Adopting a dog can be a wonderful experience. You get a new family member to love and care for, and a previously unwanted dog gets a new, forever home where he or she can feel safe and protected. Nothing gives you unconditional love like a dog. Whether you’ve had dogs in your home before or this is your first one, you want to make sure you welcome your newly adopted dog home the right way, so everyone can get started on the right foot (or paw). Here are some great ways to make sure your dog feels comfortable.
1. Be prepared before your dog arrives.
Don’t wait until you’re headed to pick up your dog to stop and get the supplies you’ll need to care for your new pet properly. Before the big day arrives, consider what you’ll need and make a trip to the store. You’ll want food and water bowls, plenty of food, toys, treats, and perhaps a dog bed. You may also need a collar, leash, and a crate.
2. Toys and treats can help ease stress.
You’re going to be nervous on the first day, and so is the dog. To make things easier on both of you, have toys available your dog can play with. Giving treats is also a good way to help show your dog that he or she is home now and can relax. Just be careful not to provide too many treats, since they aren’t always the healthiest choice. Use them sparingly, and you can start training your dog and helping him or her feel more comfortable in your home. Depending on the dog’s personality, it may take a little while for your new pet to get comfortable.
3. Don’t take a vacation just yet.
If you travel a lot or you have a vacation planned, you may want to wait until after your trip to bring your new four-legged family member home. You want your adopted dog to feel safe with you, and to trust you. If you leave shortly after you adopt him or her, even if it’s just for a few days, you may find that your dog gets depressed and doesn’t understand where you’ve gone. Plan to adopt your dog when you’re going to be home for at least a few weeks before traveling again.
4. Let your new dog explore his or her surroundings.
As long as you’re careful about what your dog can get into, let him or her explore the surroundings. Don’t restrict your dog’s movements too much. The smells and shapes will be very different to your new pet, and will take some getting used to. The more options your dog has to sniff around and check things out, the more comfortable the dog will feel. Just make sure you don’t let your dog outside without supervision, and that you put away things you don’t want your dog to mess with. You can always make adjustments later, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.