Bringing Home an Adopted Dog: What You Need

Bringing home an adopted dog can bring many family benefits

So, you’ve decided on bringing home an adopted dog. Pet parenting, here you come! Hopefully, you’ve already thought about key costs and the positives as well as the potential negatives. (If you haven’t, read part one in this series, our Dog adoption checklist for new pup parents).

Now let’s look at what you need to bring this baby home and do it well.

Dog equipment must-haves

You’ve found the perfect pooch for you ???? Now, before you bring them home, you need to puppy-proof your home.

Think of it in terms of having a walking toddler with sharp teeth and boundless energy.

You’ll need to do things like pack away cords, shoes and other low-lying valuables. Pick up your plants and put them somewhere high, remembering to check and remove toxic plants in and outside the house. And so much more…

Imagine you’re a curious pup and look at your home from their perspective. Literally – get down low and check it out through their eyes.

Before picking them up

For bringing home an adopted dog you’ll also need:

  • A safe dog harness or carrier for transporting home (read more about travelling with your pet)
  • Appropriate-sized crate or cosy dog bed and bedding
  • Baby gates or similar, to prevent access to forbidden areas of the house
  • Chew toy and ball (at least a couple, ideally more)
  • Collar with ID tag (including your phone and microchip number)
  • Lead and poop bags for walks
  • Treats for training and reassurance
  • Food and water bowls (ask the rescue/shelter which food they were using and get the same one. Transition to new foods slowly).
  • Accident clean up stuff
  • Dog insurance for your new pooch


Don’t forget to pet proof your car too.

Do you need pet insurance?

Research has shown that many pet owners haven’t seriously considered insuring their pooch. In fact, more than 3 out of 4 people haven’t investigated it at all.

But when you consider that vet bills for dogs especially are on the rise and can cost thousands. It makes sense to protect yourself from this extra cost. If they get sick or have an accident, you don’t want to make a love versus finance decision.

Plus, you might benefit from a Wellness Benefits Package like PD Insurance offers. Where you can claim treatments done when your pup is well – microchipping, desexing, annual vaccinations, boarding fees and so on)

We never want you to have to put a dollar value on your dog’s life, so at PD we make it easy for you to choose. We have three levels of pet insurance cover starting at just $1 a day. Nice!

bringing home an adopted dog to a cat

What to expect from your fur baby

No matter how happy and healthy a dog was before you met him/her, being in a shelter or foster home can be stressful and confusing. You need to be very mindful of that when bringing home an adopted dog.

Even if they’ve come from a breeder, when you arrive home for the first time your dog won’t yet understand you’re their new parent. Let alone that your place and its surrounds are their forever home.

They will be unclear about their furry future and for this reason, will be in self-preservation mode. They may not begin to show their real personality for a few weeks or months. You might have heard this referred to as your dog’s “decompression (or honeymoon) phase”.

In these early days and weeks, it’s important you set firm boundaries and establish a routine, so your dog will know what you expect of them. This will help them feel confident and safe. Understanding this will help you avoid some common mistakes.  

Tips for new pet parenting

These are our tips on what to do as a new doggie parent:

  • Be patient with them: Every dog is different and will respond to their new home in their own way.
  • Stay calm yet firm: When redirecting your dog never raise your voice; speaking calmly and confidently.
  • Restrict your new dog’s access to start with their own comfy space: Put a crate or comfy bed in the corner of the room so they can sit, watch and learn. It will also teach them that’s where they sleep, if that’s your plan.
  • Restrict visitors and introduce other pets slowly: New sights, smells, people and other pets to deal with can be overwhelming and cause anxiety.
  • Provide reassurance: Praise and reward your dog during times when stressful situations can’t be avoided. This will help them associate these things with signs of comfort, affection and yummy treats.
  • Let them come to you: Avoid showering your dog with too much love and affection from the moment you get home, or this may cause unnecessary anxiety when you have to leave later on.
  • Establish a routine: Your dog will find comfort in their new feed, play, toileting routine (you’re responsible in training them to toilet outside!) and will feel safe over time.
  • Keep them on a leash: This will help you stay in control and ensure the safety of your pet.
  • Exercise daily: Socialise your dog and allow them to burn off any nervous energy or stress with you by their side. Reassure them with praise and treats during walks.


By understanding how your dog’s transition into your life will work, and by following these guidelines, you’ll begin to bond. In all likelihood, they’ll begin to feel like part of your family in no time at all.

If after about six weeks you’re struggling with some niggling problems, speak to a puppy school or trainer (if you haven’t already). This will help you catch issues early that will stop you bonding with your pooch.

Bringing home an adopted dog – over to you

Have you any experience with bringing home an adopted dog and have some tips to share? We’d love to know below.

How would you, like to proceed?

How would you, like to proceed?