The first week of owning a puppy!

You’re getting a puppy! Visions of cute cuddles and perfect playtimes dominate your thoughts, you cannot wait to get your hands on your new furry friend and bring them home to start your lives together.

A new puppy however, is hard work. We know, you’ve heard it a million times, but it can’t really be that demanding, can it?

To help get you in the right mindset so you can seriously consider the impact of a new pup and whether you’re ready to take the plunge, one of our adopters kindly agreed to document their first week with Amy, their 4-month-old Pondenco mix, who came into the care of DogsnHomes after her pregnant mother gave birth shortly after being rescued.

Warts and all, here is how they got on… please remember, this is an individual account of their experience and every dog will be different.


My husband and I are in our 70s. Having lost our last rescue dog to old age in 2009, we had enjoyed the freedom that comes with not owning a pet (because, yes, you do have to change the way you live your day-to-day life!) but decided at the beginning of the year that we were ready to expand our family once more and provide a loving home for another rescue pup.

Firstly, we want to get serious. A dog is not a cuddly toy. It is a life, and it’s yours to love and be responsible for the rest of their (or perhaps in our case, our!) days. From previous experience, we know how much joy a dog can bring, but also that they are a commitment, hard work, and permanent. Many compare getting a puppy to having a human baby and we would absolutely agree (think tiredness, being on constant alert during the early days and sometimes questioning what on earth you’ve done?!).

Our set-up

Our home is ideally suited to a dog, with a secure garden and a huge variety of walks nearby. We also knew our highly ordered, well furnished rooms would never be quite so pristine again. While a puppy must learn and respect house rules, it is their home too, so we had to come to a mutual agreement of give and take. It was very important to decide what we minded, and what we would be more relaxed about. For example, we have no problem with a puppy cosying up on a sofa, but do mind being pestered at the table. Deciding on details like this and sticking to consistent rules is vital to send out a consistent message to the dog, teaching them their parameters and setting boundaries helps to create a confident and well-behaved family member.

Are you ALL willing to do your bit?

It is important to work out the family situation. Of course, everyone wants a dog to begin with, but are they all willing to take responsibility and pitch in with the more mundane tasks over the long-term, as well as the walkies and playing. Life will be more restricted, especially in the early days, so is your partner willing to work out their schedule to work with yours in ensuring the dog isn’t left alone for too long, for example?

Amy’s first week

Day 1

Adorable Amy has arrived! A tiny rescue puppy who in her four months of life has already had many changes. She is a bright, lively, inquisitive puppy with a lot of energy. She had been given a loving foster home where her initial training had started, so she responded to her name and ‘sit’. She has eaten well from the start.

We had been warned she might be unsettled at night at first. This made sense as this little puppy has been taken away from everything she knows and placed with us, total strangers at this point. The warning came true. In spite of a warm kitchen, beautiful cosy bed, her favourite toy and one of our garments so she could have our smell as reassurance, she cried. A lot. We felt awful. We stood firm, and she eventually settled.


We found Amy in the lounge in the morning, cosy on the sofa… she’d somehow pushed through the dog guard between the carpeted living room and the hard-floored kitchen. There was one poo and a wee on the kitchen floor. Fortunately, she’s a small dog so a quick clean up job, we did not ‘tell her off’ as our research confirmed this is not a positive nor effective way to try and train a dog. Reality was dawning though, what have we taken on? We had a bit of a wobble while we contemplated the permanence of the situation but then had a lovely short walk where we talked to more people than we had in the past six weeks…everyone who saw her loved her. Such joy!

We were wondering how she would get on with going out for a walk without another dog (she had been in foster with a dog) and were thrilled that it didn’t seem to phase her one bit. Had that not been the case though we were fully prepared to let her go at her own pace, not force her to go further than she felt comfortable with or face new and scary situations (it’s only day 2!) such as crossing roads, for example. We took the advice of DogsnHomes and made sure she had a slip lead and a harness, just in case.

Overall a happy day, remaining vigilant for wees and poos and letting her out every half hour or so. She continued to eat well which was wonderful. The cheeky monkey managed to get through the barrier we’d carefully installed (obviously not carefully enough!) to separate the front and the back garden, so we took measures to reinforce.

There was wailing again at night, which was hard to listen to, but not as much as night one.

Day 3.

Poo in lounge (carpeted!), she’d got over the much-reinforced indoor dog guard again – what to do? Our efforts to make the kitchen her night-time room weren’t working. All our careful preparations with barriers were proving inadequate, which was frustrating. Someone had suggested using a crate but we personally are not a fan of them, so we were going to need to have a little re-think. At this point we are feeling really tired too having had disrupted sleep for consecutive nights, which makes things probably more frustrating than they should feel.

