Will Dogs Get Homesick After Getting a New Family?

by Naomi Millburn
    Shih tzus are a breed of dogs who do well around new people.

    Shih tzus are a breed of dogs who do well around new people.

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    When humans are in new and confusing situations, they may pine for things that are most familiar and comforting to them, such as home sweet home. Re-homed dogs, unlike people, can't verbalize their emotions of homesickness, but they can feel anxious, frustrated and disoriented when they first enter their new families' lives.

    Adjustment and Anguish

    It isn't unusual for mature dogs to have to move to brand new homes after years of being with an original owner. When dogs enter into new families, they frequently display signs of anguish. These feelings stem from a combination of missing the familiarity of their owners and having to get used to a strange new existence, according to author, professor and veterinarian Bonnie V. G. Beaver.

    Signs of Homesickness

    If you are the new owner of a rehomed dog, the furry guy might seem anxious or lethargic at first. Some dogs get through the adjustment period in a few weeks; for others, the process is more extended. If your cutie is homesick and having a hard time getting used to his new situation, he might seem withdrawn. He might not be that interested in playtime. He might seem overly fidgety and antsy, too. Many rehomed dogs can even be clingy toward their new family members.

    Separation Anxiety and Canines

    Separation anxiety's not uncommon among dogs. Canines appreciate predictability and stability. When things change, they get stressed out. Being integrated into new families is a common cause of separation anxiety in dogs, according to the ASPCA. Not only do dogs get attached to their owners, they get used to the little details of their lives, whether they pertain to playtime, feeding times or morning strolls around the park. When dogs have new families, they not only miss their old owners, they also have to deal with a lot of new scenery, smells, sounds and rules -- the works.

    Dog Breeds and Transitions

    Certain types of dogs take moving in with new families a lot harder than others. Herding and working canines, for example, connect intensely to their human family members, notes author and dog expert Liz Palika. When the people they adore and trust the most disappear from their lives, some breeds tend to mourn them deeply. German shepherds are an example. When they're introduced to new families while they're still mourning their previous owners, it can take them a lot of time to warm up. Some dog breeds appear to transition easily and smoothly to new people and environments, including Shih tzus and greyhounds.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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