That's it, you've taken the plunge. The papers are signed, and you return from the shelter with a new companion. What a thrill! You have all the will in the world to welcome your new friend the way it should be.
Nevertheless, good intentions should ideally be accompanied by good gestures. Keep in mind that a dog from a shelter comes to you with his story.
Discover in this article our advice to welcome a shelter dog.
Welcoming a shelter dog: Prerequisites
The state of mind to welcome a shelter dog
The behavior of a shelter dog is not the same as one you have trained since he was a puppy. A shelter dog has his own history. Whether he is happy or unhappy, his experiences affect the way he is.
Remember that a dog that has been in a shelter for a long time is likely to have lost his bearings. This means that he may not have the “right” behavior when it comes down to cleanliness, training or living with children.
Your new friend may, unfortunately, have been abused or neglected. You should therefore expect him to be defensive, as everything will be new to him. Nevertheless, some dogs from shelters show remarkable adaptability. It is quite possible that your companion will feel at home sooner than you think.
In any case, you must be patient to facilitate his integration into your home. Most dogs get used to their new home very quickly. If it takes longer than expected, you don't need to worry. Continue to reassure him.
Also follow the advice of the shelter officials to properly educate and care for your dog. They will also provide you with information about your dog's character. It can take up to several months for your new friend to adjust and reveal his nature.
First day habits
Make him his own little space with his own things. Let him discover his new home at his own pace.
It is also necessary to get him used to being alone. A dog is a social being, so he needs to learn to be alone. Avoid taking him everywhere with you one day and then leaving him alone all day the next.
Providing a stable environment for your dog
To welcome a shelter dog, you need to create stability in his daily life. This reinforces the harmony in which he will evolve. To do this, you must establish rules and small rituals in his everyday life.
Activities to get to know each other better
It is necessary that your dog trusts you. Take the time to play with him, take him out regularly so he can discover his new environment. Show him that he is now part of your home. However, be careful not to become careless. You should be the only one to take the initiative for meals, walks and even cuddles! You must not give in to all his whims.
Among these rules are the restrictions that you must impose on him. Be careful how you make him understand these restrictions. Remain consistent and coherent so that he understands what behaviour is and is not allowed. If you change your rules every day, he will eventually get confused and will have difficulty obeying.
A dog has to eat at specific times. You also have to be really careful when you give him table scraps. First of all, because it is detrimental to his health, and secondly, even if you give it only once, he will systematically beg at the table.
The best thing to do is to get him to stay in his space while you're eating. That way he gets used to waiting patiently for his meal.
Rewards and punishments
If you set rules for your dog, you must reward him when he follows them. You can do this by using dog treats, petting or a pleasant tone of voice to encourage him. Remember to reward your dog when he does his “good deed”.
You will sometimes be forced to punish him because it is part of his upbringing. However, physical contact is absolutely forbidden.
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