Bringing a new pet home can be an exciting time, but it can also be full of worry. Will they settle in ok? Will they be happy? Will I be able to manage the additional responsibility?
Making your pet feel comfortable in their new home takes a bit of planning and preparation, and here, we share some of the things you can do to make sure your home is ready for a new furry friend.
Set expectations and boundaries from the beginning
As soon as they come into the house, set the boundaries and rules. While it can feel a little harsh, your dog will feel happier for it, and it avoids having to unlearn bad habits and behaviors further down the line. What the rules and boundaries look like is entirely up to you. Perhaps certain rooms or floors of the house are out of bounds, or maybe you don’t want them on the furniture. Be clear, be specific, and stick to the boundaries, and you are half way there.
Give them a safe space
It can be quite stressful for a dog to come into a new home, so give them a space that they can take themselves away to if they need some quiet time. A crate is a good idea for many dogs, with a blanket draped over the top to make it quieter and darker, or it could be a dog bed or a mat in a quiet corner of a room. Make sure it is away from the hustle and bustle of the household so that the dog is not disturbed if they take themselves away.
Make sure your house and garden are dog proofed
When anxiety levels are at a high, dogs are more likely to destroy things or get their noses and paws into places they shouldn’t. By making sure that your home and garden are dog-proofed and safe, you avoid the risk of damage and your dog getting injured or eating something that will make them sick. Move food out of their reach, particularly things like grapes, raisins, onions and chocolate, which are all poisonous for dogs. Put a secure lid on your trash can and if possible, lock it in a cupboard that the dog can’t get to. Check your yard for holes in the fence or areas where they could dig under and escape, or fences that they could jump over. You might also want to look at installing a wireless dog fence for an extra layer of security.
Create a routine
Dogs love routine, so getting them into a loose one as soon as possible can be reassuring and comforting to them. Set a time for when they are going to eat, when they go for walks and when they have to settle down for the night. This routine will help them to feel calm and recognise what is coming next – something that is especially important if you have taken in a dog from a rescue center.