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Helping your new dog adjust

The Adjustment Period

It takes time for your new dog to settle into its new environment. All dogs are individuals with different temperaments, personalities, and backgrounds. It's important to remember this, and to give your dog the help and time it needs to adjust.

  • Set your expectations low. People ofter set higher standards for a new dog than they do for their human counterparts.
  • Your new dog will not know where the door is. He will not understand you only want him to go potty "on this side" of the yard unless you diligently work with him.
  • Your new dog may not know its new name for awhile. Practice calling your dog, and reward with treats when she responds.
  • Do not let your new dog off leash. Would you go to an open field and let your young child loose?
  • Do not expect your new dog to know how to walk up and down stairs right away. They may not have seen them before. It's up to the human to patiently teach them.
  • Your current dog and your new dog may not become best friends overnight. That's okay. Do you love everyone you meet right away? Give the dogs space away from each other, and supervise them when they are together. Do not leave the dogs out together when you leave. Crate them, or separate them with baby gates until you're confident they get along well. (And maybe even a few weeks after that!)
  • Your current dog and your new dog may squabble over food, toys, and affection. It's up to us humans to anticipate this and set up an environment for success.
  • Don't expect your new dog to understand the first night that they are not allowed on the couch or bed. That is something you have to teach them. Gently lure them off the couch with yummy treats. NEVER pull a collar. If treats aren't working, gently leash and lead them off the couch/bed. You need to teach them what is okay for them to do in their new environment. It will take some time for them to learn this. Be patient.
  • Give your new dog time to adjust with just your immediate family for the first few days. As hard as it is not to show off your new pride and joy, don't bring the neighborhood over to meet him. Let him rest, relax, and bond.
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself, It's a lot to bring a new dog into your home. It many take a little bit to get used to your new companion who walks one inch behind you at all times. it many take a while to remember to put that bread away in a taller cabinet or not leave snack food at a level the dog can reach.
  • When frustrated, take a deep breath. Be patient. Be kind.
  • Before threatening to return a dog to rescue, ask yourself, "Have I given this new dog a chance to succeed? I know what this dog has been through, am I setting realistic expectations? Have I contacted NNKCR and let them know of any issues I'm having? Have I made use of the free advice from the NNKCR trainer? Have I tried, and I mean really TRIED?"
  • NNKCR is here to help any adopting family through any issue, no matter how big or small. 

Here are some other helpful articles:

Bringing a New Dog Home Tips for the First Thirty Days

The First Seven Days of Bringing an Adopted Dog Home

2024 Numbers

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    Dogs Adopted