The Adjustment Phase: Bringing a New Pet Home

Posted On: 05-20-2013

When bringing a new pet into your home, you should expect there to be an adjustment period. Your pet will be a bit anxious as he or she starts to explore the boundaries of his or her new environment and accepts new residents, a new schedule, and a new communication style. Part of this initial anxiety may include housetraining accidents, attempts at escaping by jumping over or digging under fences, bolting out doors, excessive barking, or attempting to avoid interaction with you. Also, some dogs have decreased appetites or upset stomachs. To aid in this adjustment, here are a few steps to follow when welcoming your new companion home. 

Control

It is important to establish rules for your house and stick to them. This includes what space your pet is allowed in and what they need to stay away from. It’s best to be consistent so as not to create confusion. Observe your pet’s habits closely and allow selective freedom. Allow time for you to get to know your animal and learn what can calm them down when excited. One way to create a safe space for your pet is to set up a crate or kennel. To a human, this small space would feel constricting but to a dog, it’s comforting to have a sanctuary to retreat to. When you leave the house, place your new pet into the crate so that when left unattended, is not destructive to your property. This can also aid in potty-training and prevent accidents in the house since dogs rarely eliminate in their “den.” 

Who Comes First, Who Comes Second

Decide early in your relationship what behaviors you want to live with and be consistent in your teachings. This will encourage your dog to follow your wishes. For example, if you don’t want the dog on the furniture, be sure to follow thru and not allow your dog on the bed or the couch.

Bonding Through Activity

Physical activity is a great way to strengthen bonds with your dog. As social creatures, dogs require stimulation and exercise on a daily basis. Several breeds are bred specifically as working dogs and need to be worked in order to use their intelligence productively.

Above all, be patient. Your new dog does not know that your home is their new forever home. It takes time to adjust to all of the recent changes and to build trust with a new owner.