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You’ve Adopted a Pet, Now What?
December 01, 2020
So, you’ve decided to adopt a homeless dog or cat. Maybe you saw its picture on our Furever Homes website or maybe you visited the local shelter. You found a “pawsome” new pet and filled out the adoption papers. Now it’s time to take your furry friend home. You may be excited, your new pet maybe not so much. It’s not that he or she isn’t happy to leave the shelter, it’s just that moving can be stressful.
How can you help your pet adjust? We have a few ideas.
Give Them Time
The Humane Society of the United States says it can take animals anywhere from two days to two months for a shelter animal to adjust to their new home. Moving to a new home is overwhelming for many animals. In their previous homes, they may have been abused or their world was upended because their families no longer could keep them and left them at the shelter. Wouldn’t you be a little worried that your forever home might not be forever after all? They need time to decompress and get used to their new home.
Accidents are to be expected. Your new roommate is probably stressed and unsure. Help him or her out by showing them where they can relieve themselves and then taking them to that spot frequently. If your pet forgets, don’t get angry just take them to their designated spot. Give them treats if they go where they are supposed to. It won’t take them long to figure it out.
Sadly, your shelter pet may be afraid of everything for the first few weeks. Fear keeps pets from responding to commands and following any training them may have received. Comfort your animal and be patient. Refrain from yelling or punishing them. Stroke them and speak in a calm, comforting voice. Reward good behavior with treats and use a firm, disapproving voice bad behavior.
Create a Schedule
If you’ve adopted a dog, it’s helps to keep them on a schedule. Feed them and walk them at the same time every day. Dogs are sensitive to changes in their schedule and not keeping to one may cause them anxiety leading to unacceptable behavior.
Introduce Family Members Slowly
If there are other furry family members, try slow introductions. Animals are territorial so it is a good idea to feed the new family member in a separate area until everyone gets along.
Send Your Pet to Class
Cats don’t need obedience training but your new dog might. Wait until he or she seems to feel comfortable in their new home, then sign them up. It’s a good way to establish rules and help the two of you bond. Even a dog that has been to obedience school in the past can use a refresher course after a stint in a shelter.
Show your pet how he or she is part of the family by setting aside time to play every day. For cats, that could mean a catnip mouse, but for a dog, taking him or her on walks and to the dog park is a great way to burn off the Zoomies and let them know that they are part of the pack.
If you haven’t already adopted, why not choose a pet during our Furever Homes Tour and Pet Adoptions event? You could find a friend and a forever home for both of you!