Still, a busy and enjoyable day, definitely feel she’s getting to know her home and us, lots of playing, cuddles and snoozing. That night we tried a slightly different tactic, Amy’s Dad settled her into her basket, waited for her to fall asleep and crept away…and we had a quiet night! Result!

Day 4.

Not again! There she was in the lounge in the morning having got through the (even more) reinforced barrier. Time for a major rethink. We decided to put her in the garden room tonight (my pride and joy must be adapted, so a bit sad) which has a door!

The day was great though, fun and busy with necessary naps.

Day 5.

The garden room it is! Great success, a totally quiet night, then straight out in the morning to do her business outside. Very satisfactory, proving you just have to adapt and give them time to settle and learn. Lovely beach walks today and Amy slept from 8pm pretty much through the night.

Day 6.

Another totally quiet night, no pees etc. Straight out to perform. WOW, so rewarding, we feel we’re getting the hang of it.

Amy is gaining in confidence (so are we!), amuses herself well when we are occupied, and is responding well to our basic training attempts. She has clearly been well socialised before she came to us as she loves to meet other dogs and people!

Settled happily into her bed in the garden room and another quiet night.

Day 7.

A small poo and wee on the garden room floor, but our fault for not taking her out last thing last night. Straight into garden where she performed again. Another sunny day with walks and playing. We didn’t want to, but we tried leaving her for 20 mins on her own in the house which she didn’t like much, but didn’t make too much fuss. Little and often we think will do the trick.

So, end of week 1. It’s had its ups and downs, fortunately mostly ups. We are so pleased to have Amy with us, and it feels like she’s been here forever. We are getting used to a more disrupted house(!) and planning our days more carefully.

She is a dear addition to our home.

Final thought

One thing we would mention specifically is not to place too much expectation too soon; when you have a new dog, especially one that hasn’t lived in a permanent domestic scenario, it’s all too easy to forget that what is normal to us is a completely new and sometimes overwhelming situation for them.

We would sometimes find ourselves questioning why Amy wouldn’t do x, y or z and then remember it’s only day 4, she’s only just met us and has no idea what is really going on yet! Time seems to stretch out in your head with a new pup and even though we’d only had her four days, it felt like she’d been with us for weeks (probably because you spend so many hours on them at first!).

Take it slow, try to see things from their perspective and be prepared to adapt; it’s not all plain sailing and is certainly exhausting at first, but totally worth it in our opinion!


The very first step is to fill out an application form. If you meet our adoption criteria, you will then be contacted for a video interview and home check. Assuming this goes well, you will then become an ‘approved adopter’ and be automatically considered each time a new dog becomes available for rehoming. 

Please remember, you must fill out an application form. We will not consider comments or messages made on social media, or texts / emails, for offers of homes.

All money received by DogsnHomes goes towards the rescue and care of dogs in need. No salaries are taken by our team as the charity is staffed 100% by volunteers.

Your adoption fee allows us to ensure the very best care is afforded to the dogs we save, helping to cover their medical, domestic and transportation needs as they are prepared for and undertake their journey to the UK. Examples of what this money goes towards include:

  • Food and shelter in Portugal
  • Vet visits for: health checks, blood tests, vaccinations, and to ensure they are fit to travel
  • Any necessary medications
  • Flea, tick and worm treatments
  • Spaying / neutering if the dog is over one year old
  • Microchipping
  • Behavioural assessments
  • Transportation costs to the UK on the Happy Bus, including import duties and customs charges
  • A Passport
  • Socialising visits
  • Administrative fees

Additionally, for every dog we place for adoption, we make a further donation to our partners in Portugal which is used to spay / neuter other dogs to try and break the endless cycle of unwanted litters.

For some dogs, it will never be possible to leave Portugal and they will see out their days in the shelter system. Financial donations help these dogs to have their medical and domestic needs met to ensure they lead as comfortable and happy lives as possible.

Everyone who submits an application will receive an email from us confirming that we have received their application (we aim to confirm receipt of your application within 10 working days). Sometimes our emails end up in junk/spam mail, so please check there too. If we wish to take your application further, you will receive further correspondence from us via email to arrange a home check.

However, if you do not meet our adoption criteria, we will not be able to respond to your application to confirm this. We are sorry about this but DogsnHomes is run by a small team of volunteers and we must prioritise our resources.

We understand how frustrating it can be trying to adopt a dog and not hearing back soon. We are a small, volunteer-run charity and we have to split our time between multiple activities, so we thank you for your patience and understanding.

