When you welcome a new pet into your home, patience is key! Though you may be tempted to take your new dog straight to the park or pet store, it’s best to head straight home. Both dogs and cats need time to decompress from shelter life and acclimate to their new environments. If you’ve adopted a cat, some hiding or other fear-based behavior is normal in the first days or weeks. Be patient with your new pet and you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime of love!
Whether you’re adopting a dog or a cat, it’s important to restrict access to a small space in your home for the first few days. For a cat, you can designate a bathroom or larger closet to be their homebase. Be sure to give them everything they need and visit often. This will help you get to know your cat and figure out what they like before giving them access to the full house. If you’re adopting a dog, you’ll want to block off an area using doors and baby gates, so you can learn what your pet already knows and what you need to focus on for training. Be sure to use a leash while outside (even in a fenced area) to ensure your dog won’t escape.
Whether you’ve adopted a dog or a cat, be sure to take your time introducing your new friend to existing pets, kids, and visitors. In order to be successful, it’s important not to rush those new relationships.
When your pet does something good, be sure to offer praise, treats or toys. Early rewards will help reinforce good behavior.