Take Your Time

Adopting a new dog is exciting, and I know you want to take that dog out as soon as you get him/her and show them off to the world, but PLEASE DON’T. Relationships take time to build. You cannot take a newly acquired dog and put them into unknown situations with people he just met and expect it be a positive experience for the dog or the new owner.

Dogs take at least two weeks to acclimate to a new environment. During those first two weeks you should be laying the foundation for your lifetime you’re about to spend with them. Allow them time to settle, and then start working on basic obedience. Remember, if you don’t have 100% control over your dog in your home you’ll never have it outside of your home. Once you have the foundation laid at home start introducing the dog to different scenarios in a controlled manner. For example, take the dog to the park and sit near the playground, and by near I mean like 20-30 feet away. That way the dog can observe screaming and running children from a distance without being forced to confront these alien creatures. Make sure you reward the dog with tasty treats so he makes a positive connection between the aliens and his behavior. If the dog is having a hard time increase the distance between you and the children (aka aliens). Once the dog is more comfortable then use the food rewards. This scenario can be used in any situation such as bicycles, skateboards, strollers, etc.

When taking the dog to someone else’s house make sure that it’s OK with them first. If they don’t want the dog there the dog will know it and feed off of that uncomfortable reaction from the homeowner. If the homeowner agrees you must make the experience as uneventful as possible. Advise the homeowner and guests not to acknowledge the dog in any way once you come into the home – on leash! Do not make eye contact and speak to the dog. Allow the dog to approach when they are comfortable and don’t let anyone push themselves on the dog or into their personal space. This will also help if your dog is excitable. Keeping these meetings on an even keel helps the excitement level decrease and produces better behavior. These same rules also apply to anyone coming into the home. They must ignore the dog. If they can’t obey the rules they can’t come over! That may seem harsh but your job as a responsible pet owner is to set this dog up for success!

Once you have an established bond, some obedience training, and socialization under your belt then you can try introducing them to a highly stimulating environment and see how they do. If it doesn’t go well, that is OK. Try something a little more, low key and build from there, and remember to seek professional help if you need to!