We all have a rosy picture in our head of what life with our new dog will look like. But, as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same goes for introducing a new dog into your home. It’s going to take time and patience before your dog is fully acclimated.
At this point, you’re total strangers to each other. You don’t know your dog’s full personality and temperament yet, and your dog sure as heck doesn’t know what to expect from you. At this time you’re sizing each other up, trying to figure out what the other is all about. So have patience as you learn each other and get into a groove.
The day you bring your dog home is going to be crazy! So much to think about and so much going on. To help the transition, it’s extremely important to plan ahead.
What does that mean?
Well, for starters, block off your calendar for at least 3-4 days and consider taking some time off of work. You need time to bond with your dog and show them that you’re here to stay.
Then start dog-proofing your house. This is especially needed for young dogs but also good for older dogs as they learn boundaries. For example, a crate and pet gates to keep your pup away from hazardous areas of the home.
Lastly, don’t forget to have standard supplies. Which brings us to the next point…
The dog aisle of the store has some sort of siren call for new dog parents. Adorable plush toys! Cute, fluffy blankets! Cool puzzles! Crazy chew toys! Before you know it, your cart is full and your wallet is empty.
Resist the urge! In the beginning, your dog just needs the basics. Once you get to know their personality, temperament and likes and dislikes, then you can move on to the fun stuff. For example, maybe your dog completely demolishes stuffed toys and then tries to eat the stuffing. It’s good to know this before you go out and buy 10 of these toys.
For the basics, we recommend:
2. Food and water bowls
3. A crate
4. Comfy bedding
5. A collar and leash
6. An ID tag
7. Doggy shampoo
OK, so you set your expectations, blocked off your schedule and bought supplies. Now it’s time to take home your new dog! As you can imagine, the pup is going to be anxious and stressed out. It’s a lot to take in!
So, to ease their fears, we recommend keeping the number of people in the house to a minimum. Only the main family members. No friends or other relatives just yet. (But soon!)
And then, it’s very important to keep the environment calm and relaxed. Your pup is on edge, so it doesn’t help when people are darting around or the kids are yelling. Try to be on your best, most relaxed behavior.
Another note: Make sure your dog meets everyone in the house! This includes kids and other pets. After all, your pup is walking into an established home where everyone knows each other. This can be intimating. But proper introductions help ease the scariness.
How is this done? Slowly. Gently introduce the dog to each person or pet, and keep the interactions to only a few minutes at the start.
Phew, your pup is probably a little pooped out after all this! To help your dog recharge their batteries, give them a safe space of their own right away. This can be a kennel, a small room, a blocked off area, whatever works for you.
This helps them feel safe and secure right away!
Like kids, dogs really do want structure, boundaries and rules (even though it sure doesn’t feel that way!) This helps them feel secure and know where they fit in.
This includes: a set schedule for eating and sleeping, consistent training and regular rules.
Speaking of training, don’t wait until down the road. Start the very first day, and make sure the entire family is on the same page. It’s so confusing when one person reprimands the dog for doing something but others encourage it. (Like eating human food, for example.)
Consistency is key. And always go with positive reinforcement.
It’s likely that your dog comes to you with their own unique story, you will know their beginning, it is you who can help to determine the end of the store. Each dog will have their individual quirks, or behavior. Watch and listen to get to know your dog and to help them adjust.
Lastly, you can’t forget the most important part: LOVE. Give that furry new friend lots and lots of love and happiness. After all, this is what it’s all about.
Usually, pet foster parents are not financially compensated for their time; however, we try to provide food, medicine and veterinary care. Foster parents who drive animals to vet appointments or who pay other expenses associated with the pet's care may be eligible for tax deductions or re-imbursement. All veterinarian care must be pre-approved in writing before the animal is taken to the veterinarian..
You may be asked to foster a dog from two weeks to two months, depending on circumstances. Foster parents don't need to be home 24 hours a day, but you might have to postpone that weekend getaway or family vacation if you're asked to take care of an animal for a while. There are different types of fostering.
However, it's important to remember that fostering a dog can also be extremely challenging. You're taking in a dog who has been in a kennel situation, meaning they might display shy, unusual or erratic behavior... and then, after devoting your time and love to them, you eventually have to give them up.