Getting a new dog is an extremely rewarding experience, but just like bringing any pet home there’s going to be an adjustment period. And like us our dogs love having a routine, so being consistent during the first few will be an important part of helping your dog adjust.
Whether you just got a new puppy or adopted an older dog you can expect them to take a few days to settle in. These tips will help make that transition easier on your dog. Here’s how to help your new dog adjust to your home.
How to Help Your Dog Adjust to Your Home
These tips will help your new dog settle into their new home, and they’ll increase the bond you form with your new dog. It might take a day or two, or it might take months — each dog comes with their own personality and experiences. Going from the shelter environment to a home is a big transition, so don’t be discouraged if your dog takes a while to get comfortable in your home.
Give Your Dog Time to Decompress By Starting Slowly
You can help your dog adjust to your home by taking it slow for the first couple of days. He’ll appreciate some one on one time getting to know his new family and surroundings. Let him explore the house and yard at his own pace.
Some dogs take awhile to adjust to new settings, and sometimes that can be exhausting for them. If you adopted your dog from a shelter realize that he just came from a noisy and stressful environment; your quiet and cozy home is likely the first place he’s gotten a good sleep in awhile.
Don’t over stimulate your dog during the first couple days.
If your dog is a bit standoffish just let them check things out for themselves. If they come up to you for attention by all means be as affectionate as they seem comfortable with.
Not all dogs bond immediately with a new owner – don’t take it personally. They’re in a brand new environment getting used to new sights, smells, and sounds. It can be a stressful time for your new dog so try to make them as comfortable as possible by keeping things calm and positive.
Give Your Dog His Own Space
One way you can help make your new dog more comfortable is by providing him with his own comfy bed or safe spot where he can retreat to when he’s tired or overwhelmed. Some dogs need a little extra time to just chill out every once in a while, especially with all the stress of being in a completely new environment.
If your new dog isn’t in the mood to cuddle or play you can try giving him something to do on his own by offering a food dispensing toy or stuffed Kong. By offering yummy treats in a Kong you’re showing your new dog that you’re the provider of awesome things. It’s a simple way to build trust, and if your dog is feeling uneasy in his new situation he might appreciate having a nice treat on his own.
Be Prepared For Stomach Issues When Changing Diets
Diarrhea is common among newly adopted dogs, either from stress or sudden dietary changes. You can ask the shelter or rescue which food your dog has been eating to help prevent an upset stomach from a sudden change in diet. If you’re not a fan of the brand they’ve been feeding you can switch but you may want to consider slowly transitioning them over to a new food by mixing some of the old in with the new.
Stress from moving into a new environment can cause diarrhea in newly adopted dogs. Ease their stress by taking things slowly the first week and giving them time to adapt. If your dog has diarrhea for more than a few days consult your veterinarian.
Dogs May Lose Their Appetite in New Surroundings
The stress from being in a new environment can cause dogs to lose their appetite. If you’ve adopted a shy dog they might need a few days before they’re comfortable enough to eat a normal meal. A new diet or change in food can also cause a dog to refuse to eat. A dog won’t starve himself; as long as your dog is healthy he’ll learn to adapt to his new diet.
If you’re concerned about your dog's appetite, offer them a piece of high value food such as chicken or ham. If they’ll readily eat high value food they’re likely just going through an adjustment period. If your dog won’t take high value food after a day or two it’s time to check with your veterinarian.
Make It Easier In The Long Run By Keeping Your Routine
Dog’s thrive on routine, and the sooner your new dog learns how your home functions the more comfortable he’ll be. You can help your new dog adjust to your home by:
Feeding at the same time every day
Going outside for potty breaks consistently
Going for your daily walk at the same time
Going to bed around the same time each night
This also includes exercise time, cuddle time or any other daily games or activities he’ll be involved with. He’ll feel more secure once he starts learning your routine and what is expected of him at any given time.
I know many owners want to spend as much time as possible with their new dog, and that’s wonderful. But try to incorporate at least some of your normal activities into the day during those first few weeks to help your dog adjust to what will become his normal routine.
Don’t Get Discouraged if it Takes A While
Please don’t be discouraged if your new dog doesn’t warm up to you on his first night home. Just like us dogs have their own personalities, and some of them are much more reserved and cautious than others.
Each dog is different, they come with their own experiences and personalities. Your dog might adjust to his new home in an hour, or it might take months. Give your new dog some patience, a steady schedule, and his own space and he’ll start to feel settled in his new environment. Your new dog will be your best friend before you know it.
How Did You Help Your Dog Adjust to His New Home?
Have you adopted a dog before? How did you help your dog adjust to a new home? Any tips I left out? Feel free to let me know in the comments – We’d love to hear your feedback.