Congratulations on bringing home a new puppy or dog into your family!  Whether you've just brought home a new dog or puppy to join your family, there are preparations to make and things to consider before your new furry family member moves into his new home.  

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Tips for bringing home a new puppy or dog.  Adding a new dog or puppy to your family
My dog Phoebe, shortly after we adopted her



When getting a new puppy or dog, the entire family should be in agreement on where your new canine family member will sleep, who will feed and walk her, and what areas of the home your new dog will be allowed in. 

Does everyone know whether or not the puppy will be allowed on the furniture?  Do the kids think she'll be sleeping in their beds but you plan to have her sleep in her crate?  Are you expecting young children to be responsible for feeding and potty walks? I hope not without close supervision, because that often doesn't work out too well!

If everyone isn't consistent with the new dog's routine and rules of the household, your dog may become confused which can lead to unwanted behavior and make training difficult.


You don't have to run out out and buy every specialized pet supply item they sell for puppies and dogs.  Before your pup comes home though, you should have the essentials on this New Puppy Checklist ready for your new dog's arrival.

Food appropriate for the age of your puppy or dog
 Food and water bowls
 Dog Bed
 Dog Crate
 Chew Toys
 Collar and Leash
 Dog waste bags (always Scoop your dog's Poop!)
 Pet cleaning supplies ('cause you know there will be accidents & messes, even with an older dog)
 Pet Brush or comb
 Shampoo for dogs (don't use human shampoo on puppies or dogs!)

You may also want to get a Pet Gate.  You can use a human baby gate or a gate for pets, they're not all that different.  A dog gate helps you contain your dog before giving her the run of the entire house.  I found a gate to be very useful when Icy was a puppy.  It prevented her from chasing the cat and getting into things she shouldn't!


Do a pet safety check in the house.  Puppies and dogs love to chew and they'll chew on anything that catches their eye. Many household items can be dangerous for dogs to chew.  Get down on the floor and peer all around to see what your pup might spot that could catch her attention.  

Remove anything that looks dangerous or inappropriately chewable.  Look for things like wires, TV remotes, cell phones, shoes, purses, kids toys, plants (many plants/flowers are toxic to pets!) cords from window blinds or curtains, string, toilet bowl water lines (that's why you never want to lock your dog in a bathroom, you could end up with a flood!), and pretty much anything else that catches her eye!  

Empty snack bags are also a hazard as they can cause suffocation. Never leave those lying around! 

Needless to say, be sure to lock up all medications and household cleansers.  Child safety locks on lower cabinets containing cleansers or medications are a great idea. Most of those are highly toxic to dogs and cats, and if your new pup gets into them it could be disastrous!


Introducing your new puppy or dog to family members and pets who already live in the home should be slow and not chaotic.  If possible, introduce your dogs to the new puppy or dog in a neutral place. Many shelters, rescues, and quality breeders encourage you to bring your current dog in to meet the one you're going to take home, which is a great idea. 

Once you bring your new dog home, don't let the kids or other pets rush at your new pup, that can frighten her!  Let the kids meet her one at a time and tell them to move slowly and speak to the dog softly.  Screaming, squealing kids can be scary to a dog!

Bringing Home a New Puppy or Dog,  Checklist for New puppy
Phoebe is extremely mellow and my Siberian Husky, Icy, is super friendly, I think that's why they got along right from the start.

Keep your other pets at a distance at first.  It can be unsettling to them having a new family member join the pack.  I like to introduce pets slowly.  When I bring home new pets or foster dogs I place them in another room before I make the introductions.  

I rub a blanket over the new pet to get their scent on it. Then I let my dogs smell it. I give them a treat as they're catching the scent of the new dog so it creates a positive association with the new dog's scent even before they go nose to nose! 

Then I let the dogs sniff each other under the door and give them all some treats.  When I'm ready to open the door and let them see each other I keep them all on leash, about 10 feet away from each other.  

