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New Dog Introduction

by Missy John, certified professional dog trainer and owner of Nerdy K9 Academy

One of the toughest times for new dogs is the first two weeks. Imagine moving away from home, by yourself, to a place that doesn’t speak your language. You will be nervous or maybe terrified. You may start out observing and quiet but then start to act out because you are scared.

As their caretaker you try to navigate, should I turn the lights off or turn every light on? Should I let them cry it out or go comfort them? What is this giant pile of goo and which end did it come out of? As stressful as it is for you, it’s 100 times more stressful for the dog. Fortunately, most issues are completely avoided, by following a two week shutdown.

This process allows a dog to get used to the new environment with the least amount of stress possible.

● Crate train the dog immediately. Keep the crate in a room that is cool, quiet, and away from main traffic. The crate allows a safe place to get used to the sights, sounds, and smells of your house. It also provides a place to decompress and sleep.

● Have the dog on a leash when outside of the crate. This allows them to
safely explore their new environment and boundaries. Using a leash when
in the house is also a great tool for potty training. If you need to move the
dog, the leash allows you some distance so you are not reaching for and
grabbing the dog.

● Other than potty training, no obedience training.

● No car rides, no pet stores, no walks. Nothing but you, your home, your
yard, or the vet.

● Go easy petting and handling the dog. Even petting and being “out” in the home puts pressure on a dog, as everything is so new.

● Exercise is a must to burn off energy and anxiety. Play in your yard and
house and introduce some toys for fetch and fun. Play times and free times should be kept to about 30 minutes. Then put the dog in the crate and let them think and absorb.

● Walks are stressful and being a new person to this dog you have no clue
how the dog is going to react to the walking environment. The dog may react to something and we start correcting it with the leash and we just installed a very stressful moment to the dog in what should be a fun and happy walk.

● Do not introduce other dogs or pets for these two weeks. They can be side by side in the crates if you cannot totally separate, (not nose to nose for they can feel defensive). Some dogs will bond instantly with the other dogs, and this can lead to some other issues, as the dog will look to the other dog(s) for guidance and not you.

● Ignore bad behavior and barking. If you run to them each time they bark,
whine, or cry, you are teaching them that doing those things gets your
attention. The dog must learn to be secure when you are not there. Use a
leash to prevent jumping, exploring counters, etc.

● Two weeks is a pretty average timeline for dogs to adapt to a new
environment. Your dog may require some more time. When you are ready
to loosen restrictions, do so slow and deliberate with boundaries put in

About the Author

Missy JohnMy name is Missy and I am a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and also a certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. I have been training dogs for well over a decade. I started by being thrown into the amazing world of K9 Search and Rescue. This is where I discovered my appreciation for what a well trained dog could accomplish. Life then led me into the path of animal welfare. I have been blessed to work with dogs that were a challenge to say the least. Fearful, abused, neglected, and experiences that will bring you to tears at times. These dogs are the reason I started my company. I enjoy working with dogs but my passion is using training to save their lives.

Click here to book a training session with Missy John