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Need Advice on Helping a New Dog Adjust

March 9th, 2005, 09:46 AM
Thanks for all your advice in the past related to adopting a dog. I've located a dog that I am really interested in and will be pursuing an adoption shortly. The dog that I am interested in is a 2 yr old male lab. He is happy, healthy and well adjusted. He has had quite a bit of training and has grown up with a baby, a cat and another dog. My concerns are related to helping him deal with the loss of his family and adjusting to my home. He is currently very attached to another dog that's in the home and his owners. Do you think the loss of his 'pack' will be very hard for him? What can I do to help him bond to me and see me as his new owner? How long do you think it will take him before he will see my home as his and see me as his new owner / pack leader? Thanks for your advice.

Lucky Rescue
March 9th, 2005, 10:09 AM
From the sounds of it, this dog shouldn't have a hard time adjusting to his new home, if you do a couple things to ease it for him.

It's helpful to take him for a long walk when you get him home. This will calm him and let him get to know you.

The most important thing for a new dog is consistancy and a routine. Dogs who have been bounced around never know what is going to happen next and this makes them very anxious and insecure.

A solid routine of the same thing at the same time every day will build confidence.

Don't give a new dog run of the whole house right away. This may seem great to us, but overwhelming to a new dog. Start with one room, then gradually give him more freedom.

If you work, it's best to take a week's vacation to gradually get the dog used to being alone in small increments. A dog who is brought home on Sunday and left alone on Monday may well feel abandoned again and this can cause howling and/or separation anxiety.

I highly recommend obedience classes. This helps bond with the dog, and furthers his confidence.

Good luck!!:)

March 9th, 2005, 10:28 AM
That's helpful thanks.

I have the benefit of being able to get to know him a little before taking him. I'm going to be taking him on a walk tonight and will probably visit him again before I bring him home.

I have planned on taking a few days off work when I get him.

March 9th, 2005, 02:51 PM
My beast (2 at the time) was totally stressed when I brought her home. Sat at the bottom of the stairs shakin like a leaf by the front door for a day basically, refused to come up in the the living space of the house. Eventually I carried her up and blocked the stairs, for the first few days she got a lot naps in the crate, she was much more relaxed in the crate.

Anyway, the following suggestion may be impractical but it worked wonders for me.

After about a month of having her I had to travel for 2 weeks, I arranaged for her to stay with the breeder where she had spent her life. When I got her back she was much better at her new home. I did it again a couple of times as I travel often. Every time she is a notch more confident when she comes back to me.

So you could try taking the dog for a few days and back and forth, might ease the transition.

My dog was fairly nervous in nature, so it was a big deal, she has come a long way. Actually the reason I have her is to get her out of her current pack dynamic (was basically bottom dog at the kennel) give her some individual attention and exposure to help bring her out of her shell. Happy to say it's working.

March 9th, 2005, 04:50 PM
Anything he can bring from his former residence will help (smell familiar). If you can keep a routine close to his old routine he will feel more secure. Rescue Remedy is a mix of Bach flowers good for both humans and animals under stress. It is available at health stores, if he is showing signs of stress. It can be administered directly into the dog's mouth, applied topically on their head, or ear flap, or generally added to the water bowl.

Restricting access around the house is good, will he be able to be crated in our room, or sleep in your room with you at night? (maybe on short leash attached to the bed frame, depending on his needs, risk of chewing etc during the night)