Bringing Home A New Puppy
Bring A New Dog Into Your Life

Bringing home a new puppy or dog is pretty exciting stuff! The first few days will be stressful when your new dog comes to his new home. He’s in a "strange" environment.

A Shih Tzu puppy arrives at her new
home in a fancy box. "What do I do now?"


Everything including smells and sounds are different to him. He may bark out of fear and anxiety. He may urinate in the house to “mark” his territory or it may happen out of anxiety. The new dog will be scared and may not even move around for a day or so. He is NOT trying to make you mad.

When your new dog comes into your house, s/he may have left over fears and anxieties from a previous troubled life. Give the dog plenty of attention and lots of your time in the beginning weeks. Try not to leave him alone. Chances are he’s already had too much of that. Plan ahead so there will be someone home with him at all times during his initiation.

Before bringing home a new puppy, you will need:

Dog Bed.

Before bringing home a new puppy, or mature dog, pick out a suitable dog crate or dog bed based in the size s/he will GROW INTO. Dog beds come in all colors, shapes and sizes. As long as it's big enough and comfortable it doesn't have to be expensive. Actually, folded up blankets will work just fine for a dog bed.

If you adopted a mature dog, unlike bringing home a new puppy, it will probably already be potty trained and can go directly into a dog bed. Pick out a dog bed that is soft and rises up around her on the sides so she feels safe and snuggly. The dog bed should be closed on three sides with one side open for her legs or muzzle to hang out if she wants. If you are getting a thin-skinned dog like a Greyhound or Whippet, they must have a very soft bed.

Be SURE bed fits the ADULT dog, not just the puppy.
This Beagle is in a bed too small.
He can't stretch out!


Place the dog bed out of the way of heavy foot traffic but not in a secluded area. Someplace in your bedroom or in the living room or kitchen is a good choice. Just don’t let her feel isolated from the family.

Dog Crate

Dogs need to feel they have a safe haven all to themselves. It’s a good idea when leaving a dog alone during first few weeks. Be sure it’s big enough for the dog when he grows to full size.

You will generally use a dog crate for house training a puppy and for confining a puppy while you go to the store or run errands. This keeps her out of trouble; same for an older dog who is new to the house and not yet settled in. It gives you peace of mind. Dog crates must be monitored closely though, as a dog will try to “hold it” while in the dog crate and wait for you to let it out to potty! A dog will be very reluctant to soil in her crate.

Dog crates come in two styles. One is a chrome plated wire which affords the dog full view of everything around him. This is more like a cage. The wire dog “cage” can be covered with a blanket at night to make the puppy feel more secure if you like. These wire dog crates are not airline approved and are not usually accepted at emergency rescue stations should you have to evacuate your home and take your dog with you.

Papillon In A Plastic Crate W/Carry Handle
This type of dog crate is approved by emergency shelters and airlines.

Dog crates made of plastic with a handle on top are recognized by the airlines and emergency rescue stations. These dog crates have solid bodies with vent slots or holes in the sides for air circulation. They are sturdy and easy to take apart and clean. They offer the dog or puppy a lot of privacy and quickly becomes a kind of “sanctuary” or safe haven where the dog knows s/he’s safe. You should keep a crate on hand even if the dog no longer uses it in case of evacuation emergencies or the need to transport in the car.

If this is your first dog, crate training might be of interest to you.

Other Dog Items Needed

Before time for bringing home a new puppy, stop by your pet store:

  • Food and water bowls. DON'T get the combo side-by-side all-in-one type. No matter how neat your dog eats, food WILL bounce into the water side. Get separate bowls. Also, do NOT buy plastic. Plastic gives off some bad chemicals as well as trapping bacteria. Buy stainless steel or ceramic bowls.

    Food and water bowls should be separate, ceramic or stainless steel and kept far enough apart that the food and water can't go from dish to dish.


  • Get a good flea and tick control product. At the same time, be sure to get heartworm control from your vet.

