Congratulations on adopting your new furry friend!  It’s always exciting to welcome a new pet into your home. 

Bringing any new dog into your home is an adjustment for you, your family, and the dog. The first few days of a rescue dog’s life in your home will determine how your relationship will develop. During these first days, it’s crucial that you develop a bond with the animal, establishing boundaries and rules that the dog will need to learn. This is essential to ensure a smooth acclimation of a new dog into the household.

Rescue dogs have traumatic pasts, and you’ll need to guide them as they adjust to your home. This adjustment will require lots of preparation, patience, and care on your part. Particularly, these are seven things you’ll need to do:

1. Prepare Your Home To Receive A Dog

The planning you do beforehand will have an impact on how smoothly you’ll able to acclimate your new rescue pet into your household. Before you bring your dog home for the first time, make sure you have everything you need, such as a dog bed, crate, food, toys, treats, collar, tag, leash, etc.

It’s worth the time to dog-proof your home. Dogs are curious and will want to explore their new home. Make sure that your dog can’t get to anything that you don’t want them to reach.

2. Prioritize Your Dog’s Health And Safety

If you’re bringing home a new dog, it’s a good idea to visit the vet. Keeping your dog healthy is the key to keeping them happy.

Different dog breeds have different medical needs and health risks. For example, pitbulls and dogs that look like pit bulls but aren’t, like other flat-nosed dogs, may have difficulty chewing and swallowing.

A vet can warn you of potential health risks to ensure your dog lives a long and healthy life. You might also consider enrolling in a pet insurance plan just in case you run into any unforeseen health issues.

3. Bringing The Dog Home

On the day you bring the dog home, you’ll want to walk the dog through all areas they’ll be allowed in. Don’t let your dog into areas that they’re not supposed to have access to just because it’s their first day, it’ll only confuse them later. 

Introduce your dog to other pets and people living in your home. Adopted dogs, especially adult rescue dogs, will need space when they first come home. Don’t invade the dogs’ personal space and let them come to you. Also, don’t leave any child unsupervised with the dog.

The dog will need time to decompress and acclimate, so try to make the first few days as calm and as uneventful as possible.

4. Building Trust

Once again, the dog will need space and time to adjust. Learn to read your dog’s body language. Stay calm but assertive when enforcing rules or correcting bad behavior. Your new dog will need lots of care and attention. Be patient as your dog learns about its new surroundings. Training your dog helps them settle into their new environment, and it’ll also strengthen your relationship.

5. Establishing The Routine

Creating a routine can help your dog feel more comfortable in your home. A routine may include daily walks, feeding, and sleeping habits. 

For example, it’s important to establish a feeding area and feeding times. Remember that dogs are usually protective of their food, so give them space while eating. As your dog becomes more familiar with you, they may allow you to be close to them while they eat.

6. Teach Rules From The Start

The first few days will be a learning experience for your adopted rescue dog. What they learn about their new home during this time will set their expectations of what they can and can’t do.

It can be challenging to train a dog to follow new rules after they’ve already learned that something is okay. For example, if you allow a dog onto the bed, then they’ll learn it’s okay to jump onto the bed. If you suddenly decide they’re no longer allowed on the bed, it’ll confuse your dog. In their mind, they’re just doing something that they know is okay.

7. Don’t Allow Bad Behavior Out Of Sympathy

As tempting as it may be, it’s counterproductive to allow bad behavior just because it’s their first few days. Remember that the first few days are crucial in defining the relationship between you and your pet.

Now is the time when your new dog learns how much they have to obey you. Be firm, calm, and assertive. Don’t let your dog ignore instructions or get away with any destructive behavior. You’ll need to be patient while your dog learns to follow their new instructions—spend time teaching now than have difficulty correcting later.


After bringing home your new rescue dog, it’s important to remember that the first few days should be all about making your new dog feel comfortable and loved. Follow the seven things listed here to ensure you and your dog have a smooth transition as your new furry child becomes part of your home.

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About the author

Mark Larsen is a pet lover and works in an animal rescue center. He chose to work in the center because of his care and love for animals. He shares this passion by writing animal-related topics in his blog posts. Mark enjoys playing with his dogs Hunter and Sky.