Bringing Home Your New Companion – Setting Yourself Up For Success

It’s important to set yourself up for success when bringing home a new dog. They will be a part of your family for many years to come, so you’ll want to make sure that you start things out on the right foot! The following post is information put together by myself and the president of Shine On Animal Rescue. You can find us on Facebook, and IG.


Chances are, your current dog(s) met your new family member at the adoption appointment, so they should be getting along well. It is fine to just bring them home and let them be together, since they’ve already met. Introducing your new dog to cats and poultry(if you have them) can be a bit more tricky. With cats, the dogs are put on leash and walked up the cat. If they show too much interest, walk them into another room and try again later. Often times a cat will swat at a new dog, and the dog will leave them alone after that. With poultry, leash the dog and walk them up to the birds. If the dog tries to chase, turn around and walk away. This may need to be repeated several times. We will not adopt a dog out to a family with small animals such as cats or poultry if they are known to be bad with them, so if you are bringing a dog into a home with a cat, the dog passed the “cat test” at it’s foster home. If you’re bringing it into a home with chickens, that means it passed the “chicken test” at it’s foster home.

Go for a walk!

Your dog is in a new environment. It is highly recommended that you take your new dog out on a walk around the neighborhood, so that if it ever gets out of the yard or gets away from you, it will have some sense of where it is and how to get back home.

Crate Training

When trained properly, a dog will view a crate as his or her “den”, a safe place that they can retreat to when they are nervous or just want to take a nap. We highly recommended crating your new dog when he or she has to be left alone, and at night. This doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, and is not required, but we do recommend doing it for at least 2 weeks after your new dog has come home. In our experience, this helps to keep the dog, and your belongings, safe when you can’t supervise them. All dogs adopted from our rescue are crate trained or in the process of being crate trained. A “large” dog crate(appropriately sized for a Border Collie-sized dog) can be bought at most Walmarts for only $60. It’s always good to have a crate on hand, in case you ever need one. Remember to never use the crate punishment. You want your dog to like the crate!

Meet the neighbors

If your neighbors that you share a fence with have a dog, ask if your dogs can meet to prevent possible fence fighting or barking at each other. It’s best that everyone gets along!

Leashes are your friend!

We highly recommend keeping your new family member leashed in the house for the first few days, then watching them closely after this. Dogs adopted from any rescue, ours included, may try to chew, potty in the house, etc. We believe in full disclosure so if a dog has done any of these things in their foster home, we will be sure to let you know – this way you can know what to expect while the dog is adjusting to your daily routine. Keeping them leashed and/or supervising them at all times for at least the first week helps to prevent problems such as accidents in the house.

Potty Breaks

We recommend taking your new dog out to go potty 10-15 minutes after every meal & drink of water, and every few hours. If you see the dog start to sniff around in the house, immediately take them outside as this is an indicator that they need to potty. Take them to the same potty spot every time as this makes housebreaking easier if the dog isn’t already housebroken.

S/A Prevention

Separation Anxiety(s/a) is a common problem in dogs going to new homes, especially when they come to their foster homes. The dog has gone from a terrifying shelter to a completely new environment, so they’re bound to be a bit nervous. Dogs will also often be nervous when going to a new home. Nervous dogs will cling to their people, and consequently freak out when the people leave their sight or the house. To prevent separation anxiety, we recommend giving the dogs no time to explore on the first few days. I keep my foster dogs crated their first couple days, then slowly increase the amount of time they’re allowed out with me, starting with one hour then increasing by half hour increments. Since doing this, the number of dogs I’ve had that developed s/a has drastically reduced. Separation anxiety is a serious problem – it is like a non-stop panic attack for the dog while his or her people are away, so preventing it is very important. If the dog you have adopted shows signs of separation anxiety, we will have let you know. If we didn’t mention separation anxiety to you, that means the dog has is not exhibiting any symptoms of separation anxiety when we leave.

Have fun!!

Last but not least, enjoy your new family member! Go for a walk, relax on the couch, and just have fun together. “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”


4 thoughts on “Bringing Home Your New Companion – Setting Yourself Up For Success

  1. Great tips! I have another. Providing toys that work their brains has worked wonders for our dogs. We have a cube that dispenses a piece of dog food when rolled just right, and cramming something deep inside a Kong works well too. And then of course you can have more than one dog so they can keep each other company 🙂

    • That’s a good one, and especially important for Border Collies who need mental stimulation. My favorite toy is the Everlasting Treat Ball, Nelly LOVES it and has to work really, really hard to get the treat out of the middle. By the time she’s given up or gotten it out, she is mentally exhausted and she is covered in slobber. 🙂

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