Clear the Shelter: Successful Integration of Your New Family Member

Today is national Clear the Shelter Day. For those who rushed to your local shelter to get a new pup, make sure to share your story online using #cleartheshelter hastag to spread the good news about adoption! In addition, make sure to read up – even before you get home – about bringing your new best friend home.

Decompression and Slow Introductions: Key to Success

Proper decompression time for newly adopted and foster dogs is vital to a successful and stress free integration of a new dog into your home. This article by Huffington Post titled Chill out! Decompression Tips for New Foster Dogs outlines the best steps in bringing your dog home for the first time, in additional to proper introductions to other pet family members.

One of the most commonly missed steps in bringing a new dog home is SLOW introductions to other dogs. In fact, did you know that TWO WEEKS is roughly the amount of time it takes before you should let two new dogs meet face-to-face? Many families unknowingly introduce dogs immediately, which can cause unnecessary stress and negative feelings between dogs.

Once your dogs are ready to be introduced, experts recommend taking the dogs together for a long walk, using two people so the dogs can be separated and redirected if need be. Taking dogs out of their potentially territorial environment, while wearing them out during a positive and fun activity, helps begin the bond of a forever-positive relationship. Trainers recommend every 3-5 seconds watching the dogs together, stopping any negative behavior, such as growing, BEFORE it happens, and rewarding the dogs with treats for any positive, short interactions.

Dog trainer Zak George also offers dog introduction tips in his YouTube video:

Hello, World!

So congrats to all the new adopters and dogs on Clear the Shelter Day - and on any other day throughout the year!