then keep supervising them!
It’s really all about keeping things as calm as possible, and not changing any of the normal activities of your current dog.