Provide Privacy and Quiet Space
Whether you’re adopting a cat or a dog, it’s going to take some time for him or her to get used to the new surroundings. Animals crave familiarity as much as humans do. And everything in your place just smells different than what they’re used to. It’s actually quite common for new pets to find a safe place to hide and only come out for food and water (or not even that for the first day or two).
You can make things easier for your pet by offering some privacy and peace and quiet. Cats are best kept to one room at first, where they have access to a clean litterbox and food and water. You don’t even need to take them out of the cat carrier. Instead, just open the door so they can decide when they feel that it’s safe to venture out.
Big dogs obviously won’t fit in a carrier, but you can still make them feel comfortable by giving them a safe corner to hide in. Leaving a cuddly blanket or a doggy bed in an area of the house that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic is perfect.
Leaving the shelter, riding in a car, and meeting new people at their new home can be really overwhelming for your new pet. Ideally, you should minimize his anxiety by keeping travel to a minimum. That means you need to pick up dog or cat food before you pick up your pet at the shelter, so that you can go straight home from there.
It’s also best if you can keep visitors away for a while. You’ll also need to tell your children to give the animal some time to get used to the home before they overwhelm it with love. Of course you can introduce them, but you should try to keep the kids calm to avoid scaring your new pet.
Depending on the age and general disposition of your pet, it can take some time for him or her to get used to your home and its inhabitants. Kittens and puppies are often more adventurous and will thaw out quicker. An older pet may be more cautious and take longer to feel comfortable. Fortunately, all kinds of pets will eventually adjust as long as you’re patient with them. All animals are inherently curious, and you won’t have to wait long until your pet starts exploring your entire home and making it his own.
Even if your pet hides in the corner of your house all day long, he or she still needs love and attention from you. Make sure to spend lots of time with your pet, such as petting him and talking to him quietly. He’ll learn that you’re not a threat and begin to trust you. Now is not the time to start dog training or discipline the animal if it did something wrong. Of course you can redirect his attention to a different toy if it chewed up your shoe, but it’s more important to build trust than to expect obedience at this point.
Stick to Routines
Dogs and cats like routines. Your animal was probably used to being fed at specific times of the day at the shelter. Dogs may also have their outside time scheduled. If at all possible, you should try to keep the schedule the same for a little while. If you don’t like those times, you can always change them later (by gradually adjusting the time about 30 minutes each day). If you can’t follow the shelter’s schedule because of work or other commitments, then you’ll just have to do the best you can.
Getting a new pet is exciting, so it can be kind of disappointing when your new pet is just hiding at first. But when you follow these tips and let your new pet set the pace, it won’t take long until you have made a new best friend for life.