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Dog adoption - what happens next?

How to make the first few days with your new dog as successful as possible.
Written by Mayhew team
Updated 1 month ago

Preparing for the first few days 

Changing a dog’s environment can be stressful, so to minimise this, allow the dog a few days to settle in - don’t invite all your friends to visit as this can be too overwhelming for him. Let your dog get used to their new family first. When you do have visitors, try to keep the dog (and the guests!) as calm as possible. 

The first night

Before you bring your adopted dog home, decide on some house rules with your family. For example, where will your dog sleep at night? Are they allowed on the sofa? Start as you mean to go on and make sure you stick to these from day one.

Make sure that wherever you want the dog to sleep, this is where he will be on his first night so be prepared for some whining and barking. Feel free to change your dog’s name unless recommended otherwise by a member of staff at the adoption centre. If their new name is used only in a positive context, they will learn it quickly.


If your dog is sleeping or resting, leave them alone. You can introduce a crate ‘den’ to give your dog a safe space to retreat to and teach children not to interact with him if he is in his safe space.

You will need to provide your dog with at least two beds, one for the bedroom or sleeping area, and a second placed where they will spend most their time during the day. Ensure the beds are comfortable and as large as possible; if you wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting in it, then why should they? 


For the first few days, feed your new dog the food they ate whilst at the rescue centre. You will likely be provided with a small portion of food to take home with you. The move to a new home can be stressful for them and they may develop diarrhoea. If you change their food as well, they will almost certainly develop diarrhoea. 

 When deciding what to feed your dog, it can get a bit confusing with all the options available. If you adopt from Mayhew, we will provide you with a bag of good quality food and we recommend you stick to one brand to avoid your dog getting an upset stomach. If you are considering adding fresh food or leftovers to make your dog’s meals more interesting, remember dog food is a specifically balanced diet and any titbits shouldn’t represent more than 10% of your dog’s meal. Please note not all foods humans eat are safe for dogs.

We recommend that your dog is fed at least twice a day. Follow the guidelines on the package to determine how much to feed your dog and take into account how may treats are given. Contrary to some schools of thought, you should not take their food bowl away from them while they’re eating. This may make them anxious about your presence near their bowl and could lead to ‘resource guarding’. It is much better to leave them to finish their meal. Remember food does not need to be always given in a bowl. Always ensure fresh water is available.

Collar and lead 

You will need to purchase a lead and collar for your new dog. At Mayhew, we have a wide variety and we will be happy to help choose the correct size. 

Always keep your dog on its lead when walking on the street, or near roads. Only let your dog off lead in the park or in open spaces. You will need to purchase a long trailing line for the first walks in the park until you are confident your new dog will reliably recall to you. 

Identification of your dog 

Your dog has been ‘microchipped’ as a ‘back up’ method of identification, however, in order to comply with the law, your dog must always wear an engraved identity disc with your details on it. Include your mobile telephone number if you have one and consider including the messages such as: 

  • Reward offered for return.
  • I should not be out alone.
  • Call vet if hurt, will guarantee fee.
  • Do not put the dogs’ name anywhere on the disc. 


The more toys you can provide the better. Just as a child will lose interest in the same toy, so will your dog. Don’t buy a few toys and expect them to last a lifetime, even if the tennis ball you bought three years ago is still in one piece! 
The following is a list of must have toys for your dog:

  • Activity ball
  • Tennis ball
  • Soft ball
  • Hard rubber ball
  • Plastic bottles
  • Rubber ring
  • Teddies
  • Squeaky toy
  • Tugger
  • Nylabone
  • Frisbee
  • Raw hide bone
  • Large plastic hard ball
  • Kong (the bigger the better)
  • Knuckle bone 

Take note of which toys your dog seems to enjoy the most as you can then use these toys as rewards during training. Try to alternate toys to keep interest. Remember that your dog needs YOU to interact with them. Regular play will keep your dog’s mind active and stimulated. 


Unfortunately there is no equivalent to the NHS for dogs in the UK, so all medical treatment has to be paid for. Veterinary fees can become painfully expensive. For approx. £10.00-£50.00 per month you will have the peace of mind that should anything happen to your dog, you will be financially covered. If you adopt from Mayhew, you will be provided with four weeks of complimentary Insurance with Pet Plan. 

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