On average, approximately six and a half million animals are brought into United States shelters each year.
Adopting a rescue animal is one of the most rewarding acts you can perform. These pets tend to have increased loyalty to you as they understand just how wonderful of a life you are giving them compared to their previous living situation.
It is important to be mindful that your adopted pet is going through a lot right now. Transition and change stress animals out, and it is imperative to be present to help the pet while they go through it.
Stress in animals is revealed through several means, such as chewing up furniture and toys to using the bathroom in the house even if they’re poddy-trained.
Below are some tips to help reduce your dog’s stress when you bring them back to your apartment.
Patience is a Virtue
Your pet has gone through a lot; they went from whatever history they had, possibly abusive, into an animal shelter, and now into your loving care.
They may have trust issues. They may not feel completely comfortable just yet. Your apartment is a completely new environment to them.
Give them some time to get familiarized with their new home. Open doors and allow them to explore on their own, giving them plenty of space to feel safe.
When they do decide to lay down and settle, give them the treat to make them feel special.
Make a Safe Spot for Your Pet
Be sure to turn your apartment into a warm environment before you bring them back. If you have other pets, maybe keep them in a specific room so the new dog can explore without the worry of another animal trying to assert its dominance right away.
Additionally, a structured routine will help get your dog acquainted with its new living situation. After all, dogs are creatures of habit.
Your dog may or may not find some spots they like. The best thing you can do is invest in a doggy bed and place it in the dog’s “safe space.”
If that’s not in the budget, you can always fold up an old blanket for them to soften the floor. A dog’s sense of smell is one of its primary senses, so leave an article of clothing with your scent on it in their safe spot. Your scent will make your dog feel comfortable, especially while you’re away.
Analyze What They Know
You’re going to need to figure out just how much your dog knows.
Have they been taught how to “sit,” “lay down,” and “stay,”? They may not even respond to their name.
Hopefully, your pooch will at least respond to your voice, but if they aren’t familiar with these basic commands, these are just something that you will have to work on with your dog. “Sit” and “down” are the best commands to start with, as no one wants a dog jumping on them all the time.
Again, be patient, don’t allow yourself to become discouraged, and set attainable goals for yourself and your dog.
Rewards Work Better Than Punishment
Negative reactions, such as yelling or screaming, only terrify your dog and they will not understand what you want from them.
In fact, raising your voice at your dog will cause them to have trust issues with you and prolong the training duration.
Whenever your dog does something you like, be sure to quickly reward in order for the dog to make the connection that their behavior was what you want from them.
Reinforce and reward good behavior is critical to a quicker learning curve.
Toys and Distractions
Be sure to have a few toys for your dog. Nothing is worse than when you’re in the waiting room for a job interview and you have to anxiously stare around at the walls.
That’s exactly how your dog feels. Just how you would want a magazine to skim through to distract yourself, your dog needs some toys to help distract them.
Puzzle toys and chew toys are excellent ways to keep a dog’s mind off their stressful new surroundings. If you adopted an energetic breed, you may need to play with them several times or take multiple walks and runs throughout the day.
If your dog is scared of storms, turn some music on for them to distract for the loud crashes and booms.
Consider a ThunderShirt
Just like how babies like to be swaddled, a ThunderShirt provides pressure around your dog’s torso to help relieve their anxious shakes.
A ThunderShirt doesn’t have to sit idle until a thunderstorm arrives. Use a ThunderShirt for when you leave the house for dogs with separation anxiety.
Likewise, you can utilize the brands calming chewable ThunderWunders and pheromones ThunderEase, too!