How to settle in your new puppy or dog

01 Jun 2023

By taking the steps to make sure your new dog or puppy feels safe, secure and welcome in their new space they will settle much quicker and feel more confident.

Puppy sitting on a sofa looks around at camera while being stroked on the head

Bringing home a new dog or puppy for the first time is exciting! However, a lot of dogs can also find moving into a new environment, full of different smells and new people can also be a little daunting at first. Because of this, it’s important to take things slowly in the first few days and weeks.

Here are a few tips that can help your new dog to settle in when you first bring them home.

You can follow along with the tips using this video, and they are also written out below.

1. Don't pressure them

The first few days are an important time. This is when you start building your dog’s trust in you and help them get used to their new routine and environment. You’re essentially getting to know each other so you should focus on helping them feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Keep the pressure off them during this time and don’t expect to do too much straight away. It’s natural to be excited about finally having your dog home, but they need chance to get used to you and their new family first, so you should try and avoid having visitors for the first few days at least.

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2. Give them a safe space

To help your dog get used to their environment on their own terms, make sure they have a safe space where they can take themselves away to if they need some quiet time. This could be an open crate with some blankets over it, or just a comfy bed in a quiet place. This space should be somewhere away from people, in a place where they can be safely left alone. Make sure everyone in the household is aware to not disturb the dog if they choose to take themselves to their safe space.

3. Start as you mean to go on

If there are any household rules you want to stick to it’s important that these are set up from day one as a bad habit can be hard to break once started! For example, if you don’t want your dog to go on the sofa, that rule needs to be in place from day one. Instead, play with them on the floor to teach them that fun things happen off the sofa.

If there are any areas of the house that are less safe for a dog, or you would prefer they didn’t go into, you can use baby gates to keep specific areas off limits or keep certain doors shut to prevent curious noses poking their way in.

4. Let them settle at their own pace

Some dogs will settle into their new environment quicker than others. Whilst some will make themselves at home immediately and act like they’ve been there forever, others may take a bit of time to adjust, especially for the first few days.

The important thing is to allow them to settle into their new environment at their own speed. If initially they want to spend some time by themselves, that’s fine, and most importantly, it’s not personal. Your dog will let you know when they are ready for more interaction and will appreciate being allowed to settle in their own time.

Download this guidance as a handy advice sheet and use it to train regularly: