New Dog Owner?
Steps to Consider for Transition Success!
Monique Williams and MJ Logano

Have you just adopted a pet? The arrival of a new dog is a fun and exciting time for a new pet owner! However, the first few days at home with an animal addition to the family will be a transition for both you and the canine. Time is needed to learn about the pet’s personality and preferences. Your pet needs time to learn about you, his new home and your expectations of him. Shelter dogs come into their new homes after living in a stressful, kennel environment, perhaps, carrying “baggage” from their past experiences with previous, irresponsible owners.

The very best advice to ease your new pet’s transition into his new home is a simple, “Don’t over do it”. Remember, you are entering a long-term relationship with your new companion. There is no need to rush anything. Patience is also needed with the expectation that your canine will act like a dog. The following are guidelines for your first few days together: 

1. If your pet has been recently spayed or neutered, follow the post surgical care instructions from the veterinarian. Keep a watch on signs of physical stress and possible surgical complications.

2. Visit a veterinarian with your new pet for a follow-up visit. Inquire about all of the needs of your pet especially the purchase of a heart worm preventative.

3. While it may be tempting to want to pamper your new pet with a trip to the groomer or to the pet store, your pet may find these outings very stressful. Put off these types of trips until your pet has had time to settle in and get to know you.

4. Try not to overwhelm your pet with visitors. Postpone introductions to neighbors, friends or a large number of children until your pet has gotten to know you and his new home first.

5. Always supervise your children and other pets with the new dog. While your children may only have the best intentions, your new pet may be surprised and unprepared for their hugs and affection. Introduce the new dog with other pets in a neutral area and not in the house. Animal interactions should be accompanied with treats so that the animals associate positive rewards with the interaction.

6. If you have other pets, feed separately until it is clear that one will not steal from the other.

7. For your new pet’s safety, confine him if you must leave him during the first few days. A dog crate or a safe room work well.

8. Do not expect housetraining perfection too soon! Initially treat your new dog, despite his age, as a new puppy who needs to learn house manners. Crate train and establish feeding and walking schedules to help with housetraining issues.

9. Establish a sleeping area that your new pet can call his own. Often sharing your bed or couch too soon with your pet can lead to confusion from the dog who may react with guarding issues toward other members of the family. The new pet may not be used to luxuries and may want to protect them from others. Pet boundaries are important, especially, for the initial acclimation.

10. Praise appropriate behavior immediately with small treats that are effective in reinforcing your training message.

11. Begin your relationship with your new pet with the commitment and unconditional love your pet will give back in return! 

ShadowMe Dog Training is a strong supporter of both pure breed and mixed breed rescue efforts!  Please contact us for more information on adopting a rescue dog or helping your newly adopted pet become a wonderful member of your family!