Golden lab lying on wooden floor

Have you recently adopted a dog from a shelter or rescue organization during coronavirus? While it is an exciting time to introduce your new pup into your loving family, it can also be a stressful and anxious time for them because of all the changes. With a lack of knowledge about their family life history, it will take both time and patience as you begin to establish structure and socialize them. Here are a few tips to make the transition as comfortable as possible:

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Many dogs adopted from the shelter or other means are assumed to have a negative past or something that deemed them “bad.” This is simply not the case! Most dogs are given to the shelter for reasons beyond their control like medical reasons, financial hardship, divorce, death, or their pet parents moving to a place where the dog cannot be kept. If possible, ask the shelter about the dog to get a better understanding of their interactions during their stay. They will know how they interacted with other people and dogs and can provide valuable insight into their behavior and personality.

Establish trust

Wanting to show off your new dog to the rest of the world is understandable as a proud pet parent. But remember, your new dog is also new to you. While socializing your dog is incredibly important, it is equally as important to take socializing at a pace that your dog can handle. Give your dog time to relax and adjust to their new home and to you as a pet parent. Earning their trust is the first key to success. You can help this process by taking them on a short walk around the block or even just up the street. Leave the leash on them when they get home and let them explore each room and area. This reinforces the idea that it is now their home, too. Over time, your dog will learn that you are here to stay, and they are safe.

Go slow

Once your dog has become more comfortable with you and knows the basic commands of Sit, Come, and Leave, introduce them to at least three new experiences each week. This can be wearing a hat when you feed them, making a noise with a water bottle while they are eating, introducing them to new environments with walks around the neighborhood, or hearing but not seeing the garbage truck when in the yard. Remain calm when introducing these experiences, and soon your dog will begin to adjust and cope with these interruptions or opportunities.

Benefits of socialization

Introducing your new dog to new elements and experiences is essential to their health and wellness. While you may never know their history, you can make an impact on their future, and teach them that new experiences do not have to mean negative experiences. Improved confidence, eased anxiety, and increased health are all benefits of a well socialized dog.

When in doubt, contact a certified animal behaviorist or professional dog trainer to step in and provide virtual or in-person advice. Then when your dog is ready, help them socialize even more at dog daycare at Dogtopia where trained experts will provide your dog with all the tips and tricks they need for a well socialized life.

For the health and safety of all dogs, it is not a good idea to allow dogs who do not have a stable and known home environment or known health history to be in open play. We recommend dogs be accustomed to their new home for a minimum of 30 days before undergoing a Meet & Greet evaluation.