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A Checklist for New Dog Owners

While adding a new dog to your home is very exciting, it’s also an event that takes serious planning. Regardless of whether you’re getting a puppy or adopting an adult dog, your new family member will most likely be nervous and excitable, so it’s important that you do all you can to make sure he or she is as comfortable as can be. To help, we’ve created a checklist of things you can do to prepare. By being proactive, the transition can be much smoother for everyone involved.

Getting Off on the Right Paw

Keep in mind that the first day is crucial. This is why it’s a really good idea to do some prep work before you bring your new dog home. This should include:

  • Making everyone in the house aware of new responsibilities. It’s important that anyone who will be responsible for the dog’s care understands what that entails.
  • Buying all the things! Make a list of all the things your pup might need and then start shopping. Important items include food, bowls, leash and collar, treats, toys, a bed, pooper scooper and bags, and anything else that suits your dog’s needs.
  • Lining up a veterinarian. Have a good idea as to who your pup will see for regular visits. If you’re adopting, try to get the papers that cover previous vet visits. It’s also a good idea to locate the closest 24-hour emergency animal hospital and keep their number handy.
  • Dog-proofing the house. Dogs, especially puppies, get into stuff. If there’s something that you don’t want to be chewed up or something that could be a potential hazard, take care of it.

Once you bring your dog home, there are some other things you can do:

  • Ensure your dog is comfortable and letting him have time to get acclimated to his new surroundings. If possible, bring your dog home over the weekend when you’ll have more time to spend with him.
  • Pick a name, if you haven’t already. While you can certainly do this before your dog comes home, sometimes a name comes more easily after watching the pup’s personality.
  • Show your pooch his potty area. Let them get familiar by sniffing around.
  • Love them without being overwhelming. Dogs appreciate their owner’s love, but some need a little “me time” to adjust. Slow and gentle wins the race!
  • Take care of the miscellaneous yet important stuff. This can include licensing, vet exam, microchipping, spaying or neutering, and anything else that may be required per your location.
  • Pay attention to your pup’s habits and tendencies. Be sure to nip any problems in the bud.
  • Begin training them. This could include potty paper training, crate training, leash training, and/or obedience training.

Mindful Preparation Can Make a World of Difference

Remember, a new dog doesn’t come to know the rules of the house. Put yourself in their paws, so to speak, and try to see things from their perspective. Doing things correctly from the start can really help minimize confusion, discomfort, and disaster. The sooner your pup feels at home the sooner you can enjoy each other for years to come.