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5 Ways to Help Your Newly Adopted Adult Dog Adjust to Its New Home

Posted on December 6, 2022 by Misty Fleming

Adopting an adult dog

Adopting an adult dog is a wonderful thing to do! If you’re considering adopting, it’s best to have a plan first. Moving to a new home can be a process for a dog or anyone else, for that matter! So, this week we wanted to offer some tips to help your newly adopted furry friend adapt to their new environment and feel safe and welcome.

1. Maintain Your New Dog’s Routine

When you adopt a new dog, especially an older dog, it will already have an established routine. Although it would be impossible to completely maintain your dog’s habits, it’s very beneficial for their health and comfort if you do so to the largest extent possible. We recommend inquiring about the dog’s eating schedule, sleeping, pottying, and play times. Your new dog will feel much better if you start out feeding it the food it’s used to at its normal meal times.  

2. Be Patient With Your New Dog

Patience is essential when adapting a dog to your home. The dog will experience a fair amount of bewilderment for some time after moving in with you. And since dogs are excellent judges of human emotion, if you become frustrated by your dog’s initial behavior, it will negatively affect its ability to adjust to new circumstances. 

As animal behaviorist Patricia McConnel puts it:

“For the first three days, dogs are often in a bit of shock, and don’t show you too much about who they are until they’ve been there a few days. After three weeks, many dogs have settled and behave as though they feel like they are home now, but they really don’t fit into your routine until about three months have gone by.”

3. Allow Your Dog Personal Space

Your dog may be extremely outgoing and friendly, but that doesn’t mean they never need personal space. Be sure to establish a safe place your new dog knows that it can go to rest and recharge. A common area for this to be is a dog crate. However, any restful space can accommodate your dog’s personal space needs. 

4. Maintain Your Dog’s Veterinary Appointments 

It’s important to keep up with your new dog’s shots and medical care. If you’ll be living in the same region your dog is adopted from, it makes sense to inquire which vet the dog is already familiar with and continue taking it there. However, if you need to find a new vet, it may help your dog if your first visit is only a meet and greet.

5. Keep Your New Dog’s Favorite Toys and Items

When you adopt your dog, be sure to find out what its favorite toys, blankets, or other items are. If you can take them with you, it’s best to do so. If not, try seeing if you can buy the same or similar items at your local pet store or online. Familiar items will greatly assist your dog in navigating its new environment! 

For more information on helping your new dog adjust, visit the AKC website.

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Adopting an adult dog