Congratulations! You have just rescued a new shelter dog and brought him into your home. The following steps will help make his transition into your life as seamless as possible. These guidelines are focused on helping a new adult or adolescent dog become accustomed to his new home. The rules are somewhat different if you have adopted a young puppy.
Top 6 Tips To Acclimate Your Rescue Dog
1. Do not assume he is house-trained
Even if you’ve adopted an adult dog, you need to take him out often to the area you want him to eliminate and praise him enthusiastically every time he goes. If he has an accident in your house, do not scold or punish; clean it up and get on with your life. Be more diligent about taking him out. Use the same door if possible, and the same leash if you do not have a fenced yard. If your yard is fenced, go outside with him and be sure to praise when he goes, even if you are praising him from some distance away.
2. Take him for walks in your neighborhood
He needs to learn where your home is. Even a small walk can help elevate some stress and help your dog relax.
3. Watch out for escape routes
A new dog in a new place may want to run away. This is no reflection on you, but it happens often and your new dog will not yet have learned his way home. Make sure you securely close doors and gates to your home or yard.
4. Establish a schedule as quickly as possible
Your dog will adjust more easily into your life if he knows what to expect. Try to feed and walk him at the same times each day. Dogs love a routine!
5. Avoid having many newcomers to your home the first couple of weeks
Although you are proud of your newest family member and want all of your friends to meet him, have one or two people over at a time for the first several weeks until he has had time to get used to his new immediate family. This rule does not apply to new puppies who are under 16 weeks old – you should have several gatherings with lots of people if your puppy is a youngster; this is really good for socializing your new puppy.
6. Slowly add outings to the park or going for a ride
Try to keep it rather boring for the first week or two so you don’t over stimulate or stress out your new dog. Allow them time to become comfortable in their new surroundings.
If you run into problems during the first couple of weeks, seek help from a professional. It takes a good three or four weeks for a new dog to get used to a new living situation. Change is difficult for dogs, these tips will ease some of the tension for you and your companion.