Since the COVID-19 pandemic announcement in March 2020, have you spent a considerable amount of time at home? How often have you missed socializing and meeting your friends and family? Have you endured debilitating feelings of loneliness in the past year?
Studies conducted by ‘Making Caring Common’ in October 2020 revealed that 36% of Americans admitted to feeling alone. Of this percentage that reported feeling lonely for a majority of their day, 61% belonged to the age group of 18 to 25 years.
This leads us to the question – have you considered becoming a pet parent? If you have, you are not alone! Research conducted by the Insurance Research Council’s report for October 2020 revealed that 30% of Americans adopted a pet during the pandemic! The reason for this surge in pet adoption is the associated mental and psychological benefits of parenting a new furry companion.
63.4 million households in the United States are now home to a dog, among the 85 million pet-parent families in the country.
If you are considering joining this group and claiming your pet parent title, we are here to guide you on how to do it just right! Bringing a new pup home will be the day your life changes for the better!
8 Essential Steps to Bringing a New Dog Home
Becoming a parent to a bouncing ball of fur and energy may sound like a new and exciting responsibility to take up . . . and it sure is! However, bringing a new dog home requires a lot of planning and preparation.
You need to make sure that your pup is adopted from a non-profit rescue and not a puppy mill – the latter being detrimental to animal welfare.
Moving from a shelter to a new family and a new home can be stressful for your pup. The stress can affect how they respond to the unknown environment they are brought into. The first couple of days in your home are critical. When done right, the transition can facilitate parent-pup bonding and foster good behavior.
Read on to discover how to create a smooth transition for your pup with the following 8 steps:
- Delegate Responsibilities
If you live with your family, it is important to recognize that the contribution of all members can help create a safe and stable environment for the pup. Before you bring your new family member home, sit the family down and delegate responsibilities. Assign individuals who will take the dog on walks and feed them. Playtime is another responsibility that can be taken up by a family member. Additionally, veterinary appointments, training, and feeding need to be divided amongst all the people in the house.
Remember, this is a new transition but not just for you and the pup. Everyone at home needs to be on board and willing to take on the responsibility of a new life.
- Gather the Necessary Supplies
Making a home out of your house for a new pet requires financial investment in the necessary supplies. Before your pup sets its paw in your doorway, ensure that you have all the basics that it will require.
These include a dog bed, crate, bowls for food and water, collars and leashes, chew toys, and play toys and treats. Most of these supplies will be available on popular e-commerce platforms like Chewy and Amazon.
If you have decided to become a parent to a visually impaired dog, keep them safe with a high-quality dog halo from a reputed company!
Ensuring you are well-stocked in terms of food, treats and toys is a good step for a comfortable transition. You can do your research on the best dog food brands, as most grocery store labels may not have the quality your dog needs.
A home that has all of your pup’s required supplies is a home that can be made as comfortable for them!
- Dog-Proof Your Home
One of the most important steps in creating a safe transition for your dog is making sure their new home is dog-proofed. This means removing plants, wires, medicines, and objects that can be easily accessed by a curious pup.
Tape any loose electrical cords to the baseboards, store household chemicals on high shelves that are out of reach, and remove breakables from the area your dog is allowed to access.
You may even consider installing baby gates, especially if you decide to parent a pup. Pups are notorious for chewing on anything they fancy. Installing baby gates can be a great way to dog-proof your home. Select an area that is full of activity (such as your living room), install baby gates, and remove anything that you don’t want to be soiled or chewed on.
- Demarcate Space Specifically for the Dog
Recognize where you would like your dog to spend most of its time. Letting your dog run helter-skelter the moment they enter your home is not an ideal tactic. This is because your dog will associate the space with the freedom to do anything it wants.
Instead, decide where to place the dog bed and food and water bowls. You might want to select an area that is easily accessible and can be cleaned quickly. When you bring your dog home, ensure that it is on a leash.
- Keep Calm and Confident
Bringing a new dog home is an exciting day, and no one knows this better than us! However, too much excitement, noise, petting, and stimulation can cause a great deal of stress. Some dogs might be fearful of a new, unknown place. Giving them the space and time required to adjust would be a great way to start a new chapter in their lives!
Try not to pet it too much, and give it just the right amount of attention – enough to make a good introduction but not too much to make it anxious.
Keep yourself mellow and calm and put off inviting guests over, until your pup is 100% settled and comfortable.
You can even consider fostering puppies beforehand, so you are prepared for the new addition to your family!
- Take Them on a Tour
The first place you take your dog is to its bathroom – which may be in your yard or a specific potty place you have created. Give it time to make the association that this is it’s potty place. If your dog relieves itself in the right place, remember to reinforce the behavior with praise.
Keep your dog on a leash and begin a slow and thorough introduction to the house. Show your new pet its feeding and sleeping place, and take turns going to each room, spending a couple of minutes per room.
Avoid the rooms that you do not want your dog entering too often – such as your bedroom. A great way to assert yourself is to first go through the door and make your dog wait for an invitation to enter.
Use your voice to communicate with the dog. Be gentle, firm, and loving – your new pet is in a new environment and will be looking for compassion.
- Create a Routine
Dogs are animals that require routine to live balanced and healthy lives. Spend the first day or two creating a routine that includes time for sleeping, feeding, playing, walks, and bathroom breaks.
A routine is a great way to train your dog. It is reassuring when they face new experiences. Consider observing your dog’s natural routine for the first couple of days and create a structure from thereon.
Taking care of your dog’s needs as per their routine will ensure that they are comfortable and safe at all times of the day.
- Schedule a Vet Appointment
The first couple of days are a great opportunity to associate vet visits with pleasant experiences. Schedule a vet appointment with your preferred veterinary doctor, a couple of days after your dog has come home.
Asking for referrals is a great way to find a reputed doctor. Remember, your pet will require a thorough examination and vaccinations (if not already done).
It is also essential that you do not delay finding a vet. With adoption rates rising over the months, you may struggle to find a vet accepting new patients. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible with a suitable vet once the adoption process is complete.
Introducing vet appointments in the early days can additionally establish you as a supportive figure. Your pet will begin to recognize that they can rely on you for love and care during vet appointments – making them easier in the future.
Remember to take it slow and keep an eye on the body language of your new pup. You will soon have a loving companion on your side who will stick by you through the toughest of times!