Adopted a dog from the shelter? Here's how to get them settled in


  • Animals
  • Monday, 29 Oct 2018

Photo: PAWS/Leong Chia Ern

If you adopt an adult dog from a reputable Malaysian pet shelter or pet rescuer, your pet will be neutered/spayed, vaccinated and flea-free. However, shelters are stuffed to the gills with animals, and your pet will likely be a little stressed.

Think of it as being jailed along with hundreds of others, all of them yelling and shouting 24/7. That kind of environment would stress the calmest person in the world, and pets are no different.

So, when you get home, here’s how to help your new family member settle in.

1. Allow your pet to settle in quietly by himself or herself. That means leaving them to sniff over everything and explore.

2. Don’t yell. Your pet has been moved about from pillar to post, and doesn’t really understand what’s going on. So if they do something “bad” like chew a chair or pee, forgive them. You’re talking to a tiny baby. Be patient.

3. In the first few weeks, you may have accidents, even with an older, house-trained pet. Strange food, strange smells, strange people – your pet may be anxious and, just like us, that can mean an upset tummy or nervous bladder.

4. Animals are short but they do not live at ground level. Dogs may jump up on a sofa, cats will go all the way up shelves and cabinet tops. You may have some rules about no-go areas later on, but in the settling in period, let them investigate their new home.

5. Plan for a lot of quiet time. Sitting on the sofa together, quietly chatting and patting, is the best thing for bonding. Or if you have a big dog, lie on the floor together. Gentleness and love now will be repaid a thousand times in your future relationship.

6. Ask visitors to hold off. While it’s tempting to show off your lovely new pet, they need to get to know you first. Have a fortnight or so of getting to know each other, and introduce friends and family slowly.


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