Tips for the first days in the new home
Following an adoption, it may take a few weeks or months for you and your dog to fully adjust to your new life together, and to establish a relationship based on mutual understanding, trust and respect. Be patient. Your dog may have bounced from one or more homes, to a shelter, and then to you. Providing her with consistent and gentle guidance will help lower her stress. Remember, there is a reason you’ve chosen this dog or she’s chosen you!
The following tips will help you bring out your dog’s best qualities.
1. First day in the new home
It is important that the first day in the new home is a relaxed and pleasant experience for the dog, so you can help him adjust to things more easily.
Lots of dogs have underwent stress, either because they were recently abandoned, or because they have spent some time in a shelter.
The dog needs a calm environment to decompress.
Limit the amount of visitors, especially during the first days, to those absolutely necessary, and give your dog the time to adjust to your home.
2.Help your dog relax at home alone
Adopted dogs usually form instant deep bonds with their new owners, and in the beginning, separation may be emotional for you both. Help give your dog the confidence to be home alone by incorporating the following confidence-building tips into his day. Begin using these tips as soon as you bring him home.
- Leave the house frequently for short periods by walking out the door, closing it, and then returning. Once your dog is comfortable with short departures, randomly include some longer departures.
- Ignore your dog during departures and arrivals (be very casual – don’t look back!).
- Turn the television or radio on 30 minutes before leaving (and at least 15 minutes before you start preparing to leave) to help calm your dog when he’s alone.
- It also helps to leave a piece of clothing with your scent, while you are away.
- Try to stay relaxed. If you’re anxious your dog’s anxiety will increase.
- Give your dog a safe chew toy stuffed with treats before you leave the house.
A dog with severe separation anxiety may destroy property, bark incessantly, scratch around doors or windows, or injure himself in a frenzied panic. Speak to a dog trainer, animal behaviorist or veterinarian for ways to increase your dog’s comfort when he’s home alone.
3.Establish household rules and routines
If your dog is living with more than one person, it is especially important that rules and routines are followed by every member of the household to encourage consistency, and to give your dog stability and leadership. The more consistent your family is, the quicker she can figure things out. Lack of routine, yelling at your dog for doing things wrong, or letting her make up her own rules will only make your dog anxious and unsettled. Consider incorporating some of the following rules and routines into your household.
- Feed your dog high-quality meals on a regular schedule in a quiet place.
- Walk your dog a minimum of twice a day – once before you leave for work. Active dogs may also require vigorous off-leash exercise in a secure area.
- Use treats or small amounts of people food as re- wards for good behaviour (such as lying down quietly) or as training aids. Do not feed your dog from the table or when she’s whining or barking
- Teach your dog that he must ask for things he likes by sitting politely, rather than by making demands (e.g. barking). Turn away if he starts barking and/or jumping.
4. Reward behaviours you want
Most people are so used to noticing “mistakes” our dogs make that it seems odd to notice and reward “good” behaviours.
But, if the only behaviours you reward with your attention are unwanted behaviours (even yelling is attention), then these are the very behaviours your dog will repeat.
Instead, make a habit of noticing and rewarding your dog for wonderful behaviours that you may typically take for granted, such as lying down, playing quietly, chewing appropriate toys, acting friendly to other pets or people, or walking on leash without pulling. Having been rewarded, he will be motivated to keep doing those things you like!
5. Manage the situation so your dog makes “good” choices
Dogs develop habits (good and bad) quickly. As a result, extra management early on is invaluable. Every time your dog has the opportunity to repeat an unwanted behaviour, such as jumping on guests, you’re making it more likely she will do it again. Your job is to figure out what triggers the behaviour, to anticipate it, and to prevent it from reoccurring.
6. Teach children and pets to respect each other
When introducing your new dog to your pets, supervise at all times and allow them time to accept each other – friendships may take weeks or months to develop. In the beginning, you may need to baby gate certain rooms, or shut doors to keep pets separated when they can’t be supervised.
It’s also important to teach your children – and dog – to behave appropriately together. Babies and small children require adult supervision around any dog, even their own. Be aware that older dogs, and those with disabilities, may be easily irritated or frightened. Educate children to be considerate of their limitations and to treat them with respect.
As well, teach your children not to:
- Disturb a dog that is eating or sleeping
- Approach a dog’s food, toys or bowl.
- Tease, chase or yell at a dog.
- Play roughly with dogs, or grab their ears and tails.
- Take food away from a dog or pick up dropped food in a dog’s presence.
- Run or ride a bicycle past a dog. Some dogs like to chase fast-moving objects.
(source material: https://ontariospca.ca/blog/adopting-a-shelter-dog-10-tips-for-a-successful-adoption/)