I give them all treats as they see each other, provided none of them are growling or barking.  You don't want to encourage or reward growling or barking.  Try to create that positive association.  You may need your significant other or a friend to help you make the introductions and give the treats.

Once they're all calm I'll bring them closer to each other, one at a time, to sniff & greet.  You don't want 2 dogs and 3 cats approaching your new pup all at once, that could be overwhelming!  

If anyone displays negative reactions like growling, lunging, or excessive barking, I move them further away from each other, wait until everyone is calm, and try again.  I never yell at them, I keep my voice calm and keep the interactions positive.  

When introducing cats and dogs, follow the same process ensuring the dog stays on a leash and the cat has a place to easily get away from the dog.  A place higher up is usually helpful so the cat feels safe. 

When I first brought Icy home she couldn't wait to play with my cat Maggie!  She kept trying to continually chase her around at every opportunity and it was pure chaos.  Teaching Icy the Leave It! command is the only thing that saved everyone's sanity!

Sometimes it takes awhile and sometimes they all get along right away, it depends on the pets.  Every dog or cat is an individual. The most important thing is to have patience, lots of patience!


Even if the breeder or the animal shelter/rescue you got your pup from has given vaccinations and done an exam, you should schedule a Veterinary appointment.  A thorough wellness check is always a good idea.

BRINGING HOME A NEW PUPPY OR DOG, Bringing home a new dog, Bringing home a new puppy at 8 weeks
Schedule an initial Veterinarian appointment for your new puppy or dog

Please,  make sure your new puppy or dog has these 2 things right away; Tags with your updated contact information and a Microchip. I can't tell you how much heartbreak I've seen with devastated owners at the animal shelter after losing their dog.  When a dog or cat enters the shelter the first thing staff do is check for a collar and tags and scan them for a microchip. 

Frightened dogs can slip out of a collar, collars break off or can be removed by well meaning (and sometimes NOT so well meaning) individuals that find your lost dog or cat.  A microchip is the size of a grain of rice.  Injecting the chip is quick and simple.  It's very inexpensive if it's done at an animal shelter, and approximately $50 at the Vet.

Tags + Microchip = Pets Get Home Safe  
It's that simple.  Please, Do It!

If your dog hasn't already been spayed or neutered, please get that taken care of as soon as possible.  Talk to your Veterinarian about whether or not your puppy is old enough to be spayed/neutered.  If she's not old enough, make the appointment in advance and mark your calendar!

You may want to consider Pet Insurance.  Because of the high cost of Vet care, many dog owners are buying pet insurance.  You never know what might come up in terms of illness or injury.  It's something to think about. 


Try to bring your new puppy or dog home when you will have at least a few days to spend together.  A new home can be confusing and frightening to a puppy or an older dog.  You don't want to bring a new dog home only to leave her all alone for hours while you go to work. Make sure an adult is present for the first several days at least.  

Bringing your new puppy or dog home. Things to consider when bringing your new dog or puppy home
The joyful day we brought Icy home when she was a puppy

If you can swing it, the best time to bring your new pup home is when you're able to take some time off work so you will have time to bond with your new furry family member and get her into a daily routine of feeding, pottying, playing and sleeping.


Whether your new pooch is a puppy or an adult dog, training is a must.  

Both older dogs and puppies will need potty training. Even if the dog was previously housetrained, they still need to learn when they will be able to potty, where they will potty, who will take them out to potty and at what times.  

I recommend frequent potty walks at first to try to establish a routine and learn how often and when your dog needs to do his business.  Icy always poops right after breakfast, but Phoebe never pooped until several hours later.  I learned when and how often each of them needed to go out and I had it down to a science!

Housetraining a puppy is more work and takes more time.  I recommend googling how to housetrain a puppy and deciding which method works best for you.  

I'll say one thing, you want to start off taking them out on a leash so you can direct your puppy where to potty, even if it's in the yard. You don't want them toileting all over the entire yard, right?  

