Adopting a dog can be super exciting, and also nerve-wracking. Along with all the gear that you will be stocking up on, there are some people that it could be useful to speak with in advance of your dog coming home to allow you to make their forever home transition as smooth as possible.
You may want to take some time off work when your new dog first arrives to help them settle in more successfully. This can be particularly useful if you are wanting to master toilet training, when tackling mild separation anxiety, or when integrating them into a multi-dog household and extra initial supervision is required.
Maybe you are lucky and work in an environment where your dog could come to work with you, but it will likely have to be discussed and agreed beforehand with an accommodating boss and colleagues.
Perhaps you are already registered with a vet for existing or previous pets. If not, it is important to do a bit of research on the vets in your area. Finding an experienced vet with a focus on low-stress handling techniques and one that has a spacious and relaxing waiting area is always desirable. You may want to book them in for a preliminary health check once they have been with you a few days too. Don’t forget to consider pet insurance.
Family and Friends
If you have regular visitors to your house, it is a good idea to give them a heads up in advance of your new family member arriving.
If you don’t already have pets, you may discover that a friend has an allergy that you need to consider or that someone is nervous of dogs and introductions will need to be managed more carefully.
You may also have some kind family members or friends who would be willing to help you out with occasional dog walks or overnight stays if they know in advance.
If you have a nervous or reactive rescue dog, you may need to restrict unexpected visitors while you are working on building their confidence. If you do have visitors, speaking with them in advance of a visit about how to have appropriate interactions while you are working on building your dog's confidence would be sensible.
If you normally babysit, parents may need to make alternative arrangements for a few weeks. Visiting children should be supervised more closely, and you should make sure that your dog has a quiet space to retreat to.
Hopefully, you have doggy loving neighbors who will befriend your newly adopted dog. Regardless, letting your neighbors know about your new arrival is sensible and courteous. Not only will they likely be more understanding if you are having any teething issues with barking or separation anxiety, but it means that if they have dogs or other pets of their own, then you can plan positive introductions, even if it is just through the fence. If your dogs get along, you could even help each other out with dog walks or sitting on occasion.
Will you be out for longer periods during the day without your dog? If you are, this could necessitate employing a dog walker or booking them into doggy daycare. If you already have another dog or dogs, perhaps you already employ someone. If you do, it is still good to give them an advanced heads up to ensure they have space for another dog on their walks and even in their vehicle.
If this is your first dog, don’t forget that good dog walkers can book up quickly, so the sooner you can start making inquiries, the better.
You want to look for a dog walker that does not walk too many dogs at once, has appropriate and safe means of transport, is transparent and uses positive reinforcement training methods when on walks, and someone that is respectful of your wishes. For example, you may not want your dog to be off-leash until they are fully settled in and you have had a chance to evaluate/work on their recall.
Not all dogs are suited to a daycare environment, but if your dog is social and confident and you think they would be a good fit, make sure you visit the facility in advance. Evaluate how happy and comfortable the other dogs appear, how many dogs there are in the space, whether they are separated by size and age, if there are sufficient staff supervising, and if they carry the appropriate licenses.
If you have a vacation planned that you can’t take your dog on, you should look into boarding arrangements as soon as possible too. Do you need to check with a family member if they are available to help out? If they will be home boarded or going to kennels you will need to check the dates in advance, arrange a visit and perhaps book a trial night to make sure that your dog is comfortable and will settle in this different environment.
Dog Training Classes
If you are adopting a puppy or an adult dog that needs some basic training, you could both find it beneficial to attend some classes. Often, reputable classes book up well in advance, so the sooner you can reach out the better. You want to look for an accredited trainer that uses scientific, force-free methods.
If you know the dog you are adopting is nervous around other dogs, has separation anxiety or another specific issue, it may be better for them and more constructive for you to consider booking some one-to-one behavioral sessions with a qualified Applied Animal Behaviorist for more specific guidance. Doing your research and booking the sessions in advance of their arrival could save any delays in being able to start working on a behavior modification plan.