You’ve picked out a pet who’s THE one for you… now off to the start of an exciting adventure! It’s been a long journey for a shelter pet, and some journeys are longer than others. Remember that it’s not formulaic, and all things take time. But the relationship you will build together with your new pet makes it all worth it. Here are some steps to set your pet up for success.
Expect an Adjustment Period. The amount of adjustment time needed will vary from pet to pet. Keep in mind the loving home that you are giving her is very different from the shelter environment. Shelter life, while well-structured, is not a home. Stress happens, despite best efforts to minimize it. Kennels with barking dogs and people coming and going throughout the day is a lot to handle for pets. To help your pet relax, provide a quiet, safe place that she can call her own.
- For dogs: Crate training your dog is a wonderful way to set her up for success by providing a quiet, safe space to relax, while simultaneously giving you the ability to manage behavior. Crate training your dog keeps your pet – and home – safe from an anxious, untrained and/or unsupervised new pet. You may find yourself weaning off of the crate as she adjusts to her new life.
- For cats: Take baby steps. Instead of giving her access to the whole house right away, do you have a room or set of rooms that she can adjust to for a few days (or weeks, depending on her progress)?
Be Consistent. It is important that your pet begins learning house rules via positive training and clear guidelines from day one. This means that everyone in your immediate family should know, understand, and agree to the rules before your new arrival comes home. These rules should include such things as whether or not the pet is allowed on the furniture, where she is fed, where her litterbox or potty area will be, where she will sleep, as well as who is responsible for exercising and playing with her.
Stick to a Schedule. Pets thrive on routines. It aids them in adjusting to their new home. Predictability of feeding, walking and playtime provides stability and helps reduce the stress incurred with adjusting to a new home. Bringing home a new furry family member is so exciting and you’ll want to share it with family and friends. Keep in mind it’s best to limit introductions to lots of new people, places and things until your pet has settled down and gotten to know you, your home and your routine better.
Have questions? The Connecticut Humane Society is here to support you during this important transition. Call 800-452-0114.
Kids – check out the video below to learn about what your new pet needs.