Welcoming a new pet is an exciting and somewhat stressful time, especially for first-time pet owners. Of course, you know that your pet should have room to play and grow, a space of his own with a comfortable bed and toys, and high-quality pet food that will give him all the nutrients he needs to remain strong and healthy for years to come. What you may not know is how to help him acclimate to your home and feel safe and comfortable enough to relax and bond with you. Patience and love are key, and we share a few other tips for helping your new pet feel at home below.
Have Your Home and Your Dog’s Space Ready Ahead of Time
You should have everything ready for your new dog’s arrival so that you can devote your time and energy to him on his first day. First, you should pet-proof your home by placing childproof locks on cabinets, putting away cleaners and medications and other toxic substances, moving plants to higher locations, and blocking access to electrical cords. You also should get in the habit of leaving toilet, washer and dryer, and trashcan lids closed.
You also should purchase all the necessary supplies for your dog ahead of time. His leash, collar, crate and gates, bed, bowls, food, toys, and treats should be in their places waiting for him. When he enters your home, he will know exactly where his space and belongings are, and you won’t confuse him by moving them around or preparing them when you should be helping him get settled. You also don’t want to overwhelm him by taking him to a pet store to purchase supplies on the way home.
Avoid Overwhelming Your New Dog
The goal is to help your new dog feel safe and comfortable from the start, so you should make his first day all about him. As soon as your new dog arrives home, go slowly and allow him to sniff the area around your home while you keep him on a leash. Show him his area of the yard and introduce him to the areas in which he will play and relieve himself. If he behaves well on the leash, reward him with praise. And, if he relieves himself in the designated area, reward him with a treat.
Next, begin introducing him to immediate family members. Have each person calmly enter the yard and wait for the dog to approach him. You may want to have family members offer a treat or a toy to the dog when the interactions are positive. You also should prepare small children to walk slowly and speak quietly. They should avoid rushing to the dog, picking him up, or hugging him because it may startle or scare the dog. Allow the dog to drive the interaction as much as possible when meeting members of the family.
If you are welcoming a rescue or foster dog into your home, it is especially important to be patient with him and help him get acclimated to your home and family members slowly and calmly. Keep in mind that rescue and foster dogs may have been abused or mistreated, and they will be wary of new people and nervous. Be patient and give him plenty of time to get to know everyone and your home. Helping him learn via positive reinforcement is important, and your family should be on-board with rewarding his good behavior and ignoring his undesired behavior as much as possible.
Introduce the Dog to the Inside of Your Home
Once you make your way inside, you should slowly should introduce him to the home. Do not let him off his leash to explore; rather, introduce him to the room that contains his bed, food, and water. Allow him to eat and drink before you take him through the rest of the home because that will help him relax. Next, introduce him to each room at a time and avoid areas that you do not want him to enter.
Keep in mind that coming to a new home is stressful for a dog, and even if he relieved himself outside, he might have accidents inside the home. Some dogs may relieve themselves in a home simply to mark their territory, while others may have accidents because they are so nervous. The new people, sounds, and smells can be too much even for dogs that are housebroken, so be patient and rely on positive reinforcement to get your dog housetrained.
If you work to help your new pet feel at home, you’ll soon know when he needs more exercise, when he needs time to himself, how to help him feel comfortable and loved. Reminding everyone to be patient and loving is important.
Jessica Brody is the creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her loving family (which includes 2 dachshunds and a black lab). She is a certified dog lover, and believes dogs are just about the greatest creatures on earth. She loves collecting and sharing photos of them.
Image via Pixabay by himmlisch