Updated: Apr 26
This first step is all about being ready before bringing your new family member home. Look into what age, gender and breed you have in mind before going to the shelter. You want to make sure you find a dog with the correct temperament and energy level to fit in with your family and lifestyle.
Similarly, be sure to prepare the home for the dog’s arrival. Many rescue dogs are not familiar with living in a typical home setting, so be sure to “dog proof” the home by removing anything that could be hazardous. You should also gather all supplies you may need and determine where they will be kept in the house.
2) The First Few Days
The first 72 hours are an exciting and crucial time for helping your dog adjust. If you can, try to not make any stops on the way home and keep an additional passenger with the pet for the duration of the ride.
When you get home, provide a calm walk through the house with the dog still on a leash. This time to explore in a controlled, calm way will be helpful for their transition.
3) Gradual Introductions
If you have other animals or family members to introduce to the new dog, make sure to make these introductions slowly and one at a time. Ideally, you should bring the pets or family members outside of the home to meet the dog before interacting inside. If you can, have the family members provide a treat to create an immediately positive association.
Be sure to never leave other pets with the new dog alone until they have settled into their new environment.
4) Establishing Routine
An established routine can help make your new rescue animal feel much safer in their new environment. Keeping feeding, walking and sleeping times as consistent as possible is key in creating a calming routine for your new addition.
5) Create Space
Be sure to create a space in the home that your dog can seek out when they may feel overwhelmed. A kennel with blankets or a space in a room specifically for them will be a perfect refuge.
6) Interactive Toys
One huge help in diverting from potentially destructive behavior and for soothing anxieties is introducing interactive toys. Puzzle and brain teaser toys that challenge the dog to seek out treats can be a huge assistance in preventing damaging behaviors. One idea is to try Suzie’s Goes Nuts in a Kong toy to keep them busy and calm them down!
7) Monitor Feeding
Dogs may have an aversion to eating at first due to all the change they are experiencing. Do not panic at this but try to make their food extra appealing by adding hot water, peanut butter or treats if needed. Also be sure to ease into a new food plan if you are changing the dog from their previous diet at the shelter.
8) Managing Separation Anxiety
If possible, try to keep the new dog alone as infrequently as possible while they are adjusting to the change in environment. If you are having to leave for extended periods of time, try to break it up with short visits by you or someone who is familiar with your dog.
There will be challenging moments for both you and your new dog ahead. Try to remember that it takes 3 weeks to 3 months for a dog to truly settle into a new environment. Your dog will look to you for expectations to living in a home environment as they are probably completely unfamiliar with these standards.
10) CBD as a Crucial Tool
CBD is a foundational tool in any behavioral adjustments or training. Because of this, it can be a huge help in easing your new dog into their forever home.
CBD creates a foundation where dogs can focus on training without their anxiety interrupting or distracting.
Additionally, you can use CBD to get your adopted pup comfortable with the unfamiliar and possibly intimidating elements in their life (car rides, vet visits, kennels, etc.).
As with everything you’re introducing, try to stay consistent with giving your new addition CBD. This will be one more element of routine that promotes a healthy and happy life! Check out our CBD pet treats guide!