Adopting a dog can bring plenty of joy into your home, but keep in mind that both you and your new pet need to make some adjustments at first. Dogs who are adopted have to get used to unfamiliar surroundings and a change in their normal routine, while also learning the rules of their new home. Use the following tips to help make this adjustment period as stress-free as possible for you and your new dog.
You might feel a bit tempted to give your new dog free reign in your home, especially the first few days. However, it’s better to do the opposite. Establishing rules right away and helping your dog adjust to them will make life together more pleasant for both of you in the long run. These rules should include making sure your dog knows where to go potty, which parts of your home are off limits and what types of behavior are inappropriate, such as chewing on shoes. For example, if you don’t want your dog on the furniture, you’ll need to teach her that rule from the start. Having treats with you from the moment you get your new dog will help, especially with teaching what is and isn't okay in the home.
While your dog is learning the rules and adjusting to life in your home, you should expect some rule breaking to occur. Don’t punish your dog or do any shouting or yelling. These negative reactions can make dogs nervous, which can lead to snapping, growling or even biting when they feel scared or threatened. Instead, stay calm and focus on working with your dog on following the rules. Patiently guiding your dog through this adjustment period helps you build a bond with your new pet.
While your dog gets used to your home, make sure that she’s supervised as much as possible. If you won’t be home, have her stay in a crate that gives her enough room to move around comfortably, but try to limit these times during the first few weeks after adoption. Keep in mind that you should plan on being home as often as you can after you first adopt your dog. This will help both of you adjust. Using a puzzle toy will allow your dog to be distracted from the fact that they are kenneled and give her something to do while she waits for you to come home.
The amount of time it takes for your dog to go through an adjustment period can vary. Some dogs get used to their new home in a week or two, while others need a few months to fully adjust.