A Newsletter and Resource Guide

“Before” You Add a New Family Member

I have had many calls recently with people at their wits end after bringing home their new companion animal. I also recently adopted a “rescue” dog and although we planned ahead, it is still a stressful time for the entire family.

Here are some of the basic things you need to take into consideration before bringing your new companion animal home:

1) Know the characteristics of the breed you are intending to get. Do your research thoroughly and understand both the good and the challenging aspects of the animal. Know what you are getting into!

  • Ask a behaviorist or your vet for information about the breed.
  • Consider getting an older animal as they often are easier to care for.

2) Call around to your local vets to find a good behaviorist or training support and be sure that they use a “positive only” management style. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions about their background and years in the profession.

  • You will want to have a consult “prior” to the animal coming to live with you and also regular follow-ups for support.This is vital if you already have animals and are adding a new one to your home.

3) Understand that the entire family must be on the same page with regard to training, rules in the home, words used for training and helping to exercise and care for your new companion.

  • Avoid giving an animal as a holiday gift. Instead, give an IOU and pick out the animal together when the family has “vacation time” to get adjusted and spend the time needed to have a successful.

4) Plan on not traveling or being away for 30-90 days to give the animal a chance to adjust.
5) Set up your house before the animal comes home. “Puppy proof” your home, even if you are bringing in an older animal. You never know their old habits.
6) Plan on keeping their routine very structured for at least 6 months until they adjust and completely understand the rules of their new home.
7) Keep the food the same for a few and when you do change it, do it slowly over a 7-10 day period so there will be no digestive/bowel issues.
8)For dogs, get them out to go to the bathroom every hour or two and then slowly stretch it out as they adjust to their new environment.
9) Remember that old habits or underlying issues often begin to show themselves as the animal settles into your home. Often this is at about 4-6 weeks after the animal arrives. Expect it! This is where animal communication comes in handy. We can find out the animal’s history and emotional issues. Flower essences will support this phase. Five Flower Formula and Animal Rescue Formula are essences I highly recommend using as soon as you bring the animal home.

Understanding what you are getting into will help alleviate disasters later. Remember that it is up to you to get your new animal companion acclimated to their new home and lifestyle. It’s your job to develop management strategies along with house rules and dog/cat rules so that your new best friend is set up for success as soon as they get to their forever home. This takes planning, support and a lot of work, but it is really worth it in the long run!

Finally, as you think about adding to your family, please save a life and adopt or rescue your next companion animal!

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