Adopting a dog is an option that millions of people take every single year. Rescuing a dog from a shelter is good for him or her and for the family or person that decides to take this step.
However, it is important to know what are the right steps you should take, to make the whole process as painless as possible. It will help your dog to better adapt to the new surroundings and start feeling like he belongs to the new home.
Understanding the stress
This is the first thing many people do not understand; the dog has most likely undergone a lot of stress. No matter if we are talking about a puppy or a grown-up dog, being in a shelter is stressful. Even though they receive some care over there, their experiences in the shelter are more stressful than if the dog was at the owner’s home.
The thing you should start-off with is introducing the dog with all the household members with whom it is going to live with. This is the starting step that will allow you to see how well the dog responds to everyone.
Once that is finished, you can move on to planning to move your new pet to your home. The point is that the whole process is stress free and that there are no sudden actions when the dog arrives at home. Make sure the children show excitement, but remain silent, in order not to disturb the dog. Once you arrive at home, let the dog explore at its own pace. When some time passes, take it for a walk around the neighbourhood, so that it can get familiar with the new home’s surroundings.
Picking the right time
You would think that being on vacation and having some extra time on your hands is a great period of time to adopt a dog? Wrong. The point is for the dog to get into your usual life routine. If you dedicate too much time to the dog, it will feel very connected with you, which can cause stress for it and create separation anxiety in the future.
For example, you are on a two-week vacation from work and you adopt a dog. You dedicate two weeks to your dog every single day. When it’s time for you to go back to work, the dog is going to experience a lot of stress, as he will have to go through a new adaptation process.
Therefore, pick a period of time when things are calm in your life and don’t make any specific changes to your everyday obligations. It will help the dog adapt to the new surroundings as it is immediately immersed in your everyday schedule.
Introduction to other people
Once the dog is adopted, there is a time-frame of about two weeks before it becomes too territorial. This is the period of time when you should encourage your friends to stop by as much as possible, so the dog can connect with them. This will help prevent any problems in the future, as the last thing you want is a dog that is always barking at your close friends and family when they visit.
Reward based training is your friend
From the moment the dog enters your yard, it is time to start with reward based dog training. It is one of the most effective training approaches that will allow you to better handle your dog and teach him or her to listen to you. You don’t have to be too strict, but you should never let the dog set its own rules.
Work on teaching what the rules of the new household are and what are the rewards for good behaviour. It will make the adaptation process much easier.
Slowly change the dog’s nutrition
Shelters struggle with their budgets. Therefore, you are certainly going to purchase higher quality food for your dog. However, when you bring it home, don’t start feeding it immediately with the new food. The sudden change will cause digestion problems and unnecessary stress for your new addition.
It is best to learn what food was given to it in the shelter, and slowly start mixing the new food with the old one. Reduce the presence of the food served in shelter, and the nutrition change will not negatively affect the dog’s digestive system.
By taking these steps, you are going to ensure a peaceful transition from the shelter to your home. Remember to be there for your new dog, because no matter how much you make sure the adoption process goes smoothly, it is going to be stressful to some extent. Therefore, take the above steps steadily and follow your pet’s progress.