Nicole Simone is the Founder of Redemption Paws, a Canadian registered charity that works to foster dogs and see them adopted into loving homes. Below, Nicole Simone discusses how to ease the transition when taking in an adopted dog.
A new dog in the home is exciting, but how can you ensure that your adopted companion is comfortable? Anxiety in pets is real and can make them act out if there are too many new stimuli for them to handle.
Here Nicole Simone and Redemption Paws explain some ways you can get your home ready for your pup and how you can help them adjust to their new home.
Gather the supplies you’ll need to accommodate your pet, including:
- Food and water bowls
- A collar, slip leash and regular leash
- Dog bed
Among all the items on this list, Nicole Simone and Redemption Paws explain that the slip leash is most important as most dogs can slip a collar if they get scared. She recommends a martingale collar and to always have your dogs ID on their collar. Make sure your dog is microchipped as well.
And don’t forget toys! You’ll want to buy plenty of toys to keep your dog busy. Buying enough toys ensures that your pet will latch onto at least one for comfort as they adjust to their new surroundings. Be careful with what toys you buy and make sure they meet your dogs needs. Don’t get anything that your dog can swallow. Pet insurance is an absolutely must, $50 a month goes quickly when presented with a $2000 emergency vet bill for a tennis ball that got ingested.
Take Time Off
Nicole Simone and Redemption Paws say plan to bring your new animal companion home over the weekend or when you’ll be able to spend a few days with them. Spending one-on-one time with your adopted dog will help them acclimate to their new environment and bond with you.
Your adopted dog may have a history of abandonment or abuse, so this period is crucial. You want to be with them as much as possible so they feel they can trust you. Nicole Simone and Redemption Paws says to use this time to clear your calendar and give them all of your attention.
Establish a Routine
As creatures of habit, dogs will feel more relaxed once settled into a routine. However, you’ll need to make it easier for them to adjust by establishing a clear plan between you and your family.
Nicole Simone and Redemption Paws say to discuss with your household who will be doing the feeding, the walking, etc., before you bring your adopted dog home. What are the rules for being on the furniture, and will a crate or playpen be needed?
Once your dog arrives, stick to the plan. Maintaining a set routine teaches the animal what to expect in the household, and they will adapt accordingly. However, if feeding times, the walk schedule, and house rules are inconsistent, they’re more likely to disobey.
Get ready to be patient with your dog as they adapt. Nicole Simone and Redemption Paws remind that housetraining doesn’t happen overnight, and it may be frustrating for you and your household to deal with, but it’s important to follow through and not give up. A typical dog needs a bathroom break every couple of hours. Positive reinforcement with treats will encourage these behaviors.
It’s also important to remain constant when it comes to food. If you know the brand your adopted dog is accustomed to, continue with that brand. You can always change brands later by mixing the new food in with the old gradually, but the important thing is to minimize the anxiety of new changes.
Introduce Them to Others Slowly
If you have other pets, Nicole Simone and Redemption Paws explain that you will need to introduce them to the newcomer slowly. It may seem like a good idea to introduce them immediately, but it’s better to wait and gauge the responses of the new dog beforehand. They may not be used to sharing with other pets and may feel anxious or scared when faced with other animals.
Give your adopted dog time to adapt to the space before introducing them to their new friends. This gives them a chance to calm down before moving on to the next new thing they will have to get used to and reduces the chances of your pets not getting along.
If you have smaller pets, like rabbits, make sure that they are in a safe place so that your adopted dog can get used to living around them. Nicole Simone and Redemption Paws say that your smaller pets will need to adjust as well.
Your friends and relatives may be eager to meet your adopted dog, but hold off for a few days. Just like with pets, your dog will need time to adjust to the new surroundings first. Throwing new people into the mix can trigger anxiety in your adopted dog, depending on their background.
Overall, introduce new people slowly once your adopted dog is more comfortable in your home for the best results.
Bottom Line from Nicole Simone
Remember that your adopted friend will have a lot of new stimuli and changes to get used to in its new home. Nicole Simone and Redemption Paws explain that the more prepared you are to add the dog into your life, the easier it will be for them to adjust.
Be with your new pet through every step of their transition, but provide them with a safe space to relax and wind down if they get too overwhelmed. Be patient and diligent, and your newly adopted dog will become part of the family in no time.