Bringing home an adopted pet for the first time is always an exciting and fun event but one that should also be taken seriously. Those first few days in your home present a critical period of adjustment and transition for not only the adopted pet but also for your family and any other pets in the home. Dogs and cats are very susceptible to change brought on by new environments, people, and other animals. For a dog or cat that may have been owner-surrendered, came from a shelter or rescue, or just found roaming the streets, he or she will need stability, structure, guidance, and, of course, lots of love and patience. Making this a top priority during the first few weeks in a new home can mean all the difference in the positive adjustment of your new furry family member. Here are a few tips that may help to make this transition a bit easier for all involved.
Upon bringing your new dog or cat home, avoid overwhelming him or her with a lot of new, strange people for a couple of days. An animal will let you know when they are ready to do more. If small children are at home, ensure they understand how to approach the dog or cat, even if they are familiar with existing pets. This new pet, may not yet be ready for excited voices and hands. Maintaining a calm and relaxing environment, along with some dedicated down time, will help him or her to settle in and provide an opportunity for you to learn his or her likes and dislikes.
Animals are creatures of habit. They like schedules and therefore, it is vital to create a consistent schedule that everyone in the home adopts. Feeding time, bathroom time for dogs, play time, and even sleep time, should always be kept the same every day to ensure a strong bond. The same applies to hand signals and commands for dogs. Consistency and repetition are the keys to effective training.
Over time, your new dog or cat will acclimate and become a beloved family member for many, many years. If for any reason, you are unsure of a behavior or how to approach a situation please talk to your veterinarian or a trainer.