The ‘Stay At Home’ message given by the UK government earlier this year sparked the rise in many people enquiring and adopting dogs during the nationwide lockdown. According to re-homing website Pets4Homes, visits to the website peaked at 20 million a month between April and June.
If you’re thinking of re-homing a dog, here are our top tips for welcoming a new furry addition to your home.
Create a calming atmosphere
When you bring your new addition home, try not to be too excited or hyperactive. Keep calm and allow your dog to get used to their new surroundings and the people in it on their own terms. Make them familiar with different areas of your home, but if your dog is particularly nervous, don’t force anything on them. Let them familiarise themselves with their new environment, they’ll be exploring everywhere in no time!
Make it clear to your dog where ‘their’ areas are
Create a little den for your dog that is theirs. If you have children or other pets, don’t allow them to go near the den. This will be your dog’s safe place where they can go when they are feeling uneasy. Make sure you have dedicated areas for sleeping, eating, playing and toileting and keep these areas the same. This adds to your dog’s sense of routine which is extremely important for helping your dog to feel at home and “normal”.
Keep things familiar where possible
If you can, keep any toys or items available to them from their previous surroundings. This helps to calm dogs when they might feel unsettled. Putting a familiar blanket, item of clothing or toy in their bed will help them to relax at night. If possible, use commands that you know are familiar to them. If you don’t know or are unsure which commands the dog knows, don’t use to many commands at first, your dog will already be overwhelmed and confused, don’t confuse them further with a foreign language!
Prepare a tight schedule to begin with
A schedule helps the dog to predict what will happen and when. Doing the same things at the same time each day keeps them feeling secure as they can assure themselves what is going to happen next. Feed them at the same time, wake up at the same time, walk them at the same time and go to bed at the same time. For the first few weeks, take them on the same route for their walks, let them get to know their surroundings. Establishing a routine is also crucial for developing a bond between you and your dog.
Be assertive and give them structure
Let them know who’s boss. As much as you’ll want to constantly fuss them, especially if your dog has had a particularly difficult past, dog’s need assertiveness. By nature, dog’s need to be part of a pack, and that includes having a leader. It doesn’t mean that you need to be mean to them, but they need to know boundaries. Let them learn what the word “no” means.
Be patient and understanding
It is common for you to not really notice your dogs true personality for a few weeks after you’ve brought them home, There are so many changes in their life that they won’t feel like themselves for a while. This is totally normal, just be patient and encouraging, but not pushy. Let your dog be where it wants or needs to be and they’ll soon get used to you and their environment enough to feel comfortable, and eventually, normal.