If you are becoming a pet owner for the first time, you may feel a little overwhelmed. Once you purchase the food, blankets, beds, toys, collars and licenses and pet-proof your home, you can think about being a pet parent, acclimating him to your new home, and bonding with him. While some pet owners imagine lots of snuggling and playing, you may find that your pet may need some time to adjust to his new surroundings. Try following our tips to help your pet feel right at home.
- Understand That It May Take More Time than You Anticipated for Your Pet to Get Comfortable in Your Home
Whether you adopt a young puppy or kitten or rescue a shelter animal, you need to understand it may take some time before he gets comfortable in your home. Young animals leave siblings and mothers behind for the first time, and shelter animals have been in a cage surrounded by unfamiliar people and animals and may have survived unimaginable circumstances before living in the shelter.
The first few weeks after adopting or rescuing an animal are critical because you and your pet need to bond, and you need to help him transition to a new home, new routine, and new owner. The best thing to do is create a space for your pet that is his own so he feels as though he belongs and has a safe place to go. This space should include a crate, bed, toys, and food and water dishes. Make sure he has plenty of room in a place that is quiet and comfortable. When he goes to this place on his own, reward him to help him settle in and relax.
- Remain Calm and Make a Day of His Arrival
Dedicate the day to his arrival; clear your calendar so you can focus on picking him up and acclimating him to your home. Cesar Millan recommends that you remain calm throughout the day. Avoid taking several people with you to get your pet or having several people waiting to greet him at home. When you greet your new pet, avoid over-exciting him or making him anxious. Put your new pet in a crate for the ride home if he is used to being inside one; otherwise, have someone sit and hold him or sit next to him to quietly and calmly reassure him for the drive home.
When you get home, keep your pet on a leash and walk him around the neighborhood to drain some energy. The walk also will help him grow accustomed to the new sights, smells, and sounds. Then, take the pet to your front door and have him sit as you open it, if you can. Enter before your pet and do not allow him inside until you invite him.
Keep him on his leash as you introduce your home and give him a tour making sure that you go first into each room. Stay quiet and calm during the tour and use simple body language and sounds to communicate or correct. Then, show the dog his food and water and reward with a bit of water or food. Next, show the dog his special space and let him off his leash. If he decides to settle in and ignore you for awhile, allow him to do so.
- Make Time to Bond with Your New Pet
After the first day, start bonding with your pet. Keep visitors to a minimum and remain calm and quiet so you can get to know one another. Introduce toys to him, take him into the yard for some exercise, and spend time on the floor snuggling and playing. This also is a good time to show him which furniture and items are not for him.
After you have bonded with your pet, you should introduce him to more extended family members and friends. It’s also a good idea to find a dog walker that is a good fit for your dog if you will be getting back to your full workload after bringing him home. Hiring a dog walker especially is important if you have a busy work schedule or work long hours. He will get exercise and have a chance for human interaction even while you are working, and he will be less likely to get into trouble at home if he goes for regular walks to burn some energy.
You can help your new pet feel right at home and feel like a successful new pet owner if you understand that it may take him some time to get comfortable in your home, remain calm and make a day of his arrival, and make time to bond with him.
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