Let’s talk about decompression and what is best for your new pup!
When adopting a dog from a shelter, the first thing you want to do is provide freedom for them but what they really need is time and structure. Just like humans, change is a lot for a dog to process. When a dog is at a shelter they are on a strict schedule, have crate training, and are very slowly introduced to other dogs. By letting them run loose in the home and with your other fur babies, you unknowingly cause confusion for them which can lead to behavioral issues. We highly encourage following the 2-week decompression as it has proven to be very successful. Some dogs may even take longer than 2 weeks and that’s okay!
When you adopt a shelter dog, you must be patient and provide structure for them no matter how much you would like to give them all the freedom they want. This is what is ultimately going to be best for your new dog down the road and will prevent any nervousness, reactivity, or any other behavioral issues from occurring.
Space, time, and patience will be extremely important during this time. Although you may want to cuddle with your new dog, take them places, show them off, etc… they need space! They need to relax and experience their new life from a distance. New places and new people may be way too overwhelming for your new dog. They need to develop trust and bond with you before being exposed to new things and this is best done by letting the dog be by itself and take in their new lifestyle. Be patient with your pup! If they have a bad initial reaction, it is probably from overstimulation and nerves. Please give them a chance to fully complete the 2-week decompression!
Crating is an extremely important tool during this time. Your new dog should be coming out of its crate for small amounts of time for interaction, potty, and playtime. Establishing that the crate is a “safe place” for your dog will also be a useful tool. The dog should stay on a leash at all times! This establishes a bond between you and the dog and also lets the dog know that you are the one in control of the situation.
Keeping your animals separate from your new dog might be the most important part of decompression. Meet and greets with your dog and your newly adopted dog should be done on neutral ground and should not allow too much interaction between them. For at least the first 48 hours of the adoption, the dogs should be kept completely separate… crate and rotate! Once it’s time for interaction, keep leashes ON! They should be getting only 10-15 minutes of interaction and ending on a good note… they should feel good about the interaction and not be overstimulated.
Every dog differs… but we promise this works! This decompression period is CRUCIAL to your new dog’s future. No matter how dog-friendly or easy-going a dog is… a slow introduction to your animals as well as giving them space and time is still very much necessary. We can not say this enough: follow the decompression, no matter the dog! Your dog’s happiness and well-being depend on it!