Bringing home your new Companion

Congratulations on taking a new pet into your home and into your heart! It is really important to remember that every animal is different.  It is completely normal for it to take days or weeks for your pet to adjust to their new environment.  Here are some tips to help you with the transition.

Your New Kitty Companion

What to do after adopting a cat, Father Johns Animal House

Crate In The Car:  Unlike dogs, most cats do not enjoy a car ride.  For everyone's sake, do not let your new kitty free-roam in the car.  They will be so much more comfortable in a crate with a nice warm bed. 

A Starter Room: You may have many, many years with your cat.  So taking a couple days to let them get as comfortable as possible is nothing! It is a good idea to pick a room that is away from all the hustle and bustle to use as your starter room.  Put a litter box, places to hide, toys, a scratching post, food and water in this room.  Be sure to go in their room to spend time with him/her often.  Get the whole family to introduce themselves slowly to the new cat.  Be sure to give lots of love and treats!

Introducing New Family Members: If your new cat will be coming to live with your other cats, keep them fully separated at first with the new cat in the starter room.  Keep them separated for a week or two.  This time period will be perfect for the new cat to come to know and trust you as well as give your other cats the chance to realize they are still being loved with the smell of a new cat in the home.  Once the new cat is trusting you, try these next steps:

1. Switch the sleeping blankets between the resident cats and the new cat.  You can even put the opposite sleeping blankets under the food bowls of the other cats.  This will start them getting used to each other's scents as well as make their scent a positive thing.

2. Put the new cat in a carrier and allow the resident cats to sniff all over the starter room, on their own terms.

3. Finally, confine all the resident cats in a room.  Then allow the new cat to explore the rest of the home.

Going Outside: We believe that all domestic cats should be kept as indoor-only cats.  A good alternative to having an indoor/outdoor cat is to build a catio.  A catio is an escape proof enclosure that you can either hang off the side of your home with a window as an entrance or you can buy one that is free standing.  Another alternative is to buy a cat harness and leash.

Keep Things Interesting: Cats are incredibly intelligent creatures who need mental and emotional stimulation.  Interact with your cat often.  Look up tips on how to train your cat to do different commands.

Your New Doggie Companion

What to do after adopting a dog, Father John's Animal House

Be Patient: Every dog has the potential to be an absolutely amazing companion.  Learning takes time and for some it takes more than others.  Remember what your dog has been through up until this point and be willing to work through some of the small issues you may run into. It will take time for you to get to know them and for them to get to know you.

Keep Things Positive: Dogs have been shown to learn at a much faster rate when they are in a loving environment.  Find what motivates your dog and use those things to shape their behavior.

Introducing The Dogs: If you have a dog already at home, although your dog may have met the new shelter dog, it is important for them to meet on neutral ground before heading into the home together.  Go for a long side-by-side walk.  Do NOT walk them right up to each other.  Walk them parallel to one another with about 10 to 15 feet of space between them.  This will encourage their companionship and let the excitement of the new dog ware off. 

Prepare Your Home: It is your responsibility to keep dangerous or valuable things out of reach.  Your new dog may be curious and inquisitive.  If it is something you want to keep out of reach, move it out of reach!

The Crate: Crate training can be a very useful tool, especially with  house training.  If you plan to crate train, be sure to have a crate that is just big enough for the dog to stand, lay down and turn around; no more, no less. If you are getting a puppy, you can buy a large crate and put a barrier in it so as they grow they get more space.  Dogs do not like to go to the bathroom where they sleep and this can really help you get your pup house trained.  Be sure to make the crate their favorite place with lots of good toys and treats.  Stuff a Kong with tasty food and freeze it.  Only give them the Kong in their crate! They will come to love their crate!

Consistent Rules: Being consistent is so important when reaching a dog.  Set rules as a family so everyone in the home is on the same page.  Try to use the same words and all have the same expectations for your pup.

Enrichment: Dogs are absolutely amazing animals!  Just like us they can get bored if under-stimulated.  Bored dogs tend to get into more trouble because they are looking to entertain themselves.  Be sure to keep your dog busy with new toys, new puzzles (look into buying toys that the dog must solve), and with lots of exercise.