California Miniature
Schnauzer Rescue

black schnauzer

Taking Your New Dog Home

Congratulations on adding a new member to your family. We love our puppies and rescue dogs and we are excited that you are ready to love the new member of your family. These tips, based on our experience and the experience of others, are designed to help you make this a smooth transition for your new pet and to ensure long-term success.

Key Points

  1. Get a good collar that fits properly and an ID tag with your name, number and address on it.
  2. Keep a leash on your dog at all times, even in the house at first. If you need to gently correct the dog, it is better for everyone to simply pick up the leash rather than yelling “NO” like a lunatic while lunging at the dog and grabbing his collar.
  3. Be vigilant about open doors and gates. It takes only seconds for a new dog to bolt out into the street.
  4. Give your new dog a calm environment, create a schedule for eating and walking. Slowly introduce new rooms in the house, parts of the yard, other environments, people, children and animals. A new dog can become overwhelmed. If there is another dog in the house, take up all food and toys. Feed them separately until you trust that there are no food issues.
  5. Let your dog settle in when he first arrives at his new home. It’s natural to want to welcome the new dog into your life with open arms. But too much too soon is a recipe for disaster. Take your cue from the dog. If the dog is effusively friendly and wants to play, fine. Nervous dogs who are trying to figure out where they are will often growl or withdraw because they are frightened. NEVER try to grab a dog that is trying to hide in a corner, under a bed, in a crate, or elsewhere. You are likely to get bitten. If the dog is frightened and backing off, give the dog some time and space. Sit patiently nearby with a biscuit in your hand, and the dog will likely calm down and come to you. Keep all interactions short and positive, then move on. And that goes for your interactions with the new dog too. A new dog should meet new people under your control, either on a leash or while you are holding the dog. DO NOT throw a “come meet my new dog” party for all your friends and relatives until you are sure the dog has become comfortable in his new home, and is friendly around strangers.
  6. When introducing a new dog to a dog you already have, it is best to introduce them to each other in the back yard or some other place outside the home, so long as the area is securely fenced or both dogs are on lead. That reduces the chances of the existing dog feeling that his domain is being invaded.
  7. NEVER leave a dog unattended in the yard under any circumstance when you first take him home, no matter how secure you think the yard is. Follow the “if this was my 18-month old baby” rule. Would you leave your 18-month old child alone in the yard while you went inside to take a shower? No.¬†Would you leave your 18-month old child in the car while you went into the coffee shop? No. You get the idea.
  8. Don’t switch foods suddenly—unless you enjoy cleaning up diarrhea. Switch no faster than 1/4 new food and 3/4 old food on the first day, 1/2 of each on the second day, 3/4 new food and 1/4 old food on the third day, and all new food on the fourth day.
  9. Take your new dog for a vet checkup in the first few days after you take your dog home. Speak to your vet about the need for heartworm protection—it's needed in some parts of California, not in others.
  10. Know where the nearest emergency veterinary hospital is. When your dog is sick or injured in the middle of the night or on a holiday is NOT the time you want to start looking through the yellow pages!
  11. Make sure your dog is microchipped and that the registration information is current.
  12. Remember: DOGS DIE IN HOT CARS. Never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle on a hot sunny day, even in the shade—the sun will move!
  13. Consider installing a dog door if you can fence off an area outside adjacent to the door that is safe for the dog to access on his own. It makes housebreaking a lot easier if the dog can eliminate when he wants.

Equipment You Will Need

  • Bed and bedding. Your dog needs to have its own bed in a quiet place where it will not be disturbed.
  • Food and water bowls.
  • Grooming equipment. See our Grooming page for more information.
  • Lead, collar and identity tag showing your name and address.
  • Suitable food diet sheet from breeder, or ask what the dog has been fed on, and times of meals. (It is important not to change a dog's diet too quickly, because doing so could lead to diarrhea or worse.)
  • Crate or seat restraint for use in your car.
  • A crate can also be a useful training aid in housebreaking when used correctly.
  • Supply of poop scoops.

Further Information

The above information will give you a good start on introducing your new dog into your home. Much more information is available in books and on the Internet. Here's one website with particularly detailed information. It also has links to even more websites and printed materials on the subject:


© California Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, Inc., 2012–2023
Last Updated: March 14, 2023