So you’ve taken the plunge and adopted a dog of your own. Congratulations!

But what do you do now? No doubt you’re excited and looking forward to forging a lifelong friendship with your new buddy. But try to keep in mind the confusion he is feeling right now. Whatever his past history, coming home with you is a new experience. He is likely to be a little disoriented, wondering where he is and who all these new people are.The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being patient. It can take anywhere from two days to six months for you and your pet to adjust to each other.The following tips can help ensure a smooth transition:

Supplies Prepare the things your dog will need in advance. You’ll need a collar and leash, food and water bowls, high quality grain free food, and, of course, some toys. And don’t forget to order an identification tag right away. Hairless dogs chill easily so you will need sweaters or coats as well depending on where you are located.

Welcome Home Try to arrange the arrival of your new dog for a weekend or when you can be home for a few days. Get to know each other and spend some quality time together. Don’t forget the jealousy factor – make sure you don’t neglect other pets and people in your household!

Health Care Animal rescues take in animals with widely varying backgrounds, some of whom have not been previously vaccinated. Inevitably, despite the best efforts of rescues, unknown illnesses or ailments can appear. XPBR keeps the rescued dogs in foster care until they have been fully vetted and observed for anything unusual but on occasion there is an unforeseen issue. If you already have dogs or cats at home, make sure they are up-to-date on their shots and in good general health before introducing your new pet dog.Take your new dog to the veterinarian within a week after adoption. There, he will receive a health check and any needed additional treatments. All of XPBR rescues are spayed or neutered and micro-chipped before adoption. See our resources link for skin care tips for hairless dogs.

House Rules Work out your dog-care regimen in advance among the human members of your household. Who will walk the dog first thing in the morning? Who will feed him at night? Will Fido be allowed on the couch, or won’t he? Where will he rest at night? Are there any rooms in the house that are off-limits?

Training and Discipline Dogs need order and boundaries. Remember, they are pack animals, so make yourself the “pack leader.” Let your pet know from the start who is the boss. When you catch him doing something he shouldn’t, don’t lose your cool. Stay calm, and let him know immediately, in a loud and disapproving voice, that he has misbehaved. Reward him with praise when he does well, too! Sign up for a local dog obedience class, and you’ll learn what a joy it is to have a well-trained dog. Xolo’s tend to be sensitive in nature so please use good judgment when choosing your dog obedience course. They typically have high food drive and can be quite intelligent thus relatively easy to train with positive reinforcement.

Housetraining Assume your new dog is not housetrained, and work from there. There are some great resources online regarding this subject but whatever you choose be consistent and maintain a routine. A little extra effort on your part to come home straight from work each day will pay off in easier, faster housetraining. Keep in mind that puppies might need extra training to get them started in life right!

Crating A crate may look to you like the canine equivalent of a jail cell, but to your dog, who instinctively likes to den, it’s a room of his own. It makes housetraining and obedience-training easier and saves your dog from the headache of being yelled at unnecessarily for problem behavior. Of course, you won’t want to crate your dog all day or all night, or he will consider it a jail cell. He also shouldn’t be punished by being put in the crate as that can create a negative connection to it. Just a few, regular hours a day (but no more than four hours at a time) should be sufficient.The crate should not contain wire where his collar or paws can get caught, and should be roomy enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably in normal posture. Of course a crate isn’t a requirement to adopt for XPBR but it is very useful at least have your dog trained to use one in case of emergency or unusual circumstances requiring one. The last thing you want for your special friend is to add stress because he is afraid of the crate. If you still can’t face the idea of a crate, at the very least consider some sort of confinement to a dog-proofed part of your home. A portion of the kitchen or family room can serve the purpose very well. (A baby gate works perfectly.)

Let the Games Begin Dogs need an active life. That means you should plan plenty of exercise and game time for your pet. Enjoy jogging or Frisbee? You can bet your dog will, too. If running around the park is too energetic for your taste, try throwing a ball or a stick, or just going for a long walk together. When you take a drive in the country or visit family and friends, bring your dog and a leash along. In inclement weather or when you just aren’t up for play time try a treadmill. They are great for burning off extra energy and just a great workout in general. We aren’t talking building an athlete here so sometime slow is better because it makes your canine buddy have to think about every step he takes creating a mental drain as well as physical. Give it a shot- a tired dog is a happy, well behaved dog!

A Friend for Life Finally, be reasonable in your expectations. Life with you is a different experience for your new companion, so give him time to adjust. You’ll soon find out that you’ve made a friend for life. No one will ever greet you with as much enthusiasm or provide you with as much unqualified love and loyalty as your dog will. Be patient, and you will be amply rewarded.