  • A few toys, especially CHEW toys. Choose the toys based on the size and age of dog you have. Big dog? Buy heavy rawhide bones and ropes with knots. Just be sure you have things at the house for your new dog to occupy his time and help ease the newness of his environment.

  • Get a bag of treats. Table scraps are no good. Use treats for training tools and as rewards for good achievements. Don’t overdo the treats; watch your dogs weight. Freeze-dried liver bits are one of the "Cadillacs" of doggie treats.

  • You will need a collar and 6’ leash. A regular nylon or leather leash is fine. Nothing fancy. Get a common buckle collar and a slip color for training. (You may not know what size collar to buy at this point so that may have to wait.) Also, pick up a CLICKER for training.

  • Grooming brush. Even if you have a non-shedding dog, dogs love to be brushed. Give her this attention. She’ll love it! Generally, a stiff bristle brush works well.

    Brushing a 3 month old Weimaraner

  • Ball or Frisbee. Only if you are adopting a larger dog like a retriever or beagle or mix that loves to play fetch. A ball in the park can really break the ice fast and it’s great exercise for the dog. If you plan to get a small dog, buy small balls and toys.

  • Dog food. Don’t forget dog food! Take the kennels advice and get what they suggest but don’t go nuts. Get enough for a few days. Enough until you can talk to your vet.

Bringing home a new puppy or mature dog

A dog can act strange the first few nights. Some puppies whine or bark. The reason is that they are nervous and afraid of their new surroundings and humans. Don’t be surprised if your new pride and joy isn’t what you expected right away. Have faith, it gets better! When bringing home a new puppy, your life is about to change and hopefully you're prepared. Older dogs are easier to deal with.

Potty Training

Potty training, or housebreaking, is always a top priority when bringing home a new puppy or older dog.

For the older, mature dog, all s/he needs to know is which door leads to where the potty area is so she can alert you when the time comes. However, try to anticipate this by taking her out regularly to SEE if she needs to “go.” I’ve done this for years and it works.


Bringing Home A New Puppy Or Older Dog - A Few Tips:

  • The older dog MUST be checked over by a VET! Get a rabies tag for his collar.

  • Put a collar and IDENTIFICATION TAG on your new dog. The ID tag should have a phone number, name and address.

  • Have the vet micro-chip your new dog. We use “Home Again” - it’s a good program but there are other programs out there.

  • Bringing home a new puppy means seeing the VET right away for any necessary vaccinations and advice on food and a feeding schedule. Let the vet become familiar with your new puppy and give advice on spaying or neutering if necessary.

  • Start potty training immediately on arrival home.

  • In the case of an older dog, don’t forget to make frequent trips to the door leading out to the yard where he's to go potty so he learns which door he is to go to.

  • Try bringing home a new puppy or older dog on a Friday when there will be a weekend with people around to help him adjust. Spend time with him, play with him, and give him plenty of time to himself too.

    Cocker Spaniel puppy playing in the grassphoto

  • If the new dog is to be left alone while the family goes out shopping or to dinner, be sure she is either in her crate or in a laundry room or garage where excess damage can’t occur. You don’t know yet if she has separation anxiety and/or other problems to be dealt with. While preparing to leave, put a light or two on if you plan to come home after dark and leave a radio or TV on. You want your dog to feel as much “at home” as possible while you’re gone.

  • After bringing home a new puppy, start immediately with basic obedience and command training. Puppy training is very important to start right away. The breeder should have started at around 4 or 5 weeks and you need to continue the process when you get the puppy at around 8 weeks.

  • Spend all the time you can with the puppy. Use a clicker for excellent results and this will give the pup self confidence. The training will pay off big-time later when he grows up and matures!s

  • The sooner your new dog bonds with the whole family, the better for her/him.

Once your older dog seems comfortable with you, start some simple command training. Go to the dog-training section for some help on the subject.

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