Adopting a dog is a fantastic choice. Not only do you get a wonderful companion, but you also rescue a dog from an uncertain fate and provide a loving home instead. However, adopting a dog is not without its challenges. You don’t know what the dog may have experienced, and you may have to help the dog overcome a lot of fears and anxiety.
Even if your dog had a great life before being adopted, just being in a new home is stressful enough. You need to take extra care in welcoming your dog to make the transition a smooth one and let your dog know that you are providing a safe and loving environment. Here are a few things you can do to help your adopted dog adjust to your home:
Have Treats and Toys Ready
Your adopted dog is going to have a lot of anxiety about the big changes taking place. You can immediately ease some of this anxiety by having things ready for your dog, such as a bed, a harness, a food station, treats, and some toys.
Treats and toys are especially important because they are like rewards and they make your dog feel good. Treats that contain cannabidiol (CBD), like Canna-Pet doggy biscuits, also have a medicinal effect on your dog’s anxiety. These treats not only make your dog feel warm toward you for giving them, but they also create physiological responses in your dog that reduce stress. Toys help further reduce your dog’s stress by providing opportunities to expend nervous energy through chewing, wrestling, chasing, and more. Have a variety of toys to ensure that you have something that will suit your dog’s tastes.
Spend a Few Days at Home
If you can, take a few days off work to be with your dog when you first bring him home. This will allow you to spend a lot of quality time with your dog while also helping him adjust to the new schedule and the new surroundings.
While you are home, spend a lot of time talking with your dog, playing together, petting your dog, and just being together. You can just watch TV while your dog sits next to you. The key is to get your dog used to you and feel safe around you.
It is also important that you work on house training while you are home together. Make sure you leave the house briefly during this time to give your dog a chance to practice these skills.
Provide a Crate
Putting your dog in a crate might sound like putting him in doggy jail to you. But to your dog, a crate is a safe space. Dogs are den animals, and the crate is like his own private den. Whenever your dog feels scared, stressed, or overwhelmed, he can go to the crate and feel more secure.
Leave the door to the crate open unless you are leaving the house or working on house training. Keep food and water right outside the door, as well as several toys. Your dog may also like a soft cushion or blanket inside the crate. The key is to make the crate as comfortable and inviting as possible for your dog.
Replicate Diet and Schedule
Even if you adopt your dog from a shelter, you should have some information about what kind of schedule your dog has followed and what kind of diet he has had. You may only get a few weeks’ worth of information, but that is still valuable. You want to replicate whatever your dog has been used to in the most recent past.
Feed your dog the same kind of food to start, even if you plan to change it. Do what you can to feed and walk your dog on the same schedule, as well. You can make slow changes to diet and schedule over time, but keeping them the same at first will help your dog feel more secure.
Everything is going to be new to your adopted dog. Try to limit new people, as well, so as not to overwhelm your dog any more than is necessary. Now is not the time to take your dog to the park or to show him off to all the neighbors. Now is not the time to schedule a big party or to plan a lot of play dates for your kids.
Keep things to you or your immediate family members until your dog feels more comfortable. If you have children living in the home, monitor the interactions between the children and the dog to ensure that the kids don’t poke or prod the dog and stress him out.
Adopting a dog can be wonderful for you and the dog, especially if you adopt an older dog looking for a last chance at a family. Use these tips to help your dog transition a little easier and make sure that you have a long and wonderful relationship together.
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