More and more people decide to adopt adult dogs to provide them with a new home where they can be happy. Unlike puppies, adults often come with a bag of learned habits and previous experiences that can influence how you live together. For this reason, we provide you with some keys that will help the dog in its process of adaptation to a new reality. Because adoption can be a wonderful opportunity for everyone.
Adopting implies responsibilities and tasks that must be clear from the outset. Living with a dog means attending to its physical and emotional needs, keeping it in adequate hygienic conditions, and taking care of its health and its education. We must commit ourselves to his well-being and be responsible with the decision made. Having the right expectations is key to paving the way for rewarding adoption.
If your dog used to live with another person and you have the opportunity to contact her, ask her what she is like, what habits she has, what she likes (and what she doesn't) and what is the language of gestures and words that the dog already knows. If it comes from a shelter or protector, the center staff can provide us with very valuable information about its history and its day-to-day life at the center, although we must know that the environment greatly influences behavior and once at home you could discover new things about he.
From the first moment in his new home, the dog will need a safe and comfortable space equipped with everything necessary to feel at home. In your welcome kit you cannot miss a bed, a drinker, a feeder and toys to entertain yourself, as well as a collar or harness, leashes, sweets and, of course, dog food. Also, we must have a safe house for him. And this means that he does not have within his reach toxic plants, prohibited foods, garbage, cleaning products or cables, among other things.
In the coming weeks and months you will lay the foundations of your relationship and as you get to know him better, he also learns about you and his new reality. In this phase, he tries to protect him from overwhelming and stressful situations and provides him with opportunities for enjoyment, such as walks and games, both alone and in company. A more optimistic attitude can help you look at the positive side of things and can help you adapt.
The idea of going slowly also applies to interactions. Although you would like to have a bond already established, don't be in a hurry and let him take the lead in the interaction. Thus, instead of approaching him directly, call him from a short distance and let him finish the approach or instead of touching him directly, offer your availability to the contact: if he doesn't seem interested, respect his decision; If he is receptive, pet him briefly and move back slightly to let him come closer again and confirm that he still wants contact with you.
With children and other dogs and cats, we must make introductions carefully. First impressions count and it is important that all members of the family feel safe and have good memories. We have to closely monitor interactions, without forcing and avoiding conflict.
If we have children, it is important that they are relaxed and interact with the dog calmly and respectfully. You should understand that for some dogs, yours may be the first child they have seen up close and they may not be clear on what to expect from a child. There are also other dogs who have already had contact with children in their previous life and their presence does not necessarily bring back good memories. In these situations, faced with an annoying or even unexpected contact, the dog could try to protect itself. Being unaware of much of his past, it doesn't hurt to ask a behavior specialist to oversee the process of integrating the newcomer into his new family, especially when there are young children at home.
If you are going to change his diet, try to do it gradually, making the transition over a week or two to avoid gastrointestinal upset. On those days he mixes the two foods, increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the amount of the old as the days go by. Likewise, we should not be in a hurry: the stress linked to the change in life can temporarily take away your appetite and if you reject the new food it may be for this reason and not because you don't like it.
Establish a routine of meals, outings and activities from the beginning. The organization and predictability of the environment not only give you peace of mind, but can make it easier for you to adjust. As he adjusts to his new habits, he will begin to anticipate when it's time to eat or go for a walk. It is also important to be clear from the beginning what is the behavior you expect from him, as well as what you have to do so that he understands what you want to communicate. But be patient: he has a past, and what he has learned so far may conflict with the new rules. If you are not sure how to educate him, remember that behavior specialists are there to help you make it possible.
Gently teach him what the appropriate behavior is, rewarding his advances and avoiding physical or verbal punishment, as they would generate anxiety and undermine his confidence. Resorting to sweets, games, verbal praise or caresses to educate him is the best way to build a bond based on trust. Remember that educating a dog is not just about getting him to know how to behave, but it is a way to provide him with physical and mental stimulation, build his confidence, strengthen your bond and improve your communication.
If you are still considering adoption, it is advisable to seek the advice of experts. Receiving advice on behavioral issues —before problems arise— and investing time in educating the dog will help to achieve a harmonious coexistence, especially if there are children in the family or other dogs and cats already live at home. Also, if you want to learn, there are veterinary clinics that have online courses that will help you better understand their behavior and way of communicating.
Every dog is different and has its own tastes. Find out what his favorite toys are, if he prefers to walk in the mountains or prefers the sand on the beach, if he enjoys playing with other dogs or if what he likes most is playing with you. Doing small tests you will discover what you really like. In addition, during this process, he himself will be able to discover new hobbies that he had not explored until now and so can we.
Adopting an adult dog can be a fantastic experience, full of love and affection, but also certain commitments and the involvement of the whole family. To the gradual adaptation to his new home, it will be necessary to add many doses of patience and interest in knowing what he is like, respecting his temperament and ensuring his physical and emotional well-being. The time together and the happiness of both your dog and yours will show you that its adoption has been a good decision. Without a doubt, if he could do it, he would be infinitely grateful for the second chance that you have given him by your side.
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How to promote the adaptation process of an adopted dog