Adopting an adult dog – After the fact.

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Hooray! You brought your new furbaby home, everything is new, very exciting and a teeny bit worrisome. Adopting an adult dog, and bringing them home to your other pet or pets can have some nerve-racking moments, but if we give them a chance, all will be well.

Most dogs have great social skills, they can communicate and read each other well. It’s only when one of the dogs have bad social skills where we need to step in a guide them a bit, however, it’s really important to give them a lot of space, you can always keep an eye on them from the corner of your eye.

It is important that you do not plan or try to do a lot of new activities with your new furkid and the resident pet in the first week. Keep to the normal routine and let the new furkid get a feel for his new home and people, he’ll be doing a lot of watching, here you can reassure him when he wants to do something that is OK for him to do. If it’s not something you would like him to do, guide him away from the activity. He will really appreciate your guidance while he is trying to figure out his place in your household.

Make sure that your new dog has at least three exit strategies wherever he is so that if he feels crowded he can leave the situation. Dogs who know they have an exit will be more relaxed. For example, if you are in the living room and your other pets are in there with you, make sure that your new pet does not get cornered, if he can’t go left he should be able to go right, forward and backward. You’d have to be quite mindful about this and encourage your pets to give him some space as soon as you see them cornering him or blocking him, even if it’s not intentional.

You are going to have to make some changes. Think of it like getting a new roommate, he will be bringing his little habits, past behaviors, likes and dislikes into your home. Everyone, humans, and pets will have to accommodate each other, all over again.
There will probably be a couple of scraps, hopefully, they won’t be serious. Your new dog is getting to know your other dog/s. He will probably overstep a couple of times, but he will learn that that is not OK and there probably will not be a next time. If the new dog continues to overstep so much that it becomes a trigger for the current dog, you need to step in and guide your new dog towards an acceptable alternative or manage the situation by keeping the new dog from overstepping.

Sometimes, we’re the ones causing the tension. We have to be careful in the first couple of weeks not to overwhelm our dogs with our own nervousness. If you feel anxious about something, it’s better to just step back, disengage from the situation. More often than not, the dogs will also disengage. If not, make sure you have a plan of action ahead of time on how to separate them without a fuss or panic.

For more advice on adoption, have a look at one of our previous blogs; Adopting a dog for the first time?

Go ahead and share some of your adoption stories with us.