Dog Adoption – First Day Checklist

Bringing a new dog home is an exciting time, filled with anticipation and joy. However, it’s important to approach the first day with your new furry friend in a thoughtful and considerate manner.

By taking the time to follow some simple guidelines, you can ensure a smooth transition for your dog and set the stage for a strong bond.

Here’s a first-day checklist for you to download as a brief guide to planning and managing the first day of adoption – but remember that every dog is different and to always listen carefully to the Sanctuary staff and refer to your individual adoption pack for dog-specific recommendations.

In this article, we’ll walk you through each step of the first day, providing easy-to-follow sections for a seamless and successful start to your journey together.

Garden Exploration and Elimination

When you arrive home, take your dog into the garden, even if they have already toileted at the sanctuary. Keeping a lead on will help you gauge their responses to your cues. Allow them to sniff and eliminate, as this is an important part of their settling-in process.

Allowing Time for Adjustment

Avoid rushing to interact with your new friend. Instead, give them space and time to settle in. Allow them to explore their surroundings and let any feelings of panic or anxiety subside naturally. While they’re exploring, interact calmly and quietly if they approach you.

Avoiding Overstimulation

On the first day, it’s best to avoid taking your dog for a walk. The new environment will provide enough stimulation for them to process and they need to bond with you first. Additionally, limit the number of visitors and keep it to just household members. Too much attention and excitement from multiple people can be overwhelming for your dog.

Introductions with Existing Pets

If you already have a dog, ensure they have had a positive introduction before bringing the new dog home. Remove all toys, beds, and food bowls from the area to prevent potential conflicts. Take both dogs for a walk together in a neutral space, then introduce them to the garden and house gradually. Setting up safe zones and seeking advice from sanctuary staff on introducing other species is crucial for a harmonious transition.

Monitoring Activity Levels and Providing Comfort

Pay attention to your dog’s activity levels on the first day. Don’t be concerned if they seem quiet and tired; sleep is essential for their adjustment. Encourage rest and avoid playing fast-paced games that may increase excitement. Instead, consider offering enrichment toys or scattering food around the garden to help them relax and calm their emotions.

The First (Few) Nights

Be prepared for a potentially disturbed first few nights. Your new dog may feel unsettled in their new surroundings. To provide a sense of security, Consider allowing the dog to sleep in the same room as you, but only if you want this to continue long-term. This proximity reassures them that you’re nearby in case they feel worried or need to be let out with an upset stomach.

Seeking Support and Guidance

If you have any concerns or questions during this transition, remember that help is always available. Reach out to the sanctuary staff for guidance, support, or any assistance you may need. They are there to ensure a successful partnership and to help you navigate any challenges that may arise.

The first day with your new dog sets the foundation for a lifelong bond and a happy home. By following these simple guidelines, you can create a calm and positive environment for your furry friend to adjust and thrive.

Remember, patience, understanding, and providing a secure and supportive space are key to making the first day a success.

Embrace this new chapter in your lives together and enjoy the journey ahead.