Helping Your New Dog Settle In
When you bring home your new dog, you will want to help him/her settle in as quickly as possible. Moving from a foster home is a big change, so you may need to help overcome any anxieties your new family member may have. Separation Anxiety is common, and is estimated to affect between 15% and 35% of dogs during their lives. This is why we need to help your rescue dog feel at home quickly.
Your dog needs a safe space
You will need to make sure that your dog isn’t left alone for too long when they first come home – they will still be exploring a brand new environment. Gradually though, you will be able to leave them for a little longer each time. Part of helping them to settle in is making sure that they have a safe space to sleep if you are out. Dogs love to have a dedicated area that is all their own. Make sure that your dog has a bed that’s big enough, and that they know where to find it. If you are going out, they may respond well to staying in a crate. This can help with separation anxiety in two ways. The first is that if that it will prevent any destructive behaviour in your home. The second is that a crate can help your dog to remain calm and understand boundaries.
Your leaving routine
Your new dog may be really sensitive to your leaving routine, such as picking up your keys, putting on your coat, or grabbing a handbag. So that they don’t get anxious whilst you preparing to go out, it is a good idea to desensitize them to your routine. Over the course of a few weeks, put on your coat, but don’t leave the house. Rattle your keys regularly. Leave the house through different doors, and then come back in again. Go through your whole leaving routine, but then sit down and watch television. This will help to train your dog to be calm when you are actually going out.
Your dog needs exercise
A happy dog, is one that has had plenty of exercise. Dogs can often display the symptoms of separation anxiety if they are bored. They need plenty of stimulation during the day, so that they are relaxed and calm. Make sure that your dog has plenty of walks – they need at least 15 minutes walk twice a day, for high energy breeds it is more than this.
Helping your new dog settle in an overcome their anxieties is important when they first join the family. You will find then that they are happy and contented in their new home. If you have any real concerns after a period of time then it might be worth investigating hiring a personal dog trainer to help out. Better safe than sorry!