Time is something we all need. For a rescue dog, it can make all the difference. Enough time can mean success in their new home and a happy forever family. Too little time can mean failure and in the worst cases euthanasia.


It is exciting to add a new furry family member and the temptation is always to show them off, by inviting everyone over to meet them.Take them to grandma’s house, the grocery store, the dog park, the pet supply,doggie daycare. And while we are certain in our new relationship (we adopted this dog after all, they are our family) your newest canine member may have some doubts. Keep in mind that security is a novelty to many of these dogs. If adopted from a shelter, yours may be their first real home. Many of the experiences you will put them through (stairs, tile floors, vacuums, car rides, elementary schools, cats) maybe firsts for them. Firsts can be scary, fear can breed insecurity, and insecurity almost always means behavior outside of what is expected.


We see this all too often, this rush to integrate a new dog into a family’s lifestyle. Too often, the dog’s needs are overlooked due to inflexible or busy schedules (we have to work so we rush to take to dog to daycare, etc.) It is important to remember, that while you are secure in your new relationship with your new dog, to them, yours is just one more location they are dropped in, you are one more person or set of people that they are asked to accept and to trust. If you throw too much at them at once, you are increasing their stress and almost guaranteeing their failure. Dogs who are stressed behave badly. Some examples can be but are not limited to; A backslides in house training, chewing or destructive behavior, excessive barking, pacing, growling, snapping or biting, aggression with other animals or humans. Remember these behaviors can be firsts for the dog and they are not comfortable for them, they are in fact quite outside of their normal temperament. Try to remember what you are asking.


Please, if you want your life with your new pet to be a long and happy one, with few hiccups. Give them the gift of time. Give them a minimum of three weeks to settle in at home. Give them routine mealtimes, crate times, potty breaks, playtimes, and rest. Try to limit their exposure to new people and animals, to those that are strictly necessary. Restrict the number of visitors to your home. Limit car rides to those that do not require you to leave your pet. After the three weeks is up try to introduce new things slowly (one or two new people or experiences a week).


I know it sounds like a lot of work but your new family member is depending on you to make this transition a smooth and positive one. A little groundwork early on and you will have a long and happy life together.Your pet will thank you for it.


Gwen Hammond

Executive Director

Second Chance Salem

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