Woman and dog looking at camera

How to Strengthen Your Relationship With a Newly Adopted Dog

By Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz

Congratulations! You’ve adopted a dog who needs a home. That’s the easy part, but building a bond with your newly adopted dog may take more effort. Here’s where time and patience come in handy.

Keep Life Low-Key

For the first few weeks, limit the number of experiences you expose your dog to, and resist the urge to lavish too much attention all at once. Keep things low-key to prevent him from becoming overstimulated. This will also give him time to learn about you at his own pace.

Get Comfortable

During the first days when many newly adopted dogs are settling into their permanent homes, it’s common for them to feel stressed and anxious. This may cause separation anxiety in the form of destructive behavior, crying at night, and emotional and digestive issues, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. For serious health conditions, visit a veterinarian right away. With behavior or training issues, give your pup time to adjust before seeking professional advice. (If your dog exhibits aggressive behavior, however, seek help immediately.) Don’t skimp on providing positive reinforcement for desired behaviors, which will motivate your dog to please you.

Stock Up

To ease the transition to your household, provide a safe environment for your dog and shop for the supplies he’ll need before he arrives. Here are a few must-haves:
  • Collar: Choose a well-fitting buckle or snap design. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.

  • Food and water bowls: Choose stainless steel bowls to hold your dog’s food and water.

  • Identification tag and microchip: Include your current contact information on your dog’s ID tag and make sure that it’s securely attached to his collar. If he doesn’t already have one, schedule a trip to the veterinarian to have a microchip implanted, which is a painless, permanent way to identify your dog should he become lost.

  • Leash and harness: When exercising around other dogs and people who share common walkways, choose a short, strong leash to prevent tangling. The Four Paws® Comfort Control Harness prevents a dog from pulling on the leash; the back-hook harness provides tug-free control.

  • Retractable leash: If you take your dog along on road trips, a Four Paws® Retractable Leash comes in handy during potty breaks. Designed with a sturdy rubberized comfort grip, this leash has a sure-stop break to limit your dog’s range. A Four Paws® Reflective Retractable Leash makes nighttime exercise and bathroom breaks a lot more convenient—and it keeps your dog visible from more than 200 feet away!

  • Toys: Chew toys help keep a dog busy and out of mischief. The durable Four Paws® Crunch & Crackle Tug encourages chewing for hours and helps massage canine teeth and gums.

Welcoming your adopted dog into your home with his own supplies will help him realize that he’s found his forever home. It won’t take long for him to bond with you and form a lasting friendship.

Four Paws®, Magic Coat®, and Wee-Wee® products are available at major pet stores everywhere in the U.S. Please check with your local retailer for product availability near you.