Adopting a shelter dog can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. Many shelter dogs have been through a lot of trauma and may be anxious, scared or shy. However, with the right approach, you can help your new dog settle into your home and become a beloved member of your family. In this post, we’ll share expert tips on how to settle a shelter dog into your home.
- Prepare your home
Before bringing your new dog home, it’s important to prepare your home. Make sure you have a comfortable and safe space for your dog to sleep, eat, and play. Remove any hazardous items or plants, and secure any loose wires or cables. Ensure your home is free from any potential dangers that could harm your dog.
It’s also important to set up a routine for your dog. Dogs thrive on routine and consistency, so try to establish a schedule for feeding, exercise, and rest. This will help your dog feel secure and comfortable in their new environment.
- Give them space
Shelter dogs can be overwhelmed by new surroundings, so it’s important to give them space to adjust. Provide them with a quiet room or area where they can retreat if they feel overwhelmed. This will help them feel safe and secure, and they will gradually become more confident and comfortable.
When you bring your new dog home, give them some time to explore their new surroundings at their own pace. Don’t overwhelm them with too much attention or stimulation at first. Instead, let them come to you when they feel comfortable.
- Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective ways to train and build trust with your new dog. Use treats, praise, and affection to reward good behaviour and to encourage your dog to learn new behaviours.
Start by teaching your dog basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This will help them feel more confident and comfortable in their new surroundings. Remember to be patient and consistent, and to use positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviour.
- Give them exercise and socialisation
Exercise and socialisation are key to helping your new dog settle into their new home. Take your dog for daily walks or runs to help them burn off excess energy and to provide them with mental stimulation. This will also help them feel more confident and comfortable in their new environment.
Socialisation is also important for your dog’s wellbeing. Try to expose your dog to new people, places, and experiences, but be sure to do so at a pace that’s comfortable for them. This will help them become more confident and less anxious around new people and situations.
- Consider professional help
If you’re struggling to settle your new dog into your home, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. A professional dog trainer or behaviourist can provide expert advice on how to help your dog adjust to their new environment.
They can help you identify any behaviour issues and develop a personalised training plan to address them. This can help your dog feel more comfortable and confident in their new home and can help strengthen your bond with them.
In conclusion, settling a shelter dog into your home can be challenging, but with patience, love and consistency, you can help your new dog feel safe and comfortable in their new surroundings. Prepare your home, give them space, use positive reinforcement, provide exercise and socialisation, and consider professional help if needed. With time and patience, your new dog will become a beloved member of your family.