Adopting a new pet is an exciting time, for both you and the pet. Rescuing a pet from a shelter is even more rewarding – you are saving the life of a loving dog or cat while also bringing joy to your home. Although, it can take some time and patience for both you and your new pet to adjust, there is nothing in this world like the love of a rescue pet. Read on to learn more about what to expect when adopting a pet and for tips on making the transition easier.
Pets, just like people, have a past. Their past may be full of love and loss after their pet-parent recently passed away, or the feeling of abandonment if their owners left them when they moved. All of their emotions stick with them when they come into your home.
So how can you as the new owner make the transition successful for your dog or cat? And survive yourself? It can be done, and here are five tips to help make the transition easier:
Start by preparing for the pet even before you bring them home?
- To crate or not to crate, that is the question! If you decide to crate your dog, have it set up and ready for when you get home. Placement is key, especially if this will be your dog’s safe spot away from the hustle and bustle of your family’s craziness. When you bring your dog home, give him time to sniff the crate becoming familiar with the mat or blankets you’ve provided.
- Litter box placement is key for your kitty! Get all your supplies, find a place and set it up. Once you bring your cat home, give her time to sniff around and become familiar with the new litter box. Also, remember to clean the litter box frequently while your cat becomes familiar with it. If kitty gets mad, she may start using other rooms in the house as her personal restroom.
Demonstrate patience with your new dog or cat.
- Many families rush to show love and affection to their new pet by hugging, holding or passing their pet around. This may be uncomfortable for your pet and may lead to scratching, clawing or even biting. Talk with your family, especially children, and explain to them how the new pet needs time to adjust. It doesn’t mean the pet doesn’t like you, but they are becoming familiar with their new surroundings. By giving your pet space, they will integrate themselves with the family in their own time.
Establish a schedule and stick with it
- Setting specific time for meals, exercise, potty and play will establish a routine for your new pet. Following this routine will set the framework for a happy pet and a happier you! Keep in mind, you may have to work with your pet with extra potty breaks in the beginning until they become use to the routine.
Past habits – both good and bad
- Rescued pets may have never socialized with children or been for walks through a neighborhood, therefore, their reactions are very unpredictable. Take your time, and venture out only when you have extra time to work with your pet and help them understand the proper behavior you expect. And this may take several sessions before they begin to catch on to the desired actions. Remember to reward with treats, but do not punish or alienate the pet when they don’t catch on so quickly.
And lastly, give your new dog or cat plenty of kisses, head scratches, and belly rubs.