If you are thinking about adopting a dog, or just adopted one, here are five tips to help your new pup adjust to your home.
Tip 1: Look At The Notes Provided By The Shelter
Most of the time, when you adopt a dog from a shelter the employees there identify what kind of environment your new dog will do best in. Some possible environments are: single pet home, no kids, no men in the house, etc. These labels are likely due to previous traumatic experiences, or predispositions to violent behavior.
Be sure that your house actually represents the environment that works best for that specific dog, doing so you can prevent needless pain in the long run. If a “no kids” dog were to end up in a house with children, they could potentially bite that dog. Take a look at the list of reasons why dogs bite, to gain more understanding.
Tip 2: Establish a Routine
Animals thrive when they stick to routines, so from day one, work on crafting a one that works for you. Some daily events that you may want to incorporate into your plan could be:
- Meal times
- Walk times
- Play time with other dogs
- When they can use their toys
- Crate time (if that applies to your dog)
- Keeping rules consistent about if your dog is allowed on beds, the couch, etc.
Tip 3: Expect Some Delays
When adjusting to a new environment, most dogs will make mistakes along the way. This could be in the form of accidents in the house, barking, escape attempts, or other types of mild behavioral issues. These annoying occurrences can be temporary and resolved on their own, or may need professional intervention.
Depending on your dogs’ individual history and circumstances, you can support them during this period in a variety of ways. If your new family member is prone to accidents, perhaps use disposable potty pads in the meantime to help reduce messes. Or, if your dog is an escape artist, be sure that your fence is reinforced. Keeping your dog in their home at all times is optimal for the safety of the dog and for the neighbors around you.
Tip 4: Be Proactive
Along those lines, some dogs begin to display more severe behavioral issues that need a more aggressive plan of action. Some signs of severe behavioral issues that you should never ignore include:
- Food guarding
- Toy guarding
- Growling or defensiveness towards other people
- Growling or lunging at other dogs when on walks
- Baring their teeth
These issues can escalate into attacks, which severely injure the victim and even threaten the lives of the dog due to dog bite laws. Though states like California are a bit more lenient with their dog bite laws, as you can see here from Harting Simkins & Ryan’s website, this is a situation any pet parent wants to avoid at all costs.
In order to combat these problems, consider hiring professional dog training to intervene. If this is not a financial possibility for you, reach out to the shelter you adopted your dog from and they can often connect you with free or low cost resources.
Tip 5: Be Patient
Overall, the adoption and adjustment process can be long and laborious; so patience is essential throughout the journey. In order to give your dog the space they need to adjust well consider:
- Setting realistic goals for your dog’s development (don’t take them on a cross country road trip the week they get home!!)
- Give yourself and your dog some alone time
- If an accident happens in the house or a frustrating moment occurs, take some time to yourself before responding to your dog
Adopting a dog can be such a loving and rewarding process. By keeping these tips in mind we hope that you and your pet adjust well to their new home.