Congratulations on your new dog! Below is some need to know information that will help you transition your new dog into your home and family.
The Initial Adjustment Period
The First Three Days
During the first 72 hours of having your new dog home he or she will be in a heightened state of stress. This is similar to the stress a person might have from getting a new job. Though it’s good stress, it’s still very stressful and consistency, stability and predictability are key to helping your new dog feel comfortable in his new home. During this time, avoid going to new places, introducing dog to new people outside of the family and taking trips to places like dog parks, grooming facilities or doggie daycare.
Introducing New Pets
Keeping the routine of the current animals in the home is very important when bringing home your new dog. Crating or confining your new dog most of the time initially is an easy way to make sure that your existing animals have time to slowly get the know the new dog before having to share their resources (space, water bowls, toys, human attention, etc). Going from life in a kennel to life in a home is a big adjustment and slowly easing them into your home will be the best way to help them de-stress and not feel overwhelmed. It is easy for animals that don’t know each other to quickly and easily get overwhelmed so keep things light, positive and always end on a good note for all animal involved. Slow and steady is the key to success here.
The First Month
The first month should be spent adjusting, getting into a routine and bonding with your new family member. During this time try to keep your dog on a leash both inside and outside until you know how your dog will react to new situations and experiences. Try to make each new experience with you positive and low stress and your dog will soon learn that you are a stable, predictable leader in his world.
Dogs do not generalize well so even if your dog was potty trained in his previous home, he will likely need some additional help learning how, when and where they go to the bathroom. Make sure that they are being monitored at all times for the first week or so to help them navigate around how and where to ask for potty breaks. Your dog should either be on leash, in a confinement area or outside at all times for the first week. Sniffing around, inability to settle or focus and looking for exits are all signs the dog has to go to the bathroom. Be sure to go out with your dog during the first week and give them a treat immediately once they go followed by play time. Interrupt any accidents, redirect them immediately outside and clean accidents with an enzyme removal cleaner (such as Nature’s Miracle).
Remember that the first few days your dog will be in a heightened state of stress. Confine the dog to a small area (crate, bedroom, bathroom, etc.) when you leave during the first month and be sure to give him a lot of things to do while you are gone. Filling a Kong with wet/dry food mix, offering bully sticks, antler and/or long lasting chews are all great ideas. This helps your new dog associate you being gone with positive, fun activities and will help him be confident and calm when you are gone in the future.
Training classes are a great way to bond with your new dog and learn new, fun behaviors and tricks together as a team. HSHV has a host of amazing training classes available to both adopters and non-adopters. Dogs of all ages are welcome and we are always offering new, fun classes using science-based training methods that you can use both in class and once you get home. Classes include Basic Manners, Reactive Rover, Agility and more. We welcome you to visit hshv.org/dogtraining for more information on classes and how to sign up.
Need help with a behavior issue and want a quick reference guide? The retail store inside HSHV lobby area has books on anything and everything ranging from potty training, separation anxiety, barking/lunging on leash and managing multiple dog households. Visit the retail area for more information.
Free Behavior Help Line
Remember that the HSHV Behavior Help Line is a free resource for you to use for the lifetime of your new dog. If any behavior issues should arise that you would like help with, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.
Congratulations and thank you for adopting! Welcome to the HSHV family!