How to Prepare for a New Dog and Make Them Feel at Home

How to prepare for a new dog: 5 easy steps to follow

Congratulations on choosing the perfect dog for you! Now, it is time to prepare and bring them home. And bringing a new dog into your home is a thrilling experience filled with love and joy. But, it can also be stressful and challenging if you don’t prepare for a new dog promptly and correctly.

Honestly, it takes patience and time for you and your furry friend to adapt to each other and settle into a comfortable routine. This is especially true if your new dog has lived in various shelters or homes.

To help streamline the process, we have identified five key steps for preparing for a new dog. They will help your dog adjust to their new home, feel comfortable, and build a strong bond with you.

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Table of Contents

1. Gather Supplies

Acquiring the necessary supplies is crucial in preparing for a new dog. It helps you create a conducive space, making your pup feel safe and comfortable. Here are the essential items you should have on hand before their arrival:

Dog Harness, Collar, and Identification

A man holding a dog leash
Photo by Zen Chung

Consider investing in a quality Kong dog harnessmartingaleflat-buckle, or Gucci dog collar and leash, and a personalized identification tag. These items are important for walks and ensuring your dog’s safety.

Comfortable Bed

A doh relaxing on a cozy bed.

Provide your pup with a cozy bed where they can rest and feel secure. Choose a bed that is the appropriate size for your dog’s breed or size.

Water and Food Bowls

Invest in sturdy, non-slip water and food bowls. Pick bowls that are easy to clean and won’t tip over easily.

Durable Dog Toys

Since you’re unsure of your new pup’s toy preferences, opt for durable dog toys like Nylabones.

These toys are designed to withstand chewing and are less likely to be shredded or swallowed, ensuring your dog’s safety.

Pet Playpen or Crate

Consider purchasing a properly-sized playpen or dog crate for your pup.

It should be spacious enough to stand, move around, and use as a secure and comfortable space. This provides a designated area where your dog can rest and relax.

Quality Dog Food

A man holding a brown paper bag containing dog food.
Photo by RDNE

If you know the specific food your pup has been eating, purchase a bag to maintain consistency in their diet.

And if you’re unsure, consult with the breeder, shelter, or previous owner to determine the type of food your new furry friend loves.

Feel free to change dog food along the way, but ensure you gradually mix the current food with the new one. This will help prevent upsetting your dog’s stomach.


Buy a bag of healthy dog treats for training and rewarding good behavior. Look for treats appropriate for your dog’s size and dietary needs.

Grooming Supplies

A close-up image of a dog being groomed
Photo by Gustavo Fring

Gather grooming supplies such as a brush or comb, shampoo, and nail clippers suitable for your dog’s coat. These items will help you keep your pup clean and well-groomed.

Remember that each dog is unique, so consider their specific needs and preferences when selecting supplies.

Then prepare for a new dog properly to ensure a smooth transition for them. It will also help them feel comfortable and welcomed in their new home.

2. Create a Routine

Establish a consistent routine for your new dog to ensure their wellness and create a sense of security and structure.

To establish a routine that works for both you and your furry friend, consider the following tips:

Collaborate with Household Members

Sit down with everyone in your home and determine who will walk the dog and at what times. This ensures that the dog’s exercise needs are met consistently.

Sharing the responsibility also promotes bonding between family members and the new pup.

Create a Feeding Schedule

Decide on a feeding schedule that suits your dog’s age and breed. This includes determining the frequency and portion sizes of their meals.

Stick to the chosen schedule to help your dog develop good eating habits and maintain a healthy weight.

Establish Furniture and Crate Rules

Determine early on whether your dog will be allowed on the furniture or if they need to adjust to using a crate.

Consistency is key, so establish and communicate these rules to everyone in your household.

If crate training is necessary, introduce it gradually and associate it with positive experiences.

Choose Sleeping Arrangements

Decide where your dog will sleep and establish a comfortable and secure sleeping area.

Whether it’s a dog bed in your bedroom or a designated spot in another room, create a cozy space where they can rest peacefully.

Set Boundaries

Determine which areas of your home will be off-limits to your dog. This might include certain rooms or specific furniture.

Use baby gates or other barriers to prevent access to restricted areas and redirect your dog to appropriate spaces.

Exercise and Playtime

Plan regular exercise and play sessions throughout the day to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated.

This could include walks, interactive games, or visits to a dog park. Be consistent to keep your dog active and healthy.

