Celebrating Your New Dog’s Arrival

We know how exciting it can be to add a new dog to your family! Please remember that your dog is excited too, but also stressed. He doesn’t know you, your family or your home so please give him a few days to just get relaxed and get used to his new routine. If you must have company during those critical first couple of days, ensure the dog always has the choice to leave the crowd or sleep in his new bed while everyone is having fun.

What You Need

Here are some things you’ll want to have on hand for your new dog:

  • Quality dog food
  • Food and water bowls
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Chew toys
  • Brush
  • Dog bed

You can purchase these items at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley’s Sonnyside Retail Store (located in the shelter lobby), and all proceeds benefit the animals in our care.

Safely Home

The first trip home can be intimidating for your new pet. The safest place for your dog to travel within a vehicle is in a crate. If you do not have a crate, the next best place is in the back seat. Go directly home, and if you must stop, don’t leave your dog unattended in the car. Leave the leash attached to your dog’s collar to facilitate catching him if the need arises.

House Training

Your dog may or may not be house trained, therefore expect to have some accidents in your home. If your dog happens to be house trained, then you will be pleasantly surprised! The most effective way to manage your dog’s elimination habits is to have a consistent eating and eliminating schedule. In addition, strive to take your dog to the same place to help your dog understand what you want. Please remember to reward your dog for going to the bathroom outside. You can use praise or treats! Treats are the most effective way to reward your dog for pottying in the correct place. When you leave your dog home, consider training him to enjoy staying in a gated area of the home or crate. A small area or crate simulates a den. Dogs typically won’t soil this space because it is their sleeping area. Puppies younger than four months are like babies and cannot be expected to control their bladders and bowels like an adult animal. To expect otherwise is to set you up for disappointment. Using praise, treats and routine are the most efficient ways to house train your new dog.

You and your pet can participate in training classes at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley to benefit from the most progressive and positive training methods. Punishing a dog by rubbing his nose in a mess or swatting him with a newspaper will only make him afraid of you, and he will not learn where you want him to potty. When your dog or pup has an “accident” in the house, simply clean it up. The way you clean the soiled area is critical to ensure the spot does not become a magnet for all of the pets in the household. Avoid using steam cleaners and most commercial carpet cleaners. Use a good enzymatic cleaner, such as Pet Odor Eliminator, available at our retail store and at pet supply stores.


Providing a crate for your dog can be a great way to train him and introduce him to his new environment. The dog crate has long been accepted by breeders, trainers, groomers and veterinarians as an outstanding method for house training and ensuring your dog is safe and comfortable when left alone. Crate training your dog can help you prevent, control and manage common problem behaviors of dogs. Dogs love having a place of their very own, and a crate helps satisfy their den instinct inherited from their den dwelling ancestors.

A crate will help you:

  • Enjoy peace of mind, knowing your dog is safe and your home will not be soiled or damaged.
  • House train your dog more quickly, establishing a regular routine.
  • Travel with your dog without causing distractions for the driver.
  • Provide your dog with a secure place where he can retreat when tired, stressed or ill.

Training your dog to feel comfortable in his crate must be done slowly and gradually. Place the crate in the home in an area where people spend time; the living room or bedroom are good choices. Start by leaving the door open and occasionally placing a tasty treat inside for him to retrieve. Once your dog is comfortable going in and out for the treat, begin feeding meals in the crate. As your dog becomes accustomed to eating in his crate, you can begin closing the door while he is inside, gradually increasing the time the door stays closed. If your dog whines or cries briefly, just wait for a moment of silence before letting him out. Do not force him to say stay inside, especially if he appears to be highly stressed. If you have adopted a puppy make sure you grant requests to potty and ignore the request for attention. Otherwise, your dog will learn that whining is the way to get out of his crate, and he will keep doing it. Some dogs suffer from distress when left alone; these dogs generally cannot handle crating. It is important to distinguish the difference between a dog that is seeking attention and one that is suffering from separation anxiety.

Warning signs of a dog suffering from separation anxiety are:

  • Destructive behavior especially to doors and windows when left alone.
  • Dog is an escape artist and may injure himself when attempting to escape.
  • Both urination and defecation when left alone.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, call our Behavior and Training Center (303-442-4030 x368) for help. A crate isn’t a magical solution to all problems, however when used and introduced properly it can be a wonderful management tool.

Independence Training

Bringing home your new dog is exciting, and you may feel compelled to give him all of your attention. Although sometimes difficult for you and your dog, you should establish a sense of independence within the first few days.
Devoting time to your new dog is wonderful, just make sure you practice leaving him home alone. A quick trip to the store is a great way to test your dog. Just make sure that you leave your dog either in a crate or a secure space so you aren’t surprised when you return home. This short, controlled time will give you an idea of how your dog handles being left alone.


Training your dog will help him to use his brain, which will also help your dog to be more content. Always ask your dog to sit and wait before giving him his dinner or putting on his leash. Training continues throughout your dog’s life. Understanding your dog’s behavior and how he learns will make life with your new dog happier and easier. Positive training methods with treats have been shown to be far more effective in creating well adjusted, well-trained dogs than punishment-focused methods. Positive training methods do not require a special training collar, in fact we do not recommend choke, pinch or shock collars. These collars may cause injury to your dog. If your dog pulls on the leash, you may want to try a body harness or head halter. Both items are available at our Sonnyside Retail Store.

If you adopted a puppy the most important thing you can do to is to socialize and train your puppy as much as possible before he is 20 weeks old. Enroll in our puppy kindergarten classes, attend our puppy socialization classes, and allow your puppy to interact with adult dogs who are gentle and safe. Introduce your puppy to as many people (including children) as possible. Ask them to please give your puppy a treat. Supervise the children and make sure they are not being overzealous in handling or loving the puppy. Do not take your puppy to the dog park – there are just too many dogs that may scare the new pup. Practice touching your new puppy on his paws, tail and ears. Reward him for relaxed behavior with treats and praise.

The most effective way to train your dog is to begin immediately. When you adopted your new dog from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley you received a free Orientation workshop. Held weekly at the Humane Society, the class provides an introduction to all Training and Behavior Classes and includes discussions on positive reinforcement methods, clicker training, solutions to common problems and prevention of behavior problems.

Please call 303-442-4030 x368 to register or register online at boulderhumane.org. We offer a wide variety of classes for both you and your dog, so please visit our website to see all the classes available.


A tired dog is a happy dog! Your dog will be less likely to cause problems if he is getting enough exercise. An hour a day is the minimum for most dogs, although your new dog’s age and breed does influence how much exercise is required for your dog. Many behavior issues such as chewing, digging and excessive barking are symptoms of dogs that are bored and need more exercise.

Lost and Found

Every dog adopted from the Humane Society goes home with a collar and microchip, and if you are a citizen of the city of Boulder, a license which is required. Microchip implants are a good way of ensuring your pet’s identification. We and other animal shelters in the state scan lost pets for microchips. A microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, provides an identification number that is maintained by a national registry. This number can be traced to a pet’s guardian. It is important to keep your information updated with the registry.