Congratulations! You’ve just changed a life by adopting a dog from a rescue center and they’re almost ready to come home with you. So, what happens next?
No doubt, the staff at the shelter will give you ample advice and guidance, but we have some additional advice that you can take on board too. We have provided you with a range of simple and effective pointers that will help the new member of your family feel as comfortable and at ease as possible.
It is worth bearing in mind that there are measures you should consider, such as training, walks, etc. once your new pooch is settled in at home, but for now, we’re going to cover off the initial points for you.
Before you pick your new pet up, you should plan ahead in terms of where the dog will sit in the car on the way home. Ideally, you should have two people in the car; one to do the driving and then another person to comfort the dog and make them feel as relaxed as possible.
When you’ve picked up the pooch, don’t go taking any detours or running errands. You should take your pet straight home so that they avoid getting stressed out in the car.
Don’t Throw a Welcome Party
As much as you may have good intentions at heart, it can be really stressful for your dog to encounter multiple people upon arrival in a new home. Give them a few days to settle in before allowing people to meet the latest member of the family.
Let Them Roam
Once you are home, give your doggy some time to explore their surroundings, have a sniff around in the garden and get a feel for the place. Make sure you take them to the place where they will be going to the toilet and reward them with a treat as soon as they do their business there.
You might want to install an invisible dog fence at some point to ensure that they are safe outside.
Know Where to Do the Meet and Greet
Make sure that you introduce your dog to the rest of the family while you’re all outside, and do it one at a time. You’ll probably have met them on two or three occasions at the rescue center, but it’s best to keep it calm and low-key again now they’re home.
Give the dog the chance to approach, sniff and initiate the interaction. Offering up a treat is a good way to help the dog to familiarize themselves with family members with nice things, e.g. treats/food.
You all might be tempted to show your affections with hugs, kisses, picking them up, patting them on the head and staring at them when they first arrive, but this type of behavior can make dogs feel scared or uneasy, so avoid them, to begin with.
If you already have a dog or two, a slow introduction is required. All animals involved should be leashed and allowed to sniff each other to introduce themselves. An initial tussle may happen especially if you are adding a male dog to the home of another male dog or two. Who will be dominant needs to be decided so one dog might take the lead. The tussle might just be a subtle growl or a bark. There might not be a tussle at all if all of the dogs a good nature and are friendly to other dogs.
Let Them Outside Often
Be sure to take your pet outside regularly when they first move in. Even though they may already be well housetrained at their previous home, your dog will need to be introduced to the house rules that you set, and this will obviously need to include a housetraining refresher.
Allow Plenty of “Down Time”
Finally, as part of making them feel welcome, you should also give your new dog plenty of opportunity for “quiet time”. This will let them acclimatize to all of their new surroundings.
Just remember to remain observant of their responses and keep everything at the dog’s pace; after all, moving into a new home with a new family can be quite overwhelming.
Once the initial settling in period is over, you’ll have years and years of happy memories to make with your new dog!