World's Largest NO-KILL
Animal Rescue
and Adoption Organization


Members get our updates on rescue alerts, league events, special offers and more.

sign up!


Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter

Like us on Facebook  
| Share share | email | print | A A

Search Advice

Search for:
Hint: Use * for wildcard, e.g. “adopt*” will return results matching both “adoption” and “adopting”

Bringing Your New Dog Home

We all know that moving from one home to another can be a difficult transition – and the transition from a shelter to a home can be very difficult for a dog too. 

Pets Take Time to Adjust

Your dog will need time to adjust to any changes in environment and daily routine.  Here’s some information and tips to help ease your dog’s transition into your family:

  • Take it slow – the transition can take a few weeks
  • Try not to over – compensate for any hard times you feel that your dog may have experienced in the past by being too permissive.
  • Don’t feel that you need to constantly entertain your new pet.
    • Moving from a cage into your home is stimulating enough for the time being.
  • Try to limit the amount of company you have for the first few weeks, to make the process less stressful for FIDO.
  • Give your dog time to adjust. Like any new relationship, this one also requires time, patience and understanding and each dog warms up at their own pace, which may differ from expectations.
  • Ask for help. The team at North Shore Animal League America is committed to making your adoption a success.
    • We offer support with behavioral issues through free orientation classes, low-cost group classes, private in-home training, and educational literature and phone support.
    • For more information on this service & our individual package prices please call 516-812-7264. Fill out our In Home Training Questionnaire!

It Takes a Few Weeks

A change of environment can trigger temporary behavioral problems.

  • For example, some dogs will urinate in unexpected places, while others might to want to chew things.
  • Some dogs may feel overwhelmed at first and want to hide or run away while others take a more defensive position
  • As "pack animals," dogs will test you to find out where they stand in the social hierarchy of your family.
  • Living in a cage provides little stimulation. In a new environment, a dog may become over-stimulated and become "testy" or hyperactive.

Bringing Your New Dog Home

  • Make sure your dog or puppy is secure in your car for the journey home.
  • When arriving home, make sure the animal is secured before opening the car door.

Introducing FIDO to your Home

  • As soon as you arrive home, show your dog where his toilet area is located. This might be a paper or designated spot on your property, depending on the type and age of dog.
  • Show your new dog where the bed, food and water dishes are located.
  • While supervised, give your dog the freedom and space to explore new surroundings. 
    • It’s best to plan ahead, so your home is puppy/dog proof and free of any potential hazards.
  • Provide your dog with his own living area, a safe haven where he can go to be alone.
    • This shouldn’t be an isolated area such as a basement, or behind closed doors.
  • Be careful around doors to prevent escape.
  • Keep a leash or a tether (a light cotton rope) on your dog or puppy when you are home. This provides you with control without having to grab or startle the dog. 
    • Soak the leash/tether in mouthwash first, to keep your dog from chewing it.
  • Dogs are pack animals and live by a social hierarchy so establishing consistent rules, such as forbidding the dog to jump up on the furniture, will help the dog understand that you are "the pack leader" and authority figure.
  • Establish a schedule for feeding and play. Dogs enjoy being taken for walks off your property to diversify their environment and allow for proper socialization.

Browse our extensive expert advice:

Show Advice by Topic

Advice Type: