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Getting Settled: Helping Your New Dog Adapt to Your Home
When you adopt a dog, you and your new pup both have the best of intentions. You’re ready to provide them with a loving home and take care of all their needs for food, shelter, and fun activities.
On the same note, they want to please you and be your best friend—but sometimes, the rules of a new home can be confusing to them. All the new sights, sounds, and smells can feel overwhelming.
Help from you allows your pup to make this transition as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Try these tips to help your new dog feel comfortable…
If your new pet seems quiet or nervous in your home—even if they were outgoing and a social butterfly at the shelter—don’t worry. This is normal for many dogs.
Unless they are experiencing severe anxiety or showing any signs of aggression (in which case, it’s best to contact a professional dog trainer or veterinarian for advice), it’s okay to give them some time.
This is their forever home—so there’s no rush. Some dogs may warm up to their new surroundings in a couple of days, while others may take up to three months.
Patience is key. So, start slowly…
- Create a quiet place for your pet to stay if they want privacy, such as a small room or crate where other pets and children aren’t allowed. Be sure all their supplies are there, such as their bed, food, water, and a couple of sturdy toys.
Note: An upcoming article will offer tips for introducing children and other pets. For now, a good rule of thumb is to only allow supervised interactions at first.
- Allow your pet to explore 1-2 new rooms in the home at a time. Then, once they’re comfortable with those, show them another room—and so on. It may help to use their leash and collar the first few times they explore the home.
- Don’t have a lot of guests over right away (even though everyone’s probably really excited to meet your new pup!). Hold off on dog parks until your new pet is settled into the home. Think slow and gradual when it comes to new social experiences.
Establish a Routine Right Away
Your new dog will need someone to feed, walk, and train them. If it’s just you in the home, all roles will fall to you. In that case, focus on setting up a schedule with consistent feeding times, bathroom walks, and so on.
A routine means security—it helps your pup know what to expect.
If the whole family is getting involved, decide who will be in charge of which task. Set up a schedule, and supervise children to be sure their responsibilities are completed as planned.
Also, keep in mind that even if your dog is already potty trained, they may ‘forget’ those skills when placed into an entirely new environment.
So, try to take them into the backyard or on short potty walks (or to their potty pad) more often in the beginning. When they go to the bathroom where they should, be sure to offer them plenty of praise or a treat.
Spend a Lot of Time Together—But Not Too Much Time
You’ll want to have time to spend with your dog, especially in the first few days when they’re getting to know you.
However, you don’t want them to expect you to be home 24/7 long-term. So, if you’re on a long vacation from work or at home long-term for any reason, it’s best to spend some time each day away from the home—even if just for the length of a walk around your neighborhood or a short drive.
Encourage your new pet to have some alone time even when you’re there. That could mean napping in their bed or playing with a sturdy toy by themselves. If your dog gets used to having you at their side 24/7 from the beginning, they may be more prone to separation anxiety when you do need to leave the home.
So, by all means, spend a lot of time with them at the beginning, and help them learn that you are there for them.
You should also help your pup develop some degree of independence, for their own mental and emotional health. Every dog’s personality is different, that’s one of the most fun parts of adopting a pet!
As you give your new pup space to learn and help them feel comfortable and secure, they will truly be themselves and their personality will start to shine.
Within a few weeks after adoption, your dog will really open up to you—and that’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
From our family to yours,
Fromm Family Pet Food