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Congratulations! You have a new family member.

Adopting a new Pet can be a very exciting adventure, but it is very normal to expect that there will be a transitional period that can be both rewarding and challenging for everyone.

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Description automatically generatedMost new Pet adopters think that when they adopt a new dog, it will immediately be much happier than it was at the shelter it came from. It is important to remember though, that your dog will need to adjust to your home and its new family. This can take some time and will require some effort and patience on your part. This period of transition can be both rewarding and challenging so having realistic expectations will help you and your new Pet adjust much easier.


Your new Pet will need time to adjust to the boundaries, rules and habits of its new home and family. It can also take time for the dog to feel comfortable and to trust that this is his forever home. He may do a few things that you wish he wouldn’t or he may be more energetic than you thought he was. This can all seem very overwhelming and will take time before you see your new Pet’s true personality. It is recommended that you give your dog about a week to adjust in your home without a lot of stimulation like taking him to training classes, meeting new friends and extended family, or overwhelming outings. Adjusting to a new home can be very stressful to your new dog and it will be easier on him if his environment is quieter during this time.


Hannah recommends that you seek advice from a member of our training team so you have established support available should any challenges arise.

Hannah’s dog trainers will place you in the appropriate training class for you and your Pet.


1. Walking Equipment:

  • Leash (avoid the retractable leash) and instead buy a 4-6′ leash made of nylon or leather).  Collar: buckle or belt (Martingale) style. Attach tags that have your contact information.
  • No pull equipment like a front clip or a head harness

2. Sleeping Arrangements:

  • Crate
  • Pet’s own bed-It’s best not to have your Pet sleep in your bed, at least at first, until your Pet has adjusted to his new home and knows the rules and ranking system in the family (you can inadvertently make the dog feel like he is the leader over you if he is elevated in the sleeping area).
  • Quiet room with closed door

3. Food

  • Veterinarian recommended
  • Treats recommended by veterinarian

4. Toys

  • Chew items
  • Food puzzle


The first 30 – 60 days after you bring your new Pet home is the best time to set the tone for your new relationship and the expectations of your Pet in his new environment. Your dog will adjust easier and have less anxiety if he has a predictable routine, rules and structure that he can depend on from the beginning rather than spoiling him initially and then expecting him to adjust to rules and boundaries later on after he has adjusted.

  • Feeding Time(s) – Free feeding (leaving food down all the time) a dog is not recommended for several reasons. Dogs are both physically and emotionally healthier if they are fed predictable meals in the amount recommended initially by the veterinarian and then adjusted slightly to the ideal body shape. Ask your veterinarian what the ideal body shape of your dog should be. It is easier to predict when your dog will eliminate if you feed meals because they usually eliminate after a meal.
  • Bed Time – Dogs should go to bed when you go to bed and rise when you get up (this may take some time to establish, especially with a young puppy).
  • Exercise Time – All dogs need a minimum of 30 min of aerobic exercise daily (walks, swimming, fetch…).
  • Elimination Training – Even a dog that has been elimination trained, will need to be trained to eliminate where you want him to. Have him drag a leash when you are present and frequently take him out on leash, to the elimination area. Take treats with you and then praise and reward your dog immediately after he eliminates.
  • Leadership Ranking – All humans in the house should be a non-threatening leader to the new Pet. Dogs are pack animals and have less anxiety when they have a consistent leader in the family. All resources and attention should be earned by the new Pet (have Pet follow an instruction to earn all resources) and on the Pet Parents terms (when it is convenient for the Pet Parent). Seek advice of a trainer for specifics.
  • Mental Stimulation – Training classes, obedience practice, games, toys, off property adventures… You are never done building a relationship with your dog. All the time and effort you put in to overcoming the challenges of adopting a new Pet will be so worth the effort. Your dog will be a new member of the family and can provide you and your family with comfort, fun, entertainment and endless joy and love.

The more you work on shaping your relationship with your dog, the more rewarding it will be. Relationships need tending and daily maintenance in order to flourish and grow. If you put in the work and effort and set realistic expectations, that both of you can meet, it can be a beautiful and satisfying experience.

Looking to adopt a Pet?  If you haven’t taken the final step to adopt a Pet and are still in the research stage, please visit Hannah’s available Placement Pets or call a Placement Coordinator at (971) 717-6023.