You found the perfect pet and you are so excited! But it’s important to realize that your rescue pet has been through a lot and may need some time and special care to be able to settle in and become comfortable in his or her new forever home. Here are some tips for helping with the adjustment.
Start slowly and be patient.
Just as you’d find it stressful to move into a new space, it’s also stressful for your new dog, considering that your home is a foreign land to him or her. Also, the dog is joining a new, unknown family/pack, which is scary.
Keep in mind that it can take three to four weeks (sometimes longer) for a dog to adjust to a new family and new surroundings. Don’t take it personally if, in the meantime, your pet is distant, has no appetite, or has accidents. A kind voice, lots of petting and belly rubs, and avoidance of harsh corrections will go a long way in making your new dog feel comfortable and help you establish trust.
Give the dog personal space.
Dogs may be very friendly and social, but it’s important they have their own personal space, especially when they are stressed after moving into a new home. Whether it’s a crate or just a corner of the living room, it’s important to designate a place in your house where the dog can go to relax and be unbothered by anyone or anything.
Routines are built over time but it’s best to establish eating, sleeping, exercise, and play routines with your new pet as soon as possible. Creating a fixed schedule will help your dog relax and adjust sooner because dogs see routines as reassurance that things are normal.
Yes, this was listed as #1 but it is worth repeating! Each dog is different in terms of how long it will take before feeling comfortable. (Just think of how you would feel if you went to live in a completely foreign place! It takes time!) So, it’s important that you give your dog whatever time is needed to adjust and build trust with you.
Last but not least, if you have questions or concerns about your pet’s behavior during the adjustment period, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet for input and advice!