Dog-proofing your house and making as many arrangements as you can ahead of time will help you have more time with your new dog once it is home!

Below we have listed some suggestions of things to do prior to bringing your new dog home. These suggestions have been divided into three main categories:

1) Getting your house ready

  • Dog-proofing your house is important in reducing the risk of accidents that might happen when you bring home a new dog. This includes removing potentially dangerous items that can be chewed or swallowed (e.g., electric cords, needle and thread, rubber bands, paper clips, children’s toys) from anywhere they can reach.
  • Getting supplies before you bring your new dog home will help you feel more prepared for your new dog and will allow you to spend more time with your new dog once it is home. These supplies can include: food, dishes, bedding, crate, collar, leash, toys, and so on! For a more comprehensive list of supplies, check out our budget page.
  • You might consider investing in a crate. Crate training can be beneficial in a variety of ways, including: as an aid for housetraining, getting your puppy or dog used to confinement, preventing destructive behaviours, and keeping a dog or puppy safe while unsupervised. The goal of crate training is to teach the pet that its crate is a “safe place”. The crate should be seen as a place for napping, relaxing, and a place of security. For more information on crate training, please visit our crate training page.

In addition, if you have other pets, you might want to consider doing the following:

  • If you can, set up a separate room for the time being. Allowing your new dog to have full access to your house might make it feel overwhelmed. Setting up a small space will allow your new dog to get used to one area at a time and allow for a slow transition. This area should have all the essentials for your new pet – check out our budget page for a list of initial supplies. Puppy-proofing this room is also important so that your new pets don’t get injured or stuck when they are exploring their new room.
  • It would be a good idea to have different belongings for both pets. Sharing is sometimes difficult for pets, especially at the beginning. Giving each pet their own toys, bowls, and bed is very important in reducing anxiety for new and resident pets.

2) Making arrangements

  • If you don’t already have a veterinarian, it would be beneficial to begin trying to find a veterinarian that you feel comfortable with and can see yourself establishing a positive relationship with. A positive relationship between you and your veterinarian will help you feel comfortable to openly discuss your dog and any problems you may be experiencing with your dog. It might be helpful to talk to pet-owning friends and family members to see if they have recommendations. You can also check out the "Got a pet? Get a vet" website. Once you find a veterinarian, it is a good idea to schedule your new dog’s first appointment.
  • It might be helpful to begin exploring where you might take your puppy or dog to obedience classes. These classes will help you teach your dog which behaviours are acceptable and correct which behaviours are not.
  • We encourage you to begin thinking about your plans for socializing your new dog. “Socializing” a dog means getting the dog used to a variety of experiences (e.g., different people, animals, environments, sounds, etc.) in a positive way. It is particularly important for these experiences to be things your dog will encounter on a regular basis in your home or with your lifestyle. For more information, go to our socialization page.

3) Car ride home

  • The car ride home is the beginning of training your new dog. It is important to have a carrier or crate for them in the car if that is how you would like them to ride on a normal trip. Make sure to bring no other animals; this is already a big change and your new dog may be very stressed.
  • Familiar smells can help to calm animals. Bringing your new dog home with a blanket or bedding that they were using before will help lower their anxiety.