Training and Enrichment

Allocate time for training sessions and mental enrichment activities. This could involve teaching basic commands, practicing leash manners, or engaging in puzzle games that challenge your dog’s problem-solving skills.

Regular training promotes positive behavior and strengthens the bond between you and your dog.

Remember, the routine you create may require adjustments as you and your dog adapt to each other’s needs.

Stay flexible and observe your dog’s behavior and responses to ensure their well-being and happiness.

3. Plan the Arrival

Preparing for a new dog’s arrival requires careful planning to ensure a smooth transition. Here’s what to do when you first bring a dog home and create a welcoming environment for them:

Choose an Ideal Time

Schedule your new dog’s arrival during the weekend or when you can take a few days off work. This allows you to spend quality time together, getting to know each other, and establishing a lifelong bond.

Implement a Routine

During the first few weeks, focus on following the routine you created above with your dog. This routine helps them understand what to expect and builds trust.

Stick to regular feeding, walking, grooming, and playtime schedules, and keep your daily routines consistent.

Gradual Introduction to New Experiences

Avoid overwhelming your new dog with unfamiliar situations too soon.

While it may be tempting to take them to busy parks or stores, it’s best to give them time to adjust to their new home first.

Keep their environment calm and predictable for at least the first week or more.

Maintain a Quiet and Consistent Environment

Minimize sudden changes and loud noises during the initial adjustment period.

Instead, provide your dog with a calm and secure space where they can feel safe.

Keep household activities consistent and avoid disruptions that may cause stress.

Enrichment Items for Mental Stimulation

When you need to leave your dog alone, offer them enrichment items such as stuffed treat toys or puzzle food bowls. These items provide mental and physical stimulation, preventing separation anxiety and boredom.

Gradually Introduce Outings

Once your dog has settled into their new environment, slowly introduce them to new experiences.

Start with short walks in quiet areas to help them become familiar with the outside world.

As they grow more comfortable, you can gradually increase the duration and exposure to different environments.

Every dog adjusts at their own pace. Be patient, observe their behavior, and make adjustments as needed.

Planning the arrival carefully and providing a calm and consistent environment helps set the foundation for a happy and well-adjusted life with your new canine companion.

4. Prepare for House Training

House training a dog

House-training your new dog is an important aspect of welcoming them into your home.

Just assume your new dog isn’t already house-trained and be ready to start from scratch.

Here are some key steps to follow:

Maintain a Consistent Routine

Establish a consistent routine for taking your dog outside to excrete. Take them out at regular intervals throughout the day, such as first thing in the morning, after meals, after playtime, and before bedtime.

Be Prepared for Accidents

Understand that even if your dog is house-trained, it may still have accidents in its new environment. This is normal as they adjust to unfamiliar surroundings and routines.

To prevent potty accidents, take them outside every few hours to reinforce good habits and give them ample opportunities to poop in the appropriate area.

Give Positive Reinforcement

When your dog successfully poops outside or in designated areas, praise and reward them with treats or verbal praise.

Positive reinforcement helps them understand that going outdoors is the desired behavior.

Supervise and Restrict Access

Keep a close eye on your dog, especially during the initial stages of house training.

Limit their access to other areas of the house by using baby gates or closing doors. This helps prevent them from excreting in areas that are more challenging to clean or where you don’t want them to poop.

Use Crate Training

Consider investing in a good-quality crate for house training.

Dogs have the instinct to keep their sleeping area clean, so a properly sized crate can help them learn to control their bladder and bowels.

Ensure the playpen is comfortable and provide exercise and bathroom breaks.

Embrace Messes

If your dog creates a mess indoors, avoid punishment or scolding. This can create fear or confusion and hinder the house-training process.

Instead, clean the mess thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner to remove any lingering odors that may attract them to the same spot.

Be Patient and Persistent

House training takes time and patience.

And every dog learns at their own pace.

Therefore, be consistent, patient, and understanding throughout the process.

Your dog will learn the appropriate place to poop with time.

Note that house training is an ongoing process that requires consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience.

By establishing a routine and providing clear guidance, you can help your new dog develop good habits and ensure a clean and comfortable living environment for both of you.

5. Ensure All Your Pets Are Healthy

A veterinary checking up on a dog
Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Prioritizing the health of all pets in your home is crucial before introducing a new dog. It helps prevent the spread of possible diseases or infections between your current pets and your new dog.

