Help a Dog Adjust to a New Owner and Home

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Bringing home a new dog can be all sunshine and rainbows -- for you. For a dog, adjusting to a new home isn't easy. Unfamiliarity is tough on doggies. It's up to you to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

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Relaxed Demeanor

When you arrive to take home your cutie, behave in a low-key manner. If you act excited, the dog may become overwhelmed. Let him come to you. Stroke his back and speak to him softly. Allow him to do what is necessary to acquaint himself to you, such as smelling you. When he seems at ease, you can prepare to leave. A calm start may steer the whole course of your dog's journey to adjustment. Try to have a family member or friend of driving age accompany you on your journey back. If one person drives, the other person can comfort the potentially confused, anxious or frightened dog. If the dog's aggressive, you'll want to muzzle and crate him securely for the ride.



Dogs, similarly to cats, rely heavily on routines. If you can provide your new dog with a stable daily schedule, he may take take to life with you a lot more quickly. Dogs feel safe when they have dependable routines, whether they pertain to mealtimes, outdoor breaks and even play. Minimize the chaos and uncertainty in your new dog's life by cutting down on his guesswork.


Helping a dog get settled into a new home isn't an instantaneous process. The more time you have to get to know your pet in the critical first couple of days the better. Schedule to bring your dog home when you have a comparably open schedule -- preferably on Friday afternoon before the weekend officially starts. Avoid allowing your dog the opportunity to stay home by himself until you've had plenty of time to examine his behavioral patterns.


New People and Pets

Too much excitement can be stressful on dogs, so don't bombard your fluffy pal with too much newness at first. Don't introduce your pet to anyone outside of the household until he's had some time to adapt. Keep any other household pets away from him at first. A quiet and isolated room equipped with bedding, food, water and toys is appropriate. When you allow your new pooch to meet any other pets, monitor the meetings and keep them brief. If they do well around each other, reward them with yummy treats.



Abrupt and sudden food changes can be distressing on doggie's digestive system, and can bring upon diarrhea and tummy ache. Prevent this situation from occurring by either feeding your pooch foods he's already familiar with from previous living arrangements or by making all adjustments gradual. For example, you may want to start off by feeding him solely his previous food, and then the next day mixing in some of the new stuff, and so on until he is eating 100 percent of the new kind.

Slowly But Surely

Getting a dog used to a new home is not a race. Practice makes perfect. Be patient with your newbie. If your pooch isn't ready to do something, he won't, whether it comes to dealing with house guests or anything else. Don't push things. If you are relaxed, your dog can sense that and may follow suit. Canines who don't tend to be nervous breeds.


By Naomi Millburn

Delaware County SPCA: Bringing Your New Home 10 Ways to Welcome a Rescue Dog
Animal Humane Society: Introducing a New Dog to a Resident Dog
ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs; Sheldon L. Gerstenfeld
Humane Society of Broward County: Bringing Home Your New Dog
Partnership for Animal Welfare: Helping a Shelter Dog Adjust to a New Home

About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.