Getting a new dog/family member can be incredibly exciting. But for the dog, transitioning to a new environment can be challenging and scary.
While entering a completely different world can be overwhelming, there are steps you can take to ease the change.
1. PICKING UP YOUR NEW DOG
When you show up to collect your new fur baby, be relaxed. Allow the dog to approach you, sniff you, etc. If he’s willing, gently pet him and talk to him in a soothing voice.
Once he appears comfortable with you, you can get ready to go. It’s helpful to have another person with you to comfort the dog while you’re driving the car.
If the dog has any hostile tendencies, you should put him in a crate during the car ride and consider a muzzle.
Ask the owner to give you all of his old stuff—bed, blanket, toys, etc. Take them with you and don’t launder them for a while. The familiar scent will be comforting to your pet.
2. CALM SURROUNDINGS
When you first bring your dog home, make sure the environment is calm. Simply the newness of the situation will be overpowering. So try to keep any typical household chaos to a minimum.
Give your new pet the opportunity to check things out at his own speed. You can use the time he explores to assess him and see how interested or reluctant he is to engage.
Have a space set aside that’s his alone, where he can feel safe. Try to set up your pet space similar to what he had in his previous home.
Be slow and deliberate about your new dog meeting friends and extended family members. Make sure he’s comfortable with you and your immediate family first.
Huge dietary shifts can be difficult on animals. So try to maintain a diet that’s similar to what your dog has been eating up until you took him home.
Hopefully the home from which you’re adopting your pet will give you the remaining food they have to take with you.
But if they don’t, ask them for the brand and type so you can purchase some. If you want to change your dog’s diet, that’s totally fine, just do it slowly.
4. ESTABLISH A ROUTINE
A routine provides your new pup with something familiar, something he can expect, something that is a known quantity.
Creating a schedule, even if it’s just a loose one, will help your dog adjust. Try to stick to hard meal times, similar potty times each day (make them frequent at first), and maybe a daily walk or exercise time.
Do your best to schedule picking up your new pet when you have a few days off work. This will allow you to get to know each other, and help your dog acclimate.
Simply be patient—you have the rest of your lives together. Your dog may have a few house training issues, escape attempts, or loss of appetite.
Be understanding and allow your pet time to grieve for the loss of his old family and time to begin trusting his new family.