First Time Pet Owners!
Bringing home a new pet for the first time can be daunting, especially if he’s a rescue animal and is fearful of the unknown. It’s understandable to want to create a comfortable experience for your animal, but many people aren’t quite sure how to go about it.
The key is to take things slow and easy at first, and allow your new pet to become acclimated to your home on his terms. This means no surprises, no loud noises, just easy interaction with the family– and family only– for the first few days, at least. Many rescue dogs have trouble being around several people at once, and some are timid around children (who, even when well- intentioned, can be loud or play too rough with animals).
You’ll want to be prepared, so make sure you have all the things your pet will need ready at your home. After that, allow him to spend some time exploring, and reward him with lots of love when he does what he’s supposed to do.
Here are a few more of the best ways to help your new pet feel at home.
It’s not advisable to put your new pet into a crate and leave him alone on the drive home. If at all possible, have someone drive you so you can sit with the animal and talk to him in soft, comforting tones. He may not be used to riding in a vehicle, so bring along towels and cleaning supplies in case he gets sick. Never allow your pet to walk freely around in the vehicle while it’s moving; it’s a safety hazard to both the pet and the driver.
Your pet will be much more comfortable if you have the things he needs all ready to go: leash/harness, collar, food and water bowls, bathroom items, bedding, and toys, to start. It’s also a good idea to go around your home and look at everything the way you would if you were having someone with a baby or toddler over for a visit. Take care of any potential hazards – electrical cords, slippery throw rugs, anything non-edible that might look tasty to a curious puppy — right away.
When you get home with your new pet, it’s best not to overwhelm him with several people all at once. Take him on a quiet walk through your home to let him explore and sniff around. Then, take him outside to the designated potty spot so that he can get familiar with that area. Let him meet the family in a quiet environment, and allow him to initiate any touching or snuggling.
For the inside of the house, let your new pet explore a bit (on a leash, if that makes you more comfortable) and be kind, but firm, if he attempts to touch or chew on anything he shouldn’t. Distract him with one of his new toys if necessary.
Even if your pet was housebroken before, becoming acclimated to a new home is sometimes overwhelming and can cause setbacks. Try to stay calm if he does have an accident and keep puppy pads handy to lay on the floor.
Work out your schedule
As with any pet, it’s important to work out your schedule so that he won’t have to be alone too long during the day. If you know you’ll need to work long hours or be away until late, arrange for someone to come and let him out and/or play with him while you’re gone. In fact, it might be a good idea to hire a dog walking service so you won’t have to worry about your pet being left alone all day or crated for several hours. Another great option for keeping your pet busy is doggy daycare. These daycares allow for lots of exercise and social interaction with other dogs. And the best part is that your pup will come home happy and worn out.
Talk to your family
It’s extremely important to talk to your family about the rules regarding your new pet, especially if you have children. Set guidelines so that no one is in the dark about your animal’s needs and who will feed and take care of him. Let young children know the right way to play with the animal and touch him, and also show them the wrong ways to do so.
Getting a new pet acclimated to your home may take some time, so try and be patient. It’s also important to consider what a new animal might mean to an existing pet, so allow them time to get used to one another safely. With a little planning and preparation, you can make sure your new pet is comfortable and happy.