To ensure a smooth transition and minimize stress, follow these steps:

Check Existing Pets’ Health

Before bringing a new dog home, ensure that your current dogs or cats are up-to-date on their vaccinations and in good overall health.

Schedule a visit to the veterinarian to verify their immunization status and address any health concerns.

Plan a Veterinary Visit for the New Dog

Take your new pup to the vet within a week of their arrival for a comprehensive health check.

During this visit, they will receive vaccinations, booster shots, and preventative flea and tick medication.

If your dog hasn’t been microchipped or spayed/neutered, discuss these options with the veterinarian and make the necessary arrangements.

Build a Relationship with the Veterinarian

Find a reliable veterinarian who can provide ongoing healthcare for your new dog.

Maintain regular check-ups and vaccinations as recommended by the veterinarian.

Most veterinarians offer email reminders to help you stay in control of your dog’s healthcare needs.

Monitor and Address Health Concerns

Pay attention to any signs of illness or discomfort in your new dog.

Watch for changes in appetite, energy levels, or unusual behavior.

If you notice any concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian promptly for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Practice Preventative Care

Along with vaccinations, prioritize other aspects of preventative care, such as regular grooming, dental hygiene, and parasite prevention.

Brush your dog’s teeth regularly, provide appropriate chew toys for dental health, and administer recommended flea and tick topicals or heartworm preventatives.

Maintaining the health and well-being of all pets in your household sets a solid foundation for a harmonious and happy environment.

Regular veterinary care, vaccinations, and preventative measures ensure that your pets are in optimal health and ready to welcome a new furry family member.

Final Words: How to Prepare for a New Dog

Remember that your new companion is navigating a different life with you, so lower your expectations.

Adequately prepare for a new dog, give them the resources and time they need to adjust and build a lifelong, fruitful bond.

Don’t hesitate to seek help if you face behavioral challenges during the transition, as you are not alone.

The rescue, breeder, or shelter you acquired your dog from can offer guidance on basic behavioral issues.

They can also refer you to a certified trainer or connect you to resources to support you.

Ultimately, the love, enthusiasm, and unwavering loyalty that a dog brings into your life are unparalleled.

Embrace the process, remain patient, and you will undoubtedly get incredible rewards with a lifelong friend who will bring immeasurable joy to your days.

At Happy Dogs Hub, we welcome you to the wonderful world of dog ownership, where the bond between humans and canines forms through love, patience, and mutual understanding.

Enjoy every moment of this incredible journey with your new furry companion!

Connect with us or join our community today and share your experiences today!

How to Prepare for a New Dog FAQs

Here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about preparing for a new dog to help you make them feel comfortable at home:

How Long Does It Take a Dog to Adjust to a New Home?

On average, a new dog takes around three weeks to feel at home and display their true nature. The exact time frame may vary depending on their temperament, past experiences, and the consistency of their new environment. Some dogs may adapt quickly within a few days, while others may take several weeks or months.

What Should First-Time Dog Owners Expect?

As a first-time dog owner, expect a learning curve as you navigate the responsibilities of caring for a dog.

Be patient, provide consistent training, establish routines, and dedicate the time and effort required to meet your dog’s needs.

Building a bond and understanding your dog’s unique personality will also take time and experience.

How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Bond with a New Owner?

In general, expect to bond with your new dog in about 2 weeks to 2 months.

The exact timeframe for a dog to bond with a new owner varies. Some dogs may bond quickly within a few days or weeks, while others may take longer.

Bonding depends on factors such as the dog’s background, previous experiences, and the effort and consistency in building a trusting relationship with the new owner.

Where Should a Dog Sleep on the First Night?

On the first night, and for the next three weeks, provide a comfortable and secure space for the dog to sleep.

A designated area, such as a cozy crate or dog bed in a quiet part of the house, can help the dog feel safe and secure.

Establish this sleeping routine early on to promote a sense of security for the dog and to make them accustomed to it.

How Do I Get My Dog to Adjust to a New Owner and Home?

Keep things consistent and quiet for the first few weeks to help your dog adjust to a new owner and home.

Walk and feed your dog, foster positive reinforcement, and maintain consistent work hours.

Leave your dog an enrichment item, like a puzzle food bowl or stuffed treat toy, whenever you leave home to prevent anxiety and boredom.

Give your dog time to explore their new surroundings at their own pace and gradually introduce them to new experiences.

Build a bond through trust, love, and regular training sessions to help your dog feel secure and settled in their new environment.

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