There are some common themes with applications that aren’t successful:

  • The dog you have applied for is extremely popular, like most of our dogs. We receive many applications for puppies and young dogs in particular, and it’s our job to pick the strongest application for each dog.
  • Your circumstances do not meet our dog’s requirements. This is not a reflection on your ability to care for a dog but it may mean that you are not a good match for the dog you applied for. This may be because they need a resident dog, a quieter household or environment, an experienced adopter, amongst other reasons. 
  • Your application form is not detailed enough. We receive hundreds of applications and have to make a judgement on which to take forward to the next stage based on your answers, so we recommend that you include as much detail as possible, much like a job application. Also if you have any physical or mental health issues that may help us decide on the most suitable dog, please include this in the application.

Please bear in mind that we receive between 150 – 300 applications a month and rehome between 10-15 dogs a month. With these numbers in mind, we hope you understand that it’s simply not possible to keep up with demand and some people will sadly be disappointed.

We prefer to adopt within a 60-minute drive of our base in Fleet, Hampshire so we can continue to offer support and guidance if required, after a dog has gone to his/her new home. 

Additionally, local adoptions mean adopters and their dogs have the opportunity to meet up and socialise, keep siblings in contact, attend DogsnHomes events and support local businesses, all of which contributes to a thriving and sustainable canine community near to DogsnHomes HQ.

Approximately 75% of the dogs available for adoption are puppies, but we do sometimes rehome older dogs too.

At present we do not have premises where you are able to visit the dogs as most go directly out to their adoptive homes on arrival from Portugal, straight off the Happy Bus! 

Sometimes, some will go to local foster homes, in which case there may be scope to meet them, should you be considered for adoption for the pup in question.

The majority of the dogs we rescue come from Portugal. 

We have formed close relationships with the fosterers and private rescue shelters there, who provide us with lots of information about the nature of the dogs they have rescued and how they are developing. They continually assess the dogs as they grow, and those that are most suitable will make the journey to the UK when they’re approximately 4 months old (or older if a dog is rescued at an older age). 

Whilst in Portugal, the dogs are introduced to lots of different people, other dogs, other animals (e.g. cats) and sometimes children. They’re also often taken to public spaces such as the beach, the local villages, and cafes too, which means they generally come to us as well rounded dogs with a high level of positive socialisation (although please be aware they are in a rural part of Portugal and the places they visit will not be as busy as they are in England).

No, we will keep your application in our files. This means we can contact you directly if we think we have found a dog that meets all of your requirements (and if you meet theirs too!). 

However, if anything changes on your application, including the type of dog you are looking for, please let us know and we will update your application. Alternatively, you can submit a further application.

Please be assured that, in line with GDPR, we will not share your information with any third party and we ask that you email us if you decide you don’t want further contact from us.

Most of our dogs are rescued from Portugal where they may have been handed in, found as strays, abandoned, or born in our private shelters. What we know of their backgrounds will vary, but every dog will be assessed so we can match them up with the best family for them, and ensure you are the best match for each other.

It depends entirely on the dog.

None of the dogs come to us directly from the public kennels. Most are in foster homes in Portugal or live in what we call ‘private shelters’, where people have numerous dogs at their homes. so there is no need for them to be in foster in the UK and they can go straight to their forever families. However, some are placed in foster local to DogsnHomes HQ, to be given additional time to decompress from travel.

We do not currently have premises or kennel facilities, so when the dogs arrive they are either placed into foster homes or go straight to their adopters. If a dog goes into foster, it may be possible to meet them prior to adoption. 

At DogsnHomes, priority is given to households where all members are over 10 years old, or where another dog(s) is already in residence if the children are under 10.

Children and dogs can often be a fantastic combination and our aim is always to try and match the right dog with the right home, ensuring both the children and dogs’ welfare is carefully considered. In our years of experience in dog rescue, we have found the most successful pairings are with households with slightly older children.

When you submit an application form to us, this is where you should provide details about the people in your household, including children, so we can take this all into account when making rehoming decisions.

Please note: unless you already have a dog in the home, we are not able to consider households with children under 10 years old

Absolutely. Another doggy buddy to play with and learn the ropes from can be a great thing. Before we place a dog with you, we would invite you and your existing dog(s) to meet your prospective new pup, where they could be introduced to see if they’d be happy to live together. We would also need to ensure your existing dog is fully vaccinated and neutered if of the opposite sex.

Many of our dogs are cat tested before they come to the UK. If they haven’t been cat tested or they’ve shown aggression during the cat test, we will not allow them to be rehomed with other cats or small animals. However, many of our dogs pass their cat test with flying colours so don’t be put off from applying if you have a feline friend!

Please bear in mind that, even if the dog has passed their cat test, there is no guarantee that your cat will like the dog and vice versa. They are animals and not all will get along, just like humans!

