Bringing home a new Pit Bull, Staffordshire Terrier, Bulldog, or French Bulldog is exciting, but it’s also something you want to prepare for ahead of time. There will be an adjustment period for you, your new dog, and other furry, feathered, scaly, or human family members, so you’ll want to be prepared.
For example, whether you get a puppy or adopt an older dog, it can be too overwhelming for them to handle a big shopping trip when you first get them, so you should buy as many supplies as possible before bringing your new dog home.
What do you need to buy before your new pup arrives? What should you do to prepare your home? How should you handle their first days with you? Here are our top tips for bringing home a new dog.
What to Buy
All dogs need more “stuff” than you expect to settle into your home. If you can, bring items from their last home, shelter, or breeder to help them feel more comfortable. Before bringing your pooch home, make sure you have:
Food - some old and some new if you plan to switch. Always change foods gradually to avoid stomach upset.
Water and food bowls appropriate for your dog’s size.
Collar and harness. Even if you plan to walk your dog on a harness, they should have a collar for their tags.
Dog toys that are the appropriate size and type for your dog.
Crate. Crate training now can make your dog feel more comfortable down the road at a vet or dog groomer, plus they’re handy for potty training. Get one large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in, but not much bigger than that.
Pee pads if you’re bringing home a puppy or a senior dog with incontinence issues.
Bed and crate pad. Your dog should have a comfortable place to lie down in and out of their crate.
Food puzzle toys. These toys encourage your dog to work to get their food. They’re a great way to keep your pup busy, get mental and physical stimulation, and prevent boredom.
Kong toy. You can fill a Kong with peanut butter or canned food and freeze it, then give it to your pooch as a special treat when you have to leave them alone for a while.
Once you’ve gotten everything you need, you should set up a special decompression space in a quiet part of your home with everything your new dog needs to start feeling comfortable in your home.
What Is Decompression?
Decompression is a time period where a new dog adjusts to their surroundings. Puppies and newly adopted dogs tend to be anxious when coming to a new home, and they need the time and a safe place to acclimate themselves to their new environment.
How to Prepare Your Home
To help your new dog decompress safely, you should limit their access to only one or two areas of your home and keep them away from other pets for at least a couple of days. Set up their crate in a quiet room with the door closed, for example. As their anxiety decreases, you can start to let them explore the rest of the house.
Introducing Your New Dog to Other Pets
Hopefully, you had a chance to introduce your new dog to your current pups before bringing the new family member home. It’s often best to have dogs meet each other in a neutral location. However, if you didn’t have the opportunity, or if you have a cat or other pets that can’t easily be taken somewhere to meet a new pet, you should introduce your new dog slowly and carefully to the other furry family members.
One thing you can do is to swap items between your new and existing pets so they get the chance to smell each other before coming face to face. After your new pup has had a chance to decompress, you can try introducing them to your other pets with a baby gate in between them or outside on leashes.
Establishing a Routine
Dogs thrive on routine. If you can wake up, go to bed, feed your dog, and walk them at similar times every day, your new Pittie, Staffy, Bulldog, or Frenchie will start to settle into the routine and lose their anxiety.
There can always be bumps in the road when welcoming a new dog into your home, but if you follow these steps, you increase your chances of having a smooth transition. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet or a professional dog trainer. Health and behavioral problems are both typically “fixed” more easily the sooner they are addressed.