The First 30 Days of Dog Adoption – Tips to Help Your New Dog Settle In
A dog can be a loving companion, a goofy buddy, an exercise partner, and more, but dog ownership is also a lot of work. Training and caring for your dog requires time and money, and adopting a dog is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Bringing home a rescue dog is an exciting time for you but can be a little bit scary for your new arrival. New smells, sights and people can be a daunting prospect for your four-legged friend.
Each dog is different and can take varying lengths of time and plenty of patience to settle into home life.
Getting them home
Give your dog plenty of time to settle into its new home and make sure that you provide it with a safe place to settle and relax. A comfy bed or dog crate in a quiet corner of the room you want the dog to primarily stay, e.g. kitchen or utility room would be ideal.
Don’t force interaction with the dog. If they are a little reserved it is important to give them time to relax and approach you in their own time.
Allow the dog to investigate its new home, dogs think with their noses so every inch of your house and garden is likely to be inspected over the next few days!
Don’t be surprised if your dog is off their dinner initially, dogs tend to lose their appetite if they are nervous or a bit stressed. Be patient. You can try offering small pieces of food by hand but do not force them to eat if they don’t want to. They will eat once they feel comfortable.
It’s not unusual for your dog to be unsettled overnight for a few days. Whilst comforting them is good, in the long term rushing to the dog every time it makes a sound can cause problems with separation anxiety. It is better to direct them to their bed and give them a distraction like a chew or a stuffed kong before leaving them again.
Use soft gentle tones of voice with them and reward good behaviour and settling. Try to avoid raised voices or telling the dog off for whimpering. Remember everything is new and scary to them.
Dogs thrive off a consistent routine.
It may be a good idea to have a family meeting and set some house rules for your new dog. Decide on the following:
- Where is the dog allowed to go in the house and where is it not?
- Who will feed it and at what times?
- Where will it sleep?
- Walking schedule, who will be taking it and at what times?
Stick to these rules, routine allows a dog to settle and feel comfortable in the home.
Bear in mind that your home routine is going to be very different to what they have been used to at OAS so it may take some time for them to adjust.
It is a good idea to take some time off work when you initially get your dog home. During this time they can bond with you and generally become more settled in their new environment. A comfortable and settled dog is less likely to panic or become stressed the first time you leave them at home on their own.
It is a good idea to allow your new rescue dog to settle into life with you in the home for a couple of days so that they become familiar with you. It’s then time to get out with the dog to socialise with its new surroundings.
We recommend that until you have built up a strong bond with your dog that you keep them on a lead when out for walks. You can use a long line or an extendable lead (make sure it is the right size for the weight of your dog) to give the dog some more space to roam.
Take some high reward treats with you and reward the dog for behaving appropriately around other dogs, people, kids, crowds or traffic. Remember to do this all at your dog’s pace. Some of our dogs may have been poorly socialised as puppies or had a previous bad experience so may need some extra encouragement and perseverance. The kennel staff will have given some specific guidelines for your dog regarding how sociable
A dog is never too old to learn new tricks!
What better way of bonding with your new dog than signing up for some dog training classes.
There are classes up and down the country catering for dogs of all ages and breeds. Training your dog in a safe controlled environment is a good way to get to grips with what your dog is already good at and areas where they might be struggling.
Each dog is different and will learn at a different pace but with time and patience you can both feel the benefit of getting out and about and learning together.
Our staff will have gone through everything they can with you about your dog before you take it home. Ultimately problematic behaviours can crop up in the home which haven’t been shown by the dog during their time in kennels. Remember we won’t always have a full history of the dog’s behaviour, especially if it was a stray. In instances like this it can be necessary to seek the help of a trainer in a 1:1 session or a behaviourist who can help guide you and the dog in the right direction.
Health and General Care
We advise that you get your new dog registered with your local vet so that they have you signed up on their system ready for when their annual booster is due or if you should need them if a problem arises.
It is also a good idea to get your new dog insured. Vet bills can be costly if your dog falls ill at any point. Insurance will cover the cost of lots of different illnesses, but check the fine print to see which they will cover.
Keep up to date with Flea and worming treatments. We will have given you the date that your dog’s treatments are next due. Speak with your vet for which brand to use. Prescription treatments are much more effective than shop bought ones.
By law your dog should wear a collar with a name tag bearing your FULL address and telephone number whenever they are in a public place. It is also law to have your dog microchipped (we will have done this before your dog goes home).
Your Freedom Will Be Limited
You’re committing to coming home directly after work for the next 10-15 years of your life. What will you do when you travel? Are you going to ensure your dog is socialized well enough that you can leave him or her with another dog owner or dog daycare facility?