Helping Your Shelter Dog Adjust
Deciding to adopt rather than shop for a pooch has become increasingly popular, and with good reason. There are thousands of pets in shelters across the UK that need loving homes after living with neglect.
However, a lot of people are put off the idea of adopting a dog due to behavioural problems they may come with. Because a lot of people don’t know how to help their dog settle in after leaving the shelter, this results in a large amount of dogs being returned to the shelter before they even had a proper chance at a new home.
If you are considering adopting a dog, or have recently adopted one, this article should help you with a few tips and tricks on how to help your dog settle in.
Watch Your Emotional Cues
Dogs are very easy to pick up on emotional cues, and ones that are feeling vulnerable will be looking for them more often for any sign of danger. As much as you may want to spend time playing with your dog instantly, you should wait a little bit.
A new environment is a big change and they may be overwhelmed, if you remain calm as they first explore their new home then they are more likely to associate their surroundings with calmness and safety.
Whereas, if you panic when they approach something new they will instantly associate that stimulus as being bad and it will take them a lot longer to settle in.
Set A Routine
Setting a routine will help your dog to relax and get used to the way things are in their new life. This can be simple things such as exact feeding and walking times.
In the shelter they would have followed a form of routine that helped them to settle and get used to the workers, but it is possible that before that they never had any routine.
Keeping a routine makes your actions predictable and will provide a sense of stability and safety for your pooch.
Make Things Positive
When you get a new puppy, you are told to make their new stimuli and training seem positive by doing stuff such as giving them treats. This should also be done with your shelter dog.
If there is something they appear scared of, such as a type of flooring in your house or a piece of furniture, break out the treats when they go near it and teach them that it is nothing to be afraid of.
A lot of shelters also, sadly, do not have much funding so it is possible your dog has not been having the most nutritious of treats. If you’re concerned about this, make sure to get yourself some of our all-natural treats to make your dog’s experience even more positive.
Give Them Time
This may seem kind of obvious, but it is actually the most important thing that you can do. When you go to the shelter to bond with a dog who you want to give a new home, it can be very exciting, and you can get your head filled up with lots of expectations.
However, your dog won’t necessarily be happy as soon as you take them home, it’s a big change and they display some unwanted behaviours. You simply have to remember that these dogs have been through a lot, you may know your dog’s history but not everyone does, and you shouldn’t make assumptions of what they’ve had to go through.
A lot of dogs will not feel fully settled into their new homes and lives until about 2 months after their adoption. Sadly, most dogs are brought back to shelters in the first week after their adoption. In fact, about 20% of shelter animals have already been through the rehoming process at least once.
Bringing a shelter dog back to the shelter not only takes away its chance to show its true personality, but it can also make its chances of being re homed in the future much harder.
Please do not think I am trying to guilt you; I am simply trying to remind you that time and patience are crucial things when it comes to adopting pets. As someone who has re homed a pet more than once, these amazing shelter animals have unique personalities and deserve the chance to express them just as much as any new-born puppy.