What to expect when you are expecting…a new dog!

Congratulations on your new family member and thank you for choosing adoption! It is always exciting welcoming a new member to the family. The excitement starts from the moment you submit the application, then you patiently wait for that phone call or email, you go through all the steps, you receive your approval! You meet the dog and now it is time to bring him or her home. It is exciting and we understand that but we want to remind you that the dog will not understand why you are excited and he or she will need time to adjust.

The dog you just adopted was in the shelter, prior to the shelter we are not certain what his or her life was like. Then they enter the shelter where it can be a loud and scary place, they get onto a transport and go to their foster home. They learn the routine of their foster home and basic training such as house breaking. Then they found you, their forever home, except that dog does not know you are their forever home, not yet. So while you are very excited, this is just another new place the dog is being transitioned to and the dog is not sure yet what to expect. Can you imagine traveling from place to place? How would you feel if you were put into different stranger’s homes and expected to interact with them on a daily basis? Please keep this in mind and understand some dogs need an adjustment period, especially if you have other animals in the home. Some dogs might need a couple weeks and some might need a couple months.

Here are some tips to help your new dog become adjusted to you and their new home:

  • Allow the dog to explore the new home: Give your dog time to explore the house, if there are other animals in the home, put them in a separate area so that the new dog can roam where he or she wants to sniff out the new place! Leave a leash on him for a few days while he explores the house.
  • Setup gates: Setup gates to keep the dog in your sight at all times until he or she appears comfortable
  • Allow the dog to sleep in your room: Allow the dog to sleep in the same room with you, if you have other animals, put your new dog in an x-pen in your room. Pack animals share space while sleeping together, by having your new dog sleep with you, it will help him or her feel more comfortable and safe. Dogs do not like to be isolated.
  • Have water available 24/7: Keep water available at all times. If you are using a pen or crate for your dog, put a bowl that attaches to the cage to prevent spillage.
  • Keep guests to a minimum: Wait to have visitors over until your dog is comfortable in the home. When visitors do come over, ask that they ignore the dog until you are positive the dog is comfortable interacting with others. Do not force a dog to interact.
  • House training: Take your dog out frequently and to the same spot every time. Praise and treat your dog as she/he finishes.

If there are other dogs currently in the home, please follow these tips to help everyone adjust. Please remember, everything is NEW. Keep in mind how you would feel if forced to live with someone you did not know. It will take time to feel comfortable and for the dog to learn their new routine. Please be patient with them!

  • Go to a neutral location: Find a neutral location to meet and please do this before you bring the new dog into the home. NEVER throw a dog into the mix and hope for the best, the outcome will not be what you hoped for.
  • Allow the new dog to enter the home without the established dog: After the dogs have met on neutral territory a couple of times, it is time to enter the home but before doing so, make sure the already established dog is occupied outside or in a different room. Also, make sure bones and favorite toys are picked up and put away, this is to prevent any resource guarding. Allow the new dog to check out the new house and smells.
  • Setup gates to separate new and established dog: When the established dog is back in the house, put the new dog behind a gate in the home. This allows the two dogs to sniff and see each other and allows you to monitor their behavior toward one another.
  • Allow supervised playtime: If both dogs appear friendly toward one another and appear they would like to play, allow them to do so. Make sure they are monitored at all times and allow for short play sessions with one another. Slowly work up to longer play sessions until they no longer need to be kept separate.
  • Feed separate: Feed the dogs in separate areas of the home. Once the dogs are done eating, pick up their food bowls and place them out of the way to prevent resource guarding.
  • Go on walks together: Take the dogs on walks together. This will require two people. Do not attempt to have one-person walk two dogs. While the dogs are adjusting it is best they walk together but still have space between them. Use a pull control harness while on walks.
  • Do not correct altercations: If the dogs growl or begin to fight do not correct them. Separate them and contact us for further advice.
  • Never leave unsupervised: Never leave the dogs alone together until they are completely comfortable with one another.
  • Enroll in a class after 2 weeks: After 2 weeks of having your new dog/puppy consider enrolling in a training class. If you have a puppy, look into puppy kindergarten classes to begin socializing. Make sure the class you choose uses positive training and does not use shock collars, choke or prong collars. Please contact us for suggestions.