Animatch Blog

Bringing your new dog home

Congratulations, you’ve just adopted a dog.  Now you must give him time to adopt you! 

Imagine that you have been transplanted from being a roaming dog in a Northern Community, or you’ve been a stray or a reject from a puppy mill, or you may have had a great home but your family situation changed.  It might be possible that may have bounced from various homes before you find yourself with a rescue.  Even if a rescue like Animatch is a great option compared to some of the alternatives, the environment is stressful, to say the least.

One day, your routine changes. A new person adopts you and brings you into a new home. All the surroundings, all the people inside the home, are new. You have no knowledge of your new home’s rules or schedule. You aren’t even sure if you will stay in this new place.

It can take from 6-8 weeks and often months, depending on the dog and his previous environment, before a dog feels comfortable.  Here are a few tips for that transition period –

  • Give your dog some “safe” places in your home, i.e. crate, quiet corner with dog bed.  Newly adopted dogs need “quiet time” to adjust to their surroundings, so go easy on visitors and new experiences for a while
  • Limit too much excitement (such as the dog park or neighborhood children). Let your dog settle in and give yourself some one-on-one time to get to know his likes or dislikes.
  • Dogs don’t inherently know how we want them to behave.  Many behaviours humans identify as “problems” are quite simply dogs acting like dogs (i.e. chewing, marking, resource guarding.).  It is our responsibility to teach them – sign up for OBEDIENCE TRAINING. 
  • Practice brief absences during the settling-in period. Install gates and barriers in your home to prevent your dog from bolting out the door or going into areas of your house that are off limits
  • Before bringing your dog home, do an outside security check. Walk every foot of the perimeter of your fence -- look for loose boards and gaps. For the first week, when your dog is outside you should also be outside – even if your yard is fenced.
  • Get a properly fitted harness (such as the EasyWalk), as well as a sturdy 6-foot leash. To ensure your pet’s safety, purchase tags to place on his collar with your telephone number.  Do NOT remove the Animatch tag – a dog can never be carrying too much I.D.
  • NEVER, NEVER let your dog out without a leash until your dog has perfect recall.  And this may take weeks or months.  For certain breeds or types of dogs, it may be never.  Everyone who adopts – especially those planning on doing off-leash walks – should attend Obedience Training   Classes.

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