Table of Contents

Acclimatization ... Getting to Know You

When you bring your new friend home . . . .

It is important to know that your dog has been under stress. They have been in a strange place full of other animals and now they are in a new home with a new family, and maybe even other pets. These recommendations will help make an easy transition for you and your new pet.

  • Although everyone will want to meet and play with your new family member, keep the initial interactions to a minimum. Give them time to settle in and get to know you.
  • Let them explore and investigate their new home and yard. There are many new smells and sounds to investigate and learn, and most likely your new dog will want to smell EVERYTHING.
  • It is not uncommon for dogs to take a week or more to "decompress" from the stress of the shelter. How they behave during the first few days at home is not necessarily how they will behave after a few weeks of getting used to their new home.
  • It is suggested that you keep your new dog away from other pets for 5-7 days if possible. Not only does this give your new dog time to settle in, but it also allows time to ensure that the pet is healthy and not showing any behavior problems. 
  • Introduce your new dog to other pets in the home slowly, use caution when introducing pets to each other. Some may eventually become friends and others will just co-exist. Before introducing your new dog to pets already in your home, take the dog for a brisk walk to release energy. Then allow them to sniff where the other pets have been. Introduce slowly and keep all dogs on leashes.
  • It is important to give equal attention to your original pet. Do not ignore them as this may cause resentment of the new pet. Most important is that the original pet too needs to feel loved, even more so because of the new addition to your family.

When introducing a dog and a cat -  When the dog is in a calm state and still on a leash, allow the dog and cat to view each other at a distance. You should exude calm but also express firmness and not allow the dog to chase the cat or the cat to scratch the dog. Another human family member should hold the dog leash while you calmly pet the cat, thereby letting the dog know that the cat is part of the family. Most dogs want to please their human companion. If the dog remains fairly calm, allow the dog to get close to the cat while still on a leash.  A dog's basic instinct is to chase a cat. Whether the dog chases or not depends on the introduction and the cat. A cat who is not afraid of dogs and does not run is less likely to provoke a chase. The new dog and your cat should not be alone together for a few weeks because the dog may still chase a running cat. Also, if your dog sees the cat outside, he may feel like the cat is fair game for a chase.