Five trainer-approved tips to help your new dog settle in

Woman and dog cuddling on couch
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you recently adopted a puppy or older dog? If so, congratulations! Welcoming a new fur friend into your family is an exciting time, but it can also come with a few challenges too.

Sometimes we get so caught up in selecting the best dog treats, food and a comfortable bed, that we forget that our dog's mental and emotional wellbeing is just as important as their physical health and comfort. 

And for dogs who are busy settling into a new environment, it's not always smooth sailing as they get used to life away from their littermates, previous owner or shelter friends.

Thankfully, expert trainer and behaviorist Renee Rhoades has come to the rescue with an Instagram post where she shares some simple tips that will help your new canine companion settle in. Let's take a look...

1. Give them space: "There can be so much change in a short period of time for newly adopted dogs," says Rhoades. "Set them up somewhere that is quiet and where they can get some much-needed rest."

2. Avoid too many visitors: If you've just welcomed a new fur friend into your family then we know how eager you'll be to show them off. But Rhoades issues a word of caution when it comes to introducing them to new people.

"The first thing we want to do is tell everyone about the new arrival," she says. Tell everyone but keep the 'showing off' to a minimum. Your dog needs time to rest after all the stress."

3. Avoid doing too many things: When it comes to ways for improving your relationship with your dog, it's best to start slowly when it comes to building your bond with your new canine companion. 

"Of course you're excited about your new family member and you want to start showing them to the world. Wait 72hrs+ before starting to expose them to more than their home turf," Rhoades advises.

4. Don't worry about training: We know, skipping the training sounds like odd advice, right? But Rhoades says it's important to take the pressure off your pup during those first few weeks. "Their mind is already so full learning about their new life and routines." However, when you are ready to start teaching important skills and behaviors, here's 27 practical tips for training your dog on your own

5. Nurture secure attachment: "Your new addition's whole world has suddenly been flipped upside down," Rhoades explains. "They need a safe, calm person that they can start to trust and form a bond with. Be there to comfort them."

Every dog and relationship is different, so even if you've raised lots of dogs before, don't be afraid to seek help if you feel you and your pup would benefit from some extra support.

Our guide to how to spot dog trainer red flags is a helpful resource when it comes to ensuring you seek out the advice and guidance of a qualified professional. 

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Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.