Take them out very frequently, perhaps every hour the first day or two and see when they are most likely to need a potty break.  Right after eating, sleeping, and playing are the most common times puppies will need a potty break.

I highly recommend using a crate and crate training your puppy or dog.  A crate is such a useful tool.  It's not just a potty training element, it actually functions as a safe place for your dog to call her own.  She won't get stepped on in there, she can retreat to her crate to get away from noise or when guests arrive.  

I thought of my dogs' crates as their bedrooms.  We don't need crates much anymore, over time they came to prefer just having their own beds in the living room.  A crate should never be used as a punishment, that's just cruel!

I also highly recommend signing both puppies and dogs up for basic obedience training classes.  Puppies in general need much more training than older dogs, but a dog is never too old to train.  Training can re-enforce basic obedience commands and be a great bonding activity. It certainly was great bonding and fun for Icy and I!

If you don't want to pay for formal training classes, watch some training videos on YouTube or get some books on dog training. Some of my favorites are  Dog Training Books by Victoria Stilwell and Andrea Arden (Both have hosted shows on Animal Planet).  Terra Nova also publishes very good dog breed and dog training books.  I've bought several of them.

Whichever trainer you choose, make certain they only use positive reinforcement dog training!  Please, no punishment methods of training.

Finally, BE PATIENT!!  A new home is a huge change for any puppy or dog, so please understand they will need your patience, understanding and kindness at all times.  Their world has been turned upside down a bit and they need to figure how things will work in their new home and what you expect of them.  They'll need time to observe & learn the ropes!  

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Do you have any favorite tips on bringing a new puppy or dog home to share?  Tell us in the comments!


Carleenp said...

Lots of good tips here. I agree too that being patient is key!

LaylasWoof said...

Fantastic tips and I always say to people before adopting think of all the pros and cons carefully before you bring the pet into the house.

Tenacious Little Terrier said...

I'd also add having the first two weeks be chill where you let them adjust to being a new home. Instead of trying to take them everywhere. I ran into someone who brought her brand new dog to a dog park and he was looking overwhelmed.

Beth said...

I'm not surprised to see that you've thought of just about everything! While certainly not a top priority, if you are adopting a dog or puppy, get a professional photo shoot. If you have a puppy try and schedule it early on before the pup grows up!

M. K. Clinton said...

Thanks for the great information and for joining the Pet Parade! That photo of you and Icy is precious. ♥ Puppies are so much fun and work. LOL!

M Dawson said...

This is a must read for new pet owners. There is so much that every family needs to remember. It's not just buying a pup is it!

I love your best tip. The family all needs to be on the same page. This is SO important!

Sandy Kubillus said...

Great tips! It's been a long time since I have brought home a new puppy, about 15 years! But I'll need these tips in the next few years when I get one. With Buffy being blind, we've decided to keep her as an only dog for a while - which is what she seems to prefer.

Talent Hounds said...

Great information- people need to do their research before getting a puppy. Icy and Phoebe are so cute- how lucky they got along. Kilo is not a fan of other pets so far but I do use that technique with his only 2 "friends".

Impurrfectlife said...

Oh I love the cute throwback photo with you and Icy. How adorable. What a great guide for anyone that's just venturing into puppy Parenthood. Will share!

DawgBlogger said...

Great advice for new pup owners. It is indeed dealing with the bipeds and getting them on the right track and same page (including oneself!) that is the biggest challenge.

Irene McHugh @ said...

OMG! The photo of you and puppy Icy! I love it! And your post covers every base a new puppy parent would need. I laughed while reading your first section on making sure everyone in the family is on the same page. Initially, Matthew thought Bernie would not be on the couch. His couch from his bachelor days. You should have heard him going on about protecting his fine Italian leather! LOL. The only thing I can think of to add for a new dog parent is to find a good green carpet cleaning service, for after all the potty training:)

FiveSibesMom said...

