The key to helping your furry friend make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and patient. It can take days to months for you and your pet to adjust to each other. The following tips can help provide a smooth transition.
Preparing your home
In advance, prepare the things your dog will need in its new home. You’ll need a collar and leash, food and water bowls, food, and some toys.
Establish house rules
Work out your dog-care regimen in advance among the members of your household. Who will be responsible for walking the dog first thing in the morning? Who will feed them in the morning… what about at night? Is your new friend allowed on the couch, your bed, etc? Where will they rest at night? Are there any rooms in the house that are off-limits?
Plan the arrival
Try to arrange the arrival of your new dog for a time when you can be home for a few days. Get to know each other and spend quality time together. Don’t forget the jealousy factor — make sure you don’t neglect other pets and people in your household!
Prepare for housetraining
Assume your new dog is not house-trained and go from there. Read over the housetraining information given to you at the time of adoption. Be consistent and maintain a routine.
Ensure all pets are healthy
Despite the best efforts of shelter workers or pet stores, viruses can be spread and may occasionally go home with adopted and/or purchased animals. 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 Vet within a week after adoption. Ensure they receive a health check and if needed, any vaccinations.Most likely, the shelter will require that you have your pet spayed or neutered… so make the arrangements with your Veterinarian.
The first weeks
Give them a crate
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 their 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 they will consider it a jail cell. Just a few hours a day should be sufficient.
The crate should not contain wire where their 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.
If a crate isn’t an option, 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 when sectioned off with a dog or baby gate.
Use training and discipline to create a happy home
Let your pet know from the start who is the boss. When you catch them doing something they shouldn’t, stay calm, and let them know immediately, in a loud and disapproving voice, that they have misbehaved. Reward them with praise when they do well.
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.
Patience is key
Finally, remember to temper your expectations. Life with you is a different experience for your new companion, so give them 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 rewarded.