Pet adoption is an amazing process, but it can also be a bit scary for new adopters too.
People ask us a lot of questions of what they should do or expect after bringing their new pet home. For both dogs and cats we tell them very similar things. The first thing is dogs and cats need a decompression period after they are adopted from shelters - which is typically six-eight weeks. So what does that mean? That means do not take the animal to their family picnic, a dog friendly store, dog parks, and when dogs are out and about do not have them interact with other animals.
Why is this important? Dogs in specific can be traumatized from being at the shelter. Think about it from your own perspective. How would you feel or what would you think if you got divorced, lost your home, children and all of your family and went to jail just because of the divorce? Think about no longer getting to sleep on a bed or your cozy couch, but now you are on a concrete floor with strangers staring at you, pointing at you and judging you? Every day you are looking through fencing at people and live in a kennel with concrete walls.
The decompression period is to give dogs the ability to settle in to their new family, to understand their new routine, to understand their place in the family and to allow all of their hormones to settle down again.
After the dog has settled in, slowly introducing them to new situations will be important. Having a crate available in the home will be important too, since dogs can become overwhelmed, so a crate will allow the dog to go to a safe place if needed. We also recommend bringing in a trainer to help work out the bumps in the road.
There are typically no perfect adoption stories, so anticipate that there will be some work needed with your new dog. But know that if you are committed and dedicated to the animal that you have rescued, you will have the most loyal, loving best friend for their whole lives.