Oh, my goodness...Phoebe and Icy were such adorable puppies!!! When I first started to read this when it came up in my Email, I thought, Cathy added a new puppy to her family! (I bet you want to after writing this! You gave me puppy fever)! Great post - so much wonderful info here for folks who are welcoming a new little one. I'm Pinning to my Bark About board to share!

Sadie said...

There are so many very important points shared in this post. I especially like that you advise people to let the kids meet a new pup one at a time and tell them to move slowly and speak to the dog softly. This initial time is so important to establish trust with a new dog.

Sweet Purrfections said...

I remember checking my house for "kitten safety" before Truffle came to live with me and I was still amazed at the tiny places she could get into. Finding an appropriate and excellent vet was one of the first things I did before bringing them home.

Unknown said...

This post is comprehensive enough to be an ebook, my friend! Great tips and reminders in here for any new puppy owner. The picture of baby Icy is adorable! One thing that we relied on heavily when Junior was a baby to prevent Sulley from playing too rough unintentionally was a play yard. Some people call them x-pens. We set it up in our main living area so the pups could see each other, we could monitor the puppy and the puppy got much needed socialization throughout the day. I can't say enough about how the play yard helped us during that time.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

THanks Carleen! Yes, patience is so important, it takes time for puppies and dogs to learn.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Yes, getting a puppy or dog shouldn't be an impulse decision. It should be well thought out and planned.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

I totally agree, give them time to adjust before overwhelming them with all kinds of stimuli. Taking a new pup to a dog park right away can be a recipe for disaster.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Oh absolutely! If you can afford a professional photo shoot that is such a great idea - it's a great gift idea too. I would have loved that so much for Icy. Most of her puppy pics, and we didn't have all that many, were lost in our computer never to be accessed again due to a PC snafu.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Isn't that the sweetest? I have so few photos of her as a puppy it kills me. My husband wasn't big on taking tons of photos - and most of them were lost when we had a PC issue. That breaks my heart. I miss the puppy days so much.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Thanks Marjorie! I'm so glad you like the information. It is a big decision you need to be prepared for. If the family isn't all on the same page, chaos can quickly happen!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

I think that's a very smart idea for Buffy. Having a puppy around could be a disaster for her. A significantly older dog might be good for her, but you'd have to choose very carefully & make a good match.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

It's so important to take the time to research and plan so you don't have chaos when you bring your new pup home! I'm so happy Icy & Phoebe got along well. They weren't besties or anything but they are good companions for each other, especially when we go out.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Thanks, Kamira! I love that photo with Icy too. I have so few puppy photos of her. I wish I had more. Thanks so much for sharing, I really appreciate that!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Thanks Jana! It's so true, in puppy training classes they always said they were training us as much as or more than the puppies. Bipeds can really screw things up sometimes, LOL!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

I love that photo too, her ears are adorable aren't they! That is so funny about the leather couch, I can just imagine, LOL! A good green carpet cleaner is a great idea, most homes will certainly need that.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

I'm so glad you like the post Dorothy, and thanks for sharing it! I miss those puppy days so much. I don't have many puppy photos of Icy unfortunately, but that is one of my favorites.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

Thanks, I'm glad you liked the post and I appreciate the share! Kids can so easily overwhelm and frighten any puppy or dog - I even see it on our therapy dog visits, kids can get a bit out of hand when there's a group of them and a cute pup!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

It's amazing how kitties can squeeze into small weird places! One of my cats ran & hid under the stove in my apartment and didn't come out for days - it freaked me out so much. Finding a great Vet is definitely one of the most important steps for a new pet.

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

I know, it's so long LOL! I was reading it and wondering if it was too much - but there's so much to consider when bringing home a new puppy or dog. An exercise pen is a great idea, especially when there are other pets or young kids around. Thanks for pointing that out.

Brian's Home Blog said...

We can sure see why you couldn't resist that sweet face!

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them said...

I know right!? She was, and still is, totally irresistible!

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