3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
Some humans like to give up when the going gets tough, but when it comes to rescue dogs, that should never be the case! People get frustrated if their dog doesn’t adjust to their home right away. Sure, some dogs are good with change, but every dog is different. It’s important to give your dog space when they first arrive in their new home.
How Long Should Be Expected?
As mentioned earlier, every dog will adjust at their own pace. However, you should expect to give them at least 3 months to fully settle in. Most dogs are comfortable after 6 to 8 weeks, but it’s better to overestimate just in case your dog is having a harder time adjusting.
For the first few days, your dog will likely be scared and unsure of everything. They will likely take that time to explore their new surroundings. During that time, they might not act as they usually would, so give them space if needed.
Then, for the next few weeks, your dog will probably start to feel more comfortable in their home. They’ll learn that this is probably where they’ll be living forever, so they’ll start to act more at home. They’ll likely also bond with you during this time.
However, if a rescue dog has a rough past, it will probably take much longer for them to adjust. Don’t overwhelm your dog with attention and take time to learn their boundaries. The first 3 months with your dog is not only an adjustment for them, but it’s a chance for you to learn about them as well so that you can accommodate their needs as much as possible.
How to Make it Easier
When your new family member comes home, make sure to give them plenty of space. It’s possible that they might want to run around a play, but you can’t just assume. So, read their body language and give them space when they seem nervous. Your home is a new place to them, so they need plenty of time to explore for themselves.
Also, you should help get your dog into a routine right away. Feed them at their designated meal times and take them for walks regularly throughout the day. At first, they might be too nervous to eat all their food, so be understanding with them. Slowly start to ease them into their new life.
Make sure they also have plenty of things to call their own. Give them their own bed and toys. Even if there are other dogs in the house, make sure your new dog has some things of their own. Keep these items near each other so your dog can have their own personal space to retreat to if they’re scared.
As you get to know your dog and teach them new things, don’t get angry at them. Reward them for positive behavior, but don’t yell at them if something goes wrong. They’re already in a scary new situation, so yelling at them will only make it harder to adjust. It will take some time for them to learn how to behave, so take your time when training them and reward them with a treat or toy when they behave well.
The most important part of getting to know a rescue dog is being patient with them. Moving into a new home usually isn’t easy for humans, so the same is true for dogs. Don’t expect them to feel at ease right away because then you’ll only be disappointed when they don’t immediately snuggle with you.
Some dogs might feel at home right away, but when adopting a dog, always expect that it will take a while for them to adjust. Be patient with them and don’t give up if they don’t seem to be making progress. A dog is an important family member, so you need to show them that this new home is where they’ll spend the rest of their life.
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