When a family welcomes a new pet into the home, there is always a transition period for the pet, any existing family pets and the humans as well.Â
The first several weeks â€” usually about three â€” can be especially tough. Unfortunately, some new pet owners fail to recognize this adjustment period, and as a result, the pet may be returned to the shelter before they have had time to settle in. Here are some common mistakes that new pet owners often make.
TOO MUCH FREEDOM: A common mistake new dog owners often make is failing to set boundaries. A new dog, whether a puppy or adult, initially should be crated. People tend to view crating as mean, but this is wrong. Using a crate in the beginning is vital to protecting the house from the dog and the dog from the house.
Puppies may need some house-training, and the crate is a good tool for that. Crates also promote routine, and dogs are creatures of routine.
The crate should be used as the dog’s den, or safe place, not as a punishment. Give treats or special chew toys in the crate to show a positive correlation.
ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN: Expect there may be potty accidents early on. Even if the dog is coming from a previous home, where it was house-trained, the new environment may make the dog nervous and cause accidents.Â
SLOW INTRODUCTIONS: If there already is a dog in the home, introduce it to the newcomer slowly and in a neutral setting, such as a park. That way, the existing dog does not become territorial of its home. Both dogs should be on leashes and allowed to investigate one another at their own pace.
Most shelters and rescues will encourage a meet-and-greet to make sure the dogs are compatible before the new dog goes to a home. The new dog and existing dogs should not be left unattended until it is determined they’re going to get along.
GIVE KIDS BOUNDARIES, TOO: Always supervise young children while with a new pet. They may want to pull ears and tails, and this may cause a dog to bite in fear. Pets need to be protected from children just as children need to be protected from pets. The breed does not matter; a small poodle can bite, too.
With proper introductions, a little time and patience and boundaries, a new furry family member will settle in and feel right at home.
DONATE: The Humane Society of Louisiana accepts donations of used vehicles, boats and SUVs. Proceeds from their sale will be used to support the group’s statewide humane initiatives and the operation of its two no-kill sanctuaries. The group is caring for 30 formerly abused and neglected horses and an assortment of donkeys, goats, cats and dogs. For more information, please call 901-268-4432.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. In St. Bernard Parish, send to email@example.com.