How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Household

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When bringing home a new pet, here are 5 handy tips to help you prepare your household for the arrival of your new four-legged family member.

Dog-proof your home before your new canine arrives.

Look at each of your rooms and take appropriate safety measures. Place childproof locks on low cabinet doors and place sturdy lids on kitchen trash cans. Remove human medications and small objects off counters and tables to prevent your dog from swallowing and choking on them. Identify all plants and flowers in your home and discard any that are toxic to dogs. In order to prevent canine escapes, make sure your yard is secure.

Stock up on canine amenities.

Your new dog needs toys and products that work his mind as well as his body, such as treat puzzles. Go bowl-free at least once a week for and place your dog’s kibble inside a food puzzle. Encourage him to paw and swat at the puzzle to spill out kibble. You can also place treats in the puzzle toy to help your new dog occupy his mind when he is alone at home.

Decide the sleeping arrangements.

To help your  dog acclimate to his new life inside a new home (especially if he spent time in a shelter or foster home), provide him with a comfy crate placed in your bedroom so he can sleep inside the crate at night. As your bond strengthens and he becomes better adjusted to his new home, you can make the decision whether or not to invite him to sleep on your bed.

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Call a family meeting.

Before you bring your new dog home, make sure that everyone in the house agrees on how to give him basic commands. Decide on specific words and cues ahead of time such as:

  • Sit
  • Lay
  • Come
  • Here
  • Wait
  • Stay

Make sure that other family members participate in a basic dog obedience class with you and your new dog. These classes not only teach your dog the basics, but they build on the friendship bond between you and family members.

Include your dog in your family budget.

Pets can be a priceless asset, but owning a pet can be expensive. In your monthly budget, make sure to factor in costs associated with food, healthcare/medical expenses, and obedience training. To assist with the veterinary expenses, enroll your pet in a dog insurance plan as soon as possible.

Having your entire household on the same page will help provide a smooth transition for incorporating your new dog into the family.

By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host and writer for Pets Best, a U.S. pet health insurance agency founded in 2005.

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