The first week with an adopted dog?

Hey, looking for experience from those who have adopted adult dogs before. I’ve only had family dogs and my dog Panda who I raised from a puppy. He unfortunately passed in April from cancer.

My heart is ready to love another dog now (though I would give anything to have Panda back) and after thinking everything through for a month and making sure I was ready we are going to the shelter tomorrow.
I’m gonna be looking for a medium sized dog (30-50 pounds) that I would like to have a decent amount of energy as I walk and run a lot.

What are some of the things I can expect with the first week home? I don’t want to overload the dog, is it okay to start walks immediately? Will it need to go out more often then a regular houstrained dog at first? Can I immediately switch to my food (we have a beagle here already that’s my brothers) or feed what the shelter gives?
We are going out today to get the rest of the supplies (I don’t want to use Pandas stuff) and I’m excited for this new journey.

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Take it slow, make sure you have a safe space set up for the dog if he/she needs to get away from the rest of the household, let the dog set the pace (some will be pretty much fine, some will need more settling in time), I would stay on the shelter food for a couple of weeks with a gradual switch over to your preferred food unless it is truly dreadful stuff. Sign up for this Adopt an Adult Dog. Enjoy your new dog!


When I adopted my girl from the shelter I asked for a few feedings of the dog food that she was on. They gave me this weird look as I explained I wanted to transition her to the new food.

They then explained to me how they mostly feed donated food, which means they may get one brand at breakfast and a different brand at dinner. They don’t “transition”, so whatever I purchased for food would be just fine.

I assume they have a cheap, bulk kibble that they feed when donations get low, as well as some specialty stuff for dogs in poor condition, etc.


The first week they are typically on their best behavior. It took mine about two weeks before his full colors came out. It took him at least 6 months to feel like he was home. And a year to become a half way decent citizen and predictable.

Try to just remember it takes them a bit to realize they are home and can relax.


I strongly suggest anyone adopting a new pup/dog from a shelter/rescue follow the 2 week shutdown protocol.
It can be a lifesaver for you & the dog.
Here are a couple links, but if you Google it, you’ll find loads of info.


Great advice so far from all the others.
The 2 week shutdown is REAL.
Yes it may be months before the dog relaxes and little habits come out.
Get as much history as you can on the dog. Sometimes you just can’t.
Be aware that many dogs at shelters came in as strays picked up on the street. They may be fine with other dogs or they may be hostile and reactive, especially is they were underweight and had to fight for food.
My most recent adopted GSD wouldn’t eat where anyone could see her at first. Had to take a
piece of food, go hide, eat it there in another room. Come back for another piece, repeat.

If the dog is rowdy, when things calm down a bit, start on working on household manners.
Just like with horses, you’re either training or untraining ALL the time.
Watch for behavioral issues. Are they escapees? Are they aggressive to strangers or other dogs? Or cats?
Do lots and lots of basic training and obedience once they calm down and are relaxed.
And don’t forget pictures for us. Good Luck in your search.


Google “Two Week Shut Down For Adopted Dogs”.

All good advice. Since you mentioned it, the dog will likely have to go out to pee more than usual. It’s common IME that (especially female) dogs develop slight bladder infections in a shelter enviro, so they may feel they need to pee a lot. Don’t restrict water because that’s how they clear up. And because you don’t know their ‘I have to go out to pee’ sign, if they even have one, you will probably be going out for a maybe need to pee a lot :slightly_smiling_face: Good luck!

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Oh…good one. Our shelter dog (female) had a UTI when she arrived. We had planned on a vet visit shortly after she arrived, but blood in her urine accelerated that timeline!

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Three shelter visits later, we are fostering (to hopefully adopt) this guy for 2 weeks. His name is Freddy (for now). Came from an abusive situation so he’s petrified but hoping he will realize nobody is going to hurt him and that he’s safe!


Oh, poor Freddy! But hopefully all good things for him now.

My trainer adopted a hound recently from a pretty sad situation (found in a ditch with a bag of dead puppies) so it’s unknown how she was treated, but it can’t be good. She was pretty overwhelmed at first and they did have her out and about too early in my opinion. But it’s been about 6 months and it’s astounding how much she has changed. I’m sure they saw glimpses of her real personality sooner than I did, but what a transformation.

Slow and steady will be rewarded for sure - especially with abused dogs. If you must take him for walks then do as short as possible and get business done and then back home. If you have a backyard you can use for potty breaks instead, I’d probably stay home. Just establish a routine and see how he is with things like crates, furniture, being alone, etc. There are enough things “to do” at home. If you can - try to instill some basic commands with lots of praise and food rewards. Sit, come, down. I’d probably stick with just those for the first 2 weeks.

Then you’ll know a lot more about what you have and what he can manage without too much street. Pretty boy - a lucky boy! :slight_smile:


Since we’ve been home he’s mostly been sleeping, doesn’t want to come out of the crate but if he feels safe in there I’m not gonna push him. Letting him decompress. I was able to finally tempt him to eat with some wet food and he ate it all. He’s a sweet boy


That’s exactly what you should do. Stress often makes them just shut down. Let him sleep and observe. I bet in a day or two he’ll be much less shut down, but every new thing will be big so go slow.

(My trainer took his dog into the garage to go outside that way, and pushed the garage door button to open it without even thinking about it. She wouldn’t set foot in their for weeks. It terrified her, but it was such a routine thing for them it didn’t even register as something they needed to be careful with.)

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Bless you! I love him! What a handsome fella. I adopted a dog that was returned three times. He was not shut down but very guarded. It took about six months for him to relax and about a year to become a happy citizen. He is not the same dog we brought home and it has been fun to see him become a happy, fun loving guy! Keep us posted!


How is our shy boy doing? I saw your post re: not leaving the crate easily. Any other updates?

(It’s been a slow few weeks, so I am following this and moonlitoaks feral cat post) :grin:

He’s doing wonderful! Made so much progress today. He’s been giving me little tail wags and played with a toy for a minute (before a noise scared him). He’s quickly learned how to go up and down stairs and is not tucking his tail outside. He also finally easily comes out of the crate and is slowly, shyly exploring the house.
It’s so fun and rewarding to see the progress.
He also chewed through a harness…so lesson learned on that lol


I’m signing the adoption papers next week. He’s home! I’ve named him Dobby


AWWW, that’s GREAT!! Dobby looks like a kind soul. Congrats on your new family member.

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Congrats! New name, new life! Keep us updated on his progress.

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Yay! I love the name Dobby! :slight_smile:

If you are happy with him already, I can’t wait to hear what he is like in 3 months, and then 6. Lucky Dobby!


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