Seven Tips for Adoptive Pet Parents

Choosing to adopt a pet from a shelter is a solid investment in future love and happiness. A few simple techniques can help you to ensure the right start on the path to successful pet ownership and can help your new companion feel more at home during the first weeks after adoption.

Take It Easy

Your new pet will need a few weeks of peace and quiet to adjust to the new surroundings. Keep in mind that most shelters are loud and uncomfortable places, especially for shy or less confident animals. Providing your pet with a calm and stress-free environment can help set the stage for a lifetime of happiness.

Make Allowances

Even the best-behaved pets can have accidents, act out or generally exhibit behavioral problems when introduced to a new environment. Making some allowances for these behaviors can help your pet to feel more secure and less likely to behave badly in the future.

Set Some Ground Rules

Pets are more likely to adjust to their new homes if clear rules are established soon after their arrival. Letting dogs and cats know what is expected of them can enhance their sense of confidence and can ensure a smoother transition from the shelter to the home environment.

Be the Leader of the Pack

Dogs require strong leadership from their owners to ensure positive behaviors. Establishing a position as the leader of the pack can ensure that owners can maintain control over their dogs even in stressful situations or in public arenas. By remaining calm and providing steady, assertive energy when dealing with your pets, you can ensure a less stressful environment for your entire family.

Walk It Off

One of the best ways to assert pack leadership and to build a solid rapport with canine companions is through the daily walk. You should take the lead on these walks to establish your alpha position within the pack. The alpha member leads the pack in the dog’s natural order, and owners should do the same to ensure the respect and attention of their new animal companion.

Set Your Pet Up for Success

When bringing a pet home from the shelter, it’s usually best to avoid making any assumptions. Even if the shelter personnel indicated that the pet was housebroken, taking the dog outside at regular intervals or showing the cat the litter box can provide added support for the desired behaviors. Providing chew toys for dogs and interactive toys for cats can help them express their instinctual needs without creating wear and tear on your furniture or your nerves.

Trust, But Supervise

Developing trust can be a lengthy process. Monitoring your pet in new situations and around new people and animals can help you to avoid accidents and altercations during the first few weeks after the adoption. Keeping your dog on a leash can also prevent problems at the dog park or on your daily walk.

By keeping these seven tips in mind during the period following the adoption process, you can successfully integrate your new dog or cat into your family and your life.