Adopting a pet is a truly rewarding activity, but the initial adjustment period can be difficult if you don’t prepare. Your new cat or dog is going to be a little nervous when they first arrive at their new home. It usually takes a couple of months for your new furbaby to adjust to a new house, but you can take some preemptive measures to ensure the transition goes smoothly. Below are five ideas for making your new pet comfortable and welcome.
Give your new pet its own space
We all need our own space from time to time and pets are no different. Make sure your new cat or dog has a specific space in your house when they move in. For instance, a cozy dog bed in the corner of the living room offers a comforting place for your new pup to curl up when feeling overwhelmed.
If you’re adopting a cat, then instead of a dog bed add a scratching post with an enclosed cat box. Felines like to have a place where they can hide because it makes them feel safe and secure, so make sure you have a sanctuary available for your furry friend when it moves in.
Establish a routine
From day one, you should be working to establish a routine with your new pet. Routines give animals a sense of security and can be particularly helpful for rescues that come from unstable homes. At the very least, set specific times for walks and feedings. As your pet adjusts to the new schedule, it will start to relax more and feel at home in your space.
Use positive reward-based training
A lot of rescue pets have experienced abuse or neglect in their previous homes. Keep this in mind when you’re training your adopted pet by focusing on positive, reward-based training tactics. Every time your new dog potties during a walk, offer a treat as a reward to encourage this good habit. You should also be using a positive and encouraging tone when talking to your pets to make them feel loved.
At the same time, however, you need to make sure you’re establishing your dominance. This doesn’t mean you have to yell at your pet, but you should use a commanding voice to deter negative behavior like jumping and barking.
Make sure you already have everything you’ll need for your new cat or dog at the house before they get home. Staying at a new place will be a big enough transition. They don’t need you introducing new toys, beds, food, and other items throughout the next couple of weeks. Have their bed and a few toys already in place when they first come home so they know which items are theirs.
Finally, one of the best things you can do to help your rescue pet adapt to their new home is to be patient. It can take a while to train your adopted pet to their new routine and surroundings, so you need to give them plenty of time to adjust. Impatience is a big reason new pet owners return animals to the shelter. They expect the transition to be flawless, but that’s not how animal rescues work. Your new dog or cat has feelings, and it’s going to take a little while for them to feel safe and accepted in your home. Be patient during this time and do what you can to let them know you care.