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How to Help Your New Dog Feel Comfortable in Your Home

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Bringing new furry friends home is a very exciting experience, but your pet should feel just as comfortable as you do, in their new home. It will take time for them to become accustomed to a new way of living, but with the right preparation, you can make the process quicker and easier.

Here’s how…

puppy laying on its back

Have Everything in Place First

Start by making a list of all the things you need to get for your pup. Then, ensure all those things are in place or in your home, ready for your new four-legged roommate, before they move in. This means things like bedding, food and water bowls, the food itself, leads, crates, pet insurance, or an alternative such as the Petcube Emergency Fund, a vet, treats for training, and toys.

Being prepared in advance is smart for several reasons, but mostly so that there are no nasty surprises for either you or your pet.

If your pup knows where their bed is, right from the beginning, they’ll quickly associate it with sleeping. The idea is to get patterns and good behaviors settled in right away, without letting the bad behaviors start to rear.

Lots of changes have the opposite effect on dogs, particularly young pups. It can confuse, scare, or frustrate them. Keeping things in one place, at least while you’re all getting established, will keep that anxiety and stress to a minimum.

Give Them a ‘Spot’

Find a quiet, warm (but not hot), cozy spot for a crate, bed, or similar enclosure. Keep it as your pet’s ‘spot’ – somewhere contained where they feel comfortable and safe and can sleep or hide away. Set up this spot in low-traffic areas, such as bedrooms or other rooms that aren’t frequently used. Give them lots of extra love and attention in their spot, too. (Unless your pampered pooch demands isolation, of course!)

When they feel scared or overwhelmed, your pup can run straight to this spot. You can also put them there when it’s time for them to calm down.

Do not use the quiet and safe spot as a punishment, however. If you do, your pet will start to associate the spot with negativity rather than safety.

Establish a Routine

Puppies, just like children, need a routine to thrive. They need to know when breakfast, lunch, and dinner are coming, and when you’re taking them out for a walk. When they don’t know those things, stressful behaviors will start coming out, such as chewing, digging, and snapping.

Serve meals at roughly the same time every day. If possible, take your pet out for walks at the same time(s) every day. Establish a bedtime for your pet, too. Dogs are much, much happier and more content when they have a routine to stick to, and things to look forward to.

Patience is Key

Things are going to go awry from time to time whether you welcome home a young pup from a breeder or an older dog from a rescue facility. Your pet will make mistakes sometimes, such as urinating in the wrong place, eating food that isn’t meant for them, and chewing items you’d rather they didn’t chew.

You’ll make mistakes as an owner, too. You’ll put them in the wrong place, make them whelp in pain when you accidentally play a little too rough and feed them foods that don’t agree with their sometimes-delicate stomachs.

The first few weeks and months are going to involve a whole lot of learning – you are learning about your pet, and your pet is learning about you. If you want a patient pet, you’ll need to show some patience yourself.  

Train Your Pet Immediately

As soon as you get your pet home, start the training process. You can give them a day or so to investigate the new surroundings, but your expectations should be set and made clear to your new pup right from the start.

The sooner you start training your pup, the easier your life will be. They need to know that you’re the boss.

Be Positive, Not Negative

Avoid negative reinforcement at all costs. Shouting at, hitting, or otherwise abusing your dog is NOT the way to educate and bond with them. Aggressive behaviors from you – the owner – will create an atmosphere of fear. Your dog will act in all the ways that dogs act when they’re feeling scared: biting, trying to escape, and being otherwise aggressive or unpredictable.

Introducing a new dog to the house is stressful for all parties involved. Mistakes will happen on both sides. If you wouldn’t want your dog to snap at you, though, it’s not a good idea to snap at them.

Positive reinforcement means treating pets when they’re well-behaved, which helps to build up a loving and trusting relationship. Rewarding bad behavior with attention (whether it’s good or bad) is counterproductive, so ignore unwanted actions or behaviors.

help your new dog feel comfortable by letting him sleep

Start Socialization Early

The sooner you get your new puppy or adult dog comfortable with new visitors to your home, the less they will bark when the doorbell rings. Let your dog know who your friends, family, and other acquaintances are, and they’ll stop looking at them as foes.

Take new pets, regardless of type, to the vet within the first week or two of taking them home. The sooner you do this, the better. You’ll be able to check the health of your pet and get them comfortable with the trip at the same time.

Early socialization not only allows for added comfort and decreased anxiety around the home; it also develops better-coping strategies for your pet in new situations.


There is no definitive how-to guide when it comes to taking new puppies or adult dogs home. Your pet will likely guide you, so it’s important to look out for the cues. If they’re fearful, give them space in their safe spot. If they’re eager to investigate, let them. They must go through their own process just like you must go through yours.

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