October is Adopt-a-dog month, an annual focus on finding forever-homes for shelter and rescue animals. Each re-homed dog makes space for more homeless pets at shelters. Sadly, an estimated 3 to 4 million animals are euthanized because of overcrowding in animal shelters every year.
The benefits of owning a pet are numerous, but first they need to survive transitioning from the shelter to family life. Make it a smooth transition by welcoming your dog to home with these six tips:
Tip 1: Prepare the House
Before leaving the shelter with the new dog, make sure your home is set up with spaces for them to eat, drink, and sleep. Also, find out what food they use at the shelter. It takes a few days to transition a dog to new food without gastronomical pain.
Tip 2: Dog-Proof Everything
Take a walk around your home and yard, looking for problem spots. Make sure all food items are out of reach; tuck away stray cords; remove valuable objects or furniture that won’t survive nervous chewing or pet training.
Tip 3: Consider a Crate
While it might seem like a cage to us, many dogs prefer using a crate because of their natural instinct to sleep in caves. Crates can help nervous dogs feel secure in their own space as they adjust to this big change. However, dogs should not be left in their crates all day. They need exercise, play, and entertainment, too.
Tip 4: Prepare Yourself for the Change
Know that when a new dog first settles into a new home, it takes time for them to adjust and feel secure. Don’t panic when they seem nervous and shy. It can take either days or weeks for a new pet to recognize your home as their home. While they adjust, your role is to build trust and provide a calm, safe place.
Tip 5: Establish Routines
While transitioning to a new home is hard, your new dog will appreciate established routines of walking, eating, and sleeping. It will reassure them of stability and help them adjust faster. So plan when and how much to feed them. Look at your schedule and plan for daily walks. They will thank you.
Tip 6: Introduce Other Pets Slowly
If you have other dogs at home, keep them all on leashes and introduce them outside of the home before bringing a new dog inside. Once they have said “hi” outside, you can move them inside. Keep your new dog on his leash and walk through the house. Let him get used to his new home in a space away from other pets for the first couple days. Then slowly let them interact inside more often until they recognize each other as part of the same pack.
Article written by Melissa Wheeler, a writer and pet enthusiast. Melissa has a 10-year-old Whippet, named Leo, who loves to run, sneak food, and cuddle with his family.