The honeymoon phase.

You’ve just made the wonderful decision to adopt a dog. The dog was laid back and sweet at the adoption event. You brought them home and things were going wonderfully, but what seems like overnight your sweet new companion is turning into a bit of a handful. Maybe they’re racing around with all the energy in the world, maybe they’ve suddenly become suspicious of new people visiting, or peer at new dogs with a new unfriendly attitude. This isn’t as uncommon as you think and you can blame the end of the honeymoon phase.

When you bring a new adult dog into your home, things get turned upside down for that dog. All the rules it had figured out before has changed. It’s going to be more reserved as it figures out this new world it’s in.

Think how when you move to work in a new job and you’re likely a lot more reserved around people until you get a feel for everyone. By the end of a month, you’ve likely made new friends, know who to avoid, and maybe even daring to clock in a minute late. Now that time to adjust is different for everyone. Some people on day 2 already have new best friends while others it may take the better part of a year or longer, this rolls over to dogs personalities as well.

So what to do about it?

Introduce rules and structure from the get-go. Build a clear line of communication that your dog understands. Be consistent in your expectations and actions. This is how trust and respect are built and allows a dog to relax in its new environment.

Give your dog a break to de-stress from the transplant. The first week I don’t put a lot of expectations on a dog. They get structured crate time and timeout with me where they’re leashed and just learning to hang out with me. I don’t expect them to be my new best friend overnight. We go by their timeline. Don’t smother a dog with affection, just being with them relaxed and enjoying each others presence is a big step in building a strong foundation.

(Think of the person at the office that tries to greet you with a big old awkwardly long hug on day 1. Don’t be that person. A handshake and a friendly hello. Start there.)

Introduce your dog to many new people early on. Build the social idea that we like people visiting. But don’t force the interaction. Like before just let them be exposed to a medley of new people with handshakes, not hugs. (Unless they’re the walmart greeter of labs and goldens. Then hug away. They are that guy.)

If you’ve just brought in a new adult dog to the house, please reach out for help.

If you’re in the Mansfield, Ohio area, just fill out our contact form to reach us or view our dog training programs