Bringing a new adult dog home, acclimating them to their new environment and training them is certainly tough, but of course worth it, for the unconditional love of your new furry family member. 

Here are some pointers to ease your way into a harmonic home!


Once at home it is important to make puppy feel comfortable. They need to establish your home as their new home.  Allow your puppy to explore by sniffing around. Keep them on leash inside — free run of the house is still far in their future.  This also means establishing their ‘room’ or place within your home they can call their own. In most cases, this is their crate. 

Read about crate introduction here.

The bane of all pet parent’s existence. Okay, yes, that is a bit dramatic. Dramatics aside, it is quite the task! It’s important to stay vigilant with your pup from the get-go if you want them to be house trained as soon as possible. For small breeds pee pads certainly help keep the house clean to start but is a bad habit to begin. 

Being mindful of your dogs habits will allow you to forecast when they need to go and get them outside before accidents happen. 

A basic rule of thumb of when your pup ‘needs to go’:

When they wake up, after they eat or if they are sniffing around. As soon as you notice any of the above, get that doggy out the door. 

Read about ‘Potty Training” here.

The first place you and your dog should go together is, you guessed it, straight to the vet for a checkup.

Your dog comes with their core vaccines

The DAPPV2 – Covers Canine Distemper (CDV), Canine Parvovirus (CPV- 2) and, Canine Adenovirus (CAV-2). These are highly contagious viral diseases with some being fatal and are spread directly through contaminated feces, urine or indirectly through the air.

They also receive the non-core vaccine Bordetella.

This is a bacterial based disease also known as kennel cough. Most doggie daycares require this. Even with your dog vaccinated for Bordetella, it may still get kennel cough. It is just like the human cold.

Occasionally some of our dogs also have a rabies vaccine. Your adoption coordinator will tell you if they have.

The first visit can be strictly for a physical exam and weigh-in. It’s a good opportunity for your pup to meet some nice new people, get handled by them and get some yummy treats. Depending on when his last set of vaccinations took place, you can then schedule the next round of vaccinations and preventative treatments.

Read about “Vaccinations and Going to the Vet’ here.

Here are six things your puppy should be learning:

  1. No teeth on people — ever!
  2. No jumping up on people.
  3. Being touched is okay (ear, paws etc.)
  4. Meeting people is great!
  5. Going to the vet is fun!
  6. To potty outside.

Don’t wait. Start training.


The longer you hand-feed, the better. This will help your puppy to develop a soft mouth, so they don’t nip or bite when taking things from your hands. It teaches trust and self-control. It helps them learn not to scarf down their food and it creates a dog who will likely be easy to train because they will be so focused on you.

Measure out their food for the day and use it while you are training. One bowl of kibble becomes 100 individual rewards for great manners! 

Teach things such as sit, down, come, high-five, roll over and more. You should also start to work on important commands like “drop it” and “give it,” which not only improve their manners but can help to keep them safe. 

Meeting new people and having lots of different experiences is important. A puppy who has met only middle-aged people or only your friends or neighbors doesn’t cope as well when he meets other types of people, such as young children, people wearing uniforms, people in wheelchairs or people from other cultures.

A little adversity during this time is good for your pup’s adventurous soul. Low amounts of stress during the socialization period can prepare a puppy to be ready for anything. 

IMPORTANT: If it’s a place where other dogs might go, carry him in a puppy sling or backpack and don’t expose him to other dogs until your veterinarian tells you he’s had enough vaccinations.  A puppy needs 3 sets of vaccines before being exposed to other dogs.

Generally, you shouldn’t start long activities, running or biking with your puppy before one year of age; any earlier and you can risk affecting their growing joints and muscles.
Some large and giant breeds may not be ready until later.

Need to tire out your puppy? Good news! Dogs require mental stimulation. 

High-drive, working breeds, such as Malinois, Border Collies, Terriers, Huskies, and German Shepherds need more mental stimulation than other breeds.

Working training sessions into their exercise routine is just as important and will help settle their active minds.

A rule of thumb for walks and activities, is to do five minutes of exercise/brain games per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown. 

Normal Puppy Behavior

Although we love our puppies like children, they’re not children – they’re baby dogs, and dogs do things that their human family members often don’t understand! 

Many common and NORMAL puppy behaviors include:

  • Biting/nipping or growling
  • Chewing stuff
  • Whining when crated
  • Getting anxious when left alone
  • Submissive urination

They don’t understand why they shouldn’t ‘potty’ in the house or why you get upset when they use your dining room table as a chew toy. They need plenty of time to learn new habits (and to forget old ones), so don’t expect overnight success with any behavior issues.

It can take weeks, of constant and consistent redirection for your little one to learn what you expect and develop good manners.

So, it’s up to you to teach them how to fit in with their new family and what the ‘house rules’ are.