You’ve finally done it. You did the research, signed the paperwork, and paid the fee, and now you’re cruising home with your new best friend on a leash.
But with as many obstacles as you had to overcome just to get to this point, this is still just the beginning. Now you have a new challenge: getting Fido acclimated to his new home. But as long as you keep these essential things to do right after adopting a dog in mind, you’ll be able to make the transition much easier.
Imagine living your life in a pound or puppy mill surrounded by the same furry faces, then abruptly being brought home by a stranger to a strange place. Suddenly, you’re surrounded by other strangers cooing and squealing about how cute you are. You might be a bit nervous.
The same is true of your dog, so one of the first things you should do after adopting your dog is to help him acclimate to his surroundings. Take him around the house and through the backyard on a leash, then have the members of your household “introduce themselves” calmly, one at a time.
Set Up a Structure
Just because dogs are animals doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy structure. In fact, establishing a rough schedule will help ease some of your dog’s anxieties. It’s ok if you don’t feed or walk your dog at the exact same time every day, but setting up reliable patterns matters. For example, it will help them feel more comfortable if they know you will walk them when you get home or feed them when you wake up.
Having clear rules is part of a healthy structure as well. Dogs do well when they understand the boundaries, what you’ll allow, and what you won’t. That’s why it’s important to establish the ground rules from the time they arrive.
Take a Vet Trip
If the place where you adopted your dog didn’t already perform regular vaccinations and neuter him, it’s essential you find a spay-neuter clinic as soon as possible. And even if the adoption clinic already took care of all that, you should still go in for a check-up anyway. Your vet can give you advice about the feeding and health needs of your particular breed.
Like we said, your dog is in a completely new place. It will take him a while to get used to his surroundings and you. It may be a few weeks until your dog’s real personality shows through, and that’s perfectly normal. Give him the space he needs to thrive, and soon enough, he’ll be as happy to be home as you are.