Moving into a new forever home can be overwhelming for even the friendliest of dogs, so it’s important for dog owners to take steps to make sure that your new adoptee will adjust as smoothly as possible. A great way to get your new dog feeling comfortable in his or her new home is to make sure that you have a few things set up and in order: your dog’s own space, the right food, and a bit of fun.
Give Them Their Own Space
Allowing your dog to have a place of their own – be it a crate in the living room or a nook behind the couch or bed – lets them have a safe space to go to when they are scared or nervous. Make sure that this area is big enough not only for your dog it fit in, but for him or her to be able to turn around in, bring a toy into, or lay down and take a nap.
An easy way to make a dog den is to use a crate and fill it with blankets that smell like you and your family – allowing your dog to have something soft and fuzzy and get acquainted with the smell of their new home. You can also use this crate to help housetrain your new dog if kept in a living room or other room with traffic. This will help your dog feel secure even when new people are around. He or she will still feel like part of the family even when in the secluded area, allowing for a quicker adjustment to the new surroundings.
Follow a Consistent Feeding Schedule
A simple way to keep your new dog calm is to mimic the same eating schedule and type of food that he or she had while in the shelter. When you pick up your new dog, remember to ask how often, when, and what they were fed so that you can keep that schedule going for a few weeks after your new buddy is brought home. If switching brands, slowly integrate the new food into the old until you’ve made a complete switch over.
If after making some changes, your dog begins to act disintegrated in mealtime or refuses to eat, integrate some of the old food back into the new food, but don’t give in entirely to his or her demands. Making a point of integrating the new food will allow your pup to have a sense of continuity even after entering a new home, allowing him or her to adjust slowly and make peace with little changes at a time.
Provide Interactive Toys
In addition to tennis balls, tug-of-war ropes, and good old-fashioned sticks, interactive food toys can give your dog a mental and physical workout. Toys like Nylabone‘s Busy-Time Stuffable Dog Chew can be filled with small treats or peanut butter and can even be frozen to allow an even longer playtime for your dog. Toys like Nylabone’s Busy-Time Stuffable Dog Chew can be filled with small treats or peanut butter and can even be frozen to allow an even longer playtime for your dog.
These types of toys often take a while for your dog to tire of – with the delicious food smell holding their attention – and can therefore be a great thing to leave with your pet if you need to leave the house. Your dog will be able to distract themselves with the toy for a while and forget that they would have been distressed by your absence. Associating your absence from the home with a fun time and food can help train your new dog to accept your departures with ease and not cause separation anxiety.