Should you be approved as an adopter and you have small furries in your house, we ask that you ensure introductions are done as soon as possible after adopting and that you use positive, reward based methods when managing the introductions.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have a garden then you are not eligible to rehome a dog from us. 

Prior to making the journey to the UK, our dogs have enjoyed lots of access to outdoor space and this is something we believe is important to their continued wellbeing.

Additionally, if adopting a puppy, we ask all adopters to take them outside every 30 minutes to ensure they are properly toilet trained.

If your motivation to adopt is based on a desire to improve a health condition, or you’re not sure about how having a dog would affect a particular condition, please do not submit until you have very carefully considered the impact of dog ownership.

Dogs are wonderful companions and family members but can also be hard work, especially during the early days as you get to know each other and adjust to your new lives together. Many compare the demands of having a new puppy with the demands of a newborn baby (think sleepless nights, constant vigilance and cleaning up!).

We ask that you only submit an adoption form if your desire to adopt is based on wanting to provide a first-class home for a dog, primarily for the benefit of that dog, for life.

We acknowledge there are many dogs abandoned and neglected in the UK. Fortunately, we live in a country that prides itself on being a nation of animal lovers and, as a result, there are a large number of dog rescue organisations that focus solely on rehoming dogs located in the UK. 

We have worked with the local dog warden and have dogs surrendered to us, but these dogs typically come with issues.

Whereas in Portugal, there are significantly fewer animal welfare rights and protection for dogs and they just aren’t treated with the same level of care. Every dog deserves a chance at living a happy and healthy life, regardless of its origin, and so it’s our passion to rescue these dogs and give them the opportunity to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Before we are allowed to export a dog from Portugal they have to pass a rigorous process, which includes

  • A minimum of two vet visits prior to arrival, the last within days of leaving checking they are fit to travel
  • Microchipping
  • A full course of vaccinations
  • Treatments for fleas, worms and ticks
  • Screening for infections with a blood test
  • Dogs over a year of age will also be spayed or neutered

Of course, you will need to register your dog with a local vet to ensure their vaccinations remain up to date and health needs are met (as with any dog).

Once you have adopted your new dog, you are their legal owner, trainer and carer, responsible for meeting their daily needs and addressing any issues as they arise, as you settle into your new life together.

We do however love it when our adopters stay in touch so we can see how you’re getting on, and we will always provide advice and guidance where needed.

We also have a private Facebook page where you can ‘meet’ other adopters, become a part of the DogsnHomes Rescue online community and discuss your pups!

As a condition of adopting, you are required to insure the dog and train them to be well behaved inside and outside of your home, seeking professional advice to help you do so if ever required.

Whilst we also rehome UK dogs too, in our experience the majority of UK dogs that we’re asked to rehome tend to have behavioural or health issues. For any UK dogs we do rehome, we carry out a full behavioural assessment, attain all medical records from the vet and request proof of ownership from the individual surrendering the dog.

Please be aware that the dog will need to remain in the owner’s care until we have found them a new home.

We are not able to rehome aggressive dogs.

As a non-profit organisation run wholly by volunteers we are always grateful for offers of support. You can help us in the following ways:

Donate money. You can find out how to donate by clicking here . We are grateful for every penny, but regular monthly donations are extra special as this provides greater financial security; if you sign-up to a monthly donation you will become a DogsnHomes Top Dog and will receive a certificate from us. Every penny donated goes to help the dogs and support our rescue operations.

Fundraise. It can be as simple, quick and easy as doing your online shopping via EasyFundraising or get creative and do a cake sale, sponsored silence, charity walk or run, or you could even jump out of a plane!

Donate old or unused doggy items (must be clean and in usable condition please). If you have spare dog toys, leads, harnesses, collars, bowls or food, please consider donating to us at one of our drop off points. Unfortunately, we cannot accept duvets, pillows or quilts.

Become a volunteer. If you have spare time and skills you think could assist us, get in touch! We are always on the lookout for people who can use WordPress and Photoshop. We sometimes have practical roles available for events such as Happy Bus arrivals (i.e. when the dogs arrive with us from Portugal), as well as at fundraising events, such as manning the DogsnHomes stall at community events. Please email to find out more and register as a volunteer. Regrettably, we are unable to accept volunteers under 18 years of age for insurance reasons.

Promote our social media pages. We are active on Facebook and Instagram, so please give us a follow and spread the word! The more you share, like and comment, the more engagement and support we receive.

Our adoption fee varies depending on the dog, further information is provided as applicants progress through the rehoming process.

Support Us

Our mission is simple, to rescue dogs from Portugal and the UK and find them their forever home

Share This

More News & Guides

Support Us

Estimated Size
Estimated Size
Cat Tested
Cat Tested