Congratulations, you have decided to adopt and bring home a new furry member to your family. Adopting a rescue dog is a rewarding experience, and the journey ahead will be life-changing as you form an extraordinary bond together. However, it can be a very overwhelming experience for your pet as everything is new to them. But don’t worry, we got you covered with how to best prepare and acclimate your new rescue to apartment living. Patience, preparation, and consistency will take you a long way throughout this process!
Welcome, Home! – Designate a Safe Space
When arriving at the apartment, it will be tempting to allow your new best friend to have the freedom to explore around. However, creating structure is critical, and it is essential to let them adjust to their new environment at a slower pace. Take it easy the first few days and allow your dog to settle in. Show them where their food, water, toys will be, allowing them to see it as their safe place. A safe place can be a crate if you prefer, or set up a gate or pen in a room of your choice. If adopting a puppy, we highly suggest keeping them in an enclosed area at first. It will also make cleaning easier for you!
Pet-Proofing Your New Home
Make sure to pet-proof your apartment before letting your new best friend explore around. Coming to a new environment, they are naturally inclined to explore and may get into trouble without knowing it. Look around your entire apartment and make sure to put away items your new pet would find enticing to chew. Keep electrical cords and any small objects they could choke on out of reach. You want to make sure your apartment is baby-proof to be extra safe!
Establish a Routine
It is best to start a routine as early as possible involving feeding, walking, potty breaks, and playtime. Check out Petfinder’s tips for the first 30 days with your new rescue pet. This resource will help you create a fixed schedule to help your furry friend build the confidence to adapt to the new environment.
Unfamiliar Sounds and Sudden Movements
Your new pet will have to adjust to the different smells, noises, and sights they will encounter living in an apartment building. For rescue pets, this can be overwhelming. Be mindful of sudden movements and sounds in the hallways or when interacting with the concierge. Start by slowly introducing your dog to these sounds and stimuli together and always have treats on hand to reward good behavior!
Out for a walk
Setting up structured walks for your pet will be critical. However, living in an apartment building, you will run into other pet owners and their dogs. Practice the short leash rule when walking your dog to avoid unwanted interactions in the first few weeks until you see the dog becoming more comfortable. Make sure to invest in a harness that is best for your dog’s body type. Harnesses will guarantee a safe and secure walk providing you with the control needed. A good harness will also reduce pulling and jumping if that is a concern you need to address with your new pet. We also recommend avoiding retractable leashes so you can have better control and ensure the safety of your dog.
Additionally, be prepared when taking your newly adopted pet on the elevator. It can be a terrifying experience for a rescue dog. But don't worry, elevator etiquette and safety is our specialty, and we have an entire article dedicated to it for you!
Introducing to New Stimuli and People – Take it Slowly!
Living in a pet-friendly apartment comes with many amenities such as a dog park and access to doggy socialization events, but avoid going to the dog park the first few weeks to learn more about your pet before rushing to socialize them. Instead, enjoy the one-on-one time to get to know each other. Going at your dog's pace will set both of you up for success.
If you’re a first-time pet owner, be sure to familiarize yourself with dog body language. You will better gauge signs of stress in your pet and help take control of situations in advance. When the time does come to socialize your dogs within your apartment building, be sure to check out Socializing Your Dog Within your Apartment Building. Your newly adopted pet will appreciate making friends when the time is right.
Practice Patience, and you will be Rewarded
We hope these tips help make it a little easier for your rescued pet to adjust to living in a new apartment. Some dogs take a while to adapt to their environment, and that is okay. Remember, patience and consistency are vital in helping your rescue pet adjust to the new environment. Make sure to follow @BarkBuildings on Instagram for more tips!