Welcoming an adopted dog into your home is a new and exciting adventure. Although fulfilling, it can also be tiresome. Your dog doesn't come home with a guidebook, so your experience will be met with trial and error. Some shelter dogs have unknown but traumatic backgrounds and adjusting to one another is difficult.
So we want to help! Here are four tips to welcome home your adopted dog:
1. Provide structure.
Dogs adopted from a shelter often feel insecure at first after months or even years of being unwanted and lonely. Because of this, they need a leader. They've had to rely on themselves for too long and need someone who is going to set rules, provide safety, and create a routine in a loving way. Feed and walk them at the same time each day. Create a space for the pup to call its own. Just like children, dogs feel more loved with a routine because they don't have to be left wondering or feeling anxious from too much freedom.
2. Don't overstimulate.
Giving your dog a huge welcome by introducing him to all of your friends or taking him around town to show him the sites may be too much too soon. You want the new member of the family to have time to scope out the new place and feel comfortable–not overwhelmed. Limit his amount of dog toys. Keep his sleeping area clean and decluttered. Give your pup the space he needs.
3. Have patience.
Expect an adjustment for both you and the dog. Don't be too hard on your pup. He is experiencing a new owner, new home, new food and all in all a completely new environment. Your dog will make mistakes, run away, have accidents, or be overly needy. Set yourself up with the right expectations so that he doesn't feel like an annoyance to you.
4. Choose love.
Welcoming a dog into your home cannot be a selfish decision. If it is, you will give up on him as soon as things get hard. Choose love the minute you choose to adopt. Let your lap and arms be a place of comfort and healing. And never let your dog feel anything less than a part of your family.
Tell us in the comments about your experience adopting a pet! How was the adjustment?