Animals in shelters are undergoing considerable stress. They may not be used to cages or other animals. They are missing their old territory, and in many cases, their loving owner who had to give them up. They may have been moved from their home, to the shelter, and now to a new home all in a very short time. Think of how moving is stressful for you and how hard it is to lose so many familiar things. The animals are experiencing the same thing. They may need extra patience, assurance, and guidance. They may need your presence more than other animals who have come into your home.
woman holding a kittenBonding with your new pet is very important so spend as much time with her as you can. Play with her and be with her as she explores her new surroundings. Have her sleep in the same room as you. If your new pet is a dog, have her sleep in a crate next to the bed, or tied to the bed with a short rope.
Having a crate for your new pet is a good idea. You may think, 'but she has been caged in the shelter; I do not want to cage her again.' A cage in your home will be more like a den to your new pet and keep her safe while you are not around to monitor her activities. Some animals may find the space of a whole house overwhelming and find comfort in a small cozy place they can call their own.
Depending upon the physical condition of your new pet, special nutrition may be necessary. Some animals may be too fat, others too thin. Some may have had very poor nutrition in their previous home. Ask the shelter what they fed your new pet and continue feeding that for a week or more as your new pet adjusts. Then if you want to change the diet, do it slowly.
In most cases, the shelter will try to bathe and groom your pet before you receive him. They may have limited time and facilities, however, so you may need to spend more time grooming your pet at first. Make it a happy and fun time. It will be a good time for you to bond to each other.
Take training slowly. Your new pet has a lot of adjustments to make. Train with patience, affection, and quiet firmness. Consistency is very important. Be sure you, and all family members, use the same commands in the same manner.
There are many books available for sale and in the library that provide excellent information on adopting and raising animals from shelters. It is well worth your time to read these - even better if you read them before the adoption.