My Dog Is Having Problems Adjusting to a New Environmentby Susan Paretts
Whether you've recently adopted your canine companion or moved with him to a new home, he will need some time to adjust to his new environment. While Fido may initially experience some upset when relocated to an unfamiliar home, including some behavioral issues, with training and encouragement, he should eventually settle in and enjoy his new surroundings. If he doesn't, visit the vet to rule out a medical issue causing his distress.
A new home has lots of unfamiliar smells, sights and spaces that can intimidate your pooch. Calm him by immediately unpacking and providing him with his old bed, bowls, toys, blankets, leash and crate. Don't wash these items prior to giving them to him, so that they smell and feel the same to him. Feed him the same food he was eating in his old home or in the shelter you adopted him from, so that you don't cause him any stomach upset with a new diet. Abruptly changing Fido's diet can lead to diarrhea and house soiling issues.
Canine companions thrive when they have a daily routine to follow, which reduces their anxiety in a new environment. Establish this routine during your pup's first few days with you or, if possible, keep his feeding, exercise and sleeping times the same as in his old home. You also want to keep the locations of his sleeping spot and food and water dishes the same in his new home as in his old one. For example, if you fed Fido in the kitchen and kept his doggie bed or crate in the living room of your old home, do so in your new one. This keeps his routine consistent, even in a different space.
If Fido is moping around his new home, having potty accidents or being destructive, avoid punishing him for this behavior, which may make him uncomfortable in his new environment and afraid of you as well. Instead, reward him when he's behaving in a happy or calm way with attention and treats. Walk him around his new neighborhood, rewarding him with treats along the way and slowly introducing him to the new sights, smells, people and other dogs who live in the area. Establish a new potty spot for him outdoors that you consistently bring him out to several times daily to prevent accidents in the home; reward him when he eliminates outside.
Bring Fido to the vet if any behavioral issues develop and last for more than a few days after coming to your home. Your vet can rule out a medical condition for any unusual or destructive behavior. Keep a positive attitude and demeanor around your dog during your move and when setting up your new home. Canine companions pick up on the emotions of their caregivers and may become anxious if they sense you are stressed out. Further diminish his anxiety by using a synthetic dog pheromone spray around your new home to put Fido at ease and get him used to his new environment.
- American Association of Retired Persons: Help Your Pet Adjust to a New Home
- Golden State German Shepherd Rescue: After You Bring Your New Dog Home -- The Adjustment Period
- Best Friends Animal Society: Rehabilitating Your Rescued Dog: The Positive, Gentle and Kind Way
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Adult Dogs: Adjusting to a New Home
- Petfinder: Tips for the First 30 Days of Dog Adoption
- Petco: Moving Your Dog to a New Home
- ASPCA: Re-homing Your Dog
- Martha Stewart: Moving Pets into a New House
- Oregon Humane Society: Moving -- Tips on Making a Safe and Smooth Transition for Your Pet
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images