How to Bring an Adopted Dog Home

An adopted dog is a happy dog.
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An adopted dog will often need an adjustment period and a lot of extra love and attention while he adapts to being part of a loving family again. Shelter dogs have unknown and often unhappy pasts, but can blossom when they become a member of a family. Time and patience will result in a happy dog that your family will treasure.

Step 1

Prepare your home beforehand. Remove any items he could choke on and put up any electrical wires. Change is stressful, and behavior problems may arise while he adjusts to his new environment. Set up a crate or a safe room where he can stay when you are not home to watch him. Place his food and water bowls in the area so he sees it as his.

Step 2

Walk him around your property first when you bring him home, keeping him on the leash so he doesn't wander off. Give him plenty of time to investigate every inch of the yard if he wants to, and lead him to all areas he will use. Walk him long enough for him to empty his bladder as well so he will be less likely to mark indoors.

Step 3

Take him inside when he is done exploring the yard. Keep him on the leash as he explores his new home. Walk him from room to room, allowing him to stop and explore as much as he wants. Do not rush this process. If he attempts to mark his new territory, stop him by saying "no" loudly and take him outside to urinate.

Step 4

Show him his crate or area where his food and water bowls are. Fill both bowls and allow him to eat or drink if he wants. Remove his leash and allow him to roam freely, but watch him carefully. Take him outdoors to potty every two hours. Shower him with affection and hand out treats when he potties in the right place or behaves properly.

Step 5

Continue keeping him under supervision for several weeks while he adjusts. Once he is comfortable in his new home and has learned what is acceptable, he can be left to roam freely if that is what you prefer.


  • When introducing a new dog to a home with other dogs, allow him time to explore his new domain before introducing existing dogs. Make introductions slowly, with both dogs on leash to keep control in your hands.

Items You Will Need

  • Crate
  • Food
  • Food bowls
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Treats