Bringing home a new puppy or dog is a wonderful experience filled with love and joy. But it’s important to remember that it takes time for dogs to adjust to their new home and bond with you. As a pet parent, you want to ensure your new furry friend feels comfortable, secure, and bonded in their new home. There are several behaviours and signs you can watch for during the first weeks and months that will indicate your dog is settling in and bonding with you.
In this article, we’ll review the 7 key signs a dog is adjusting to a new home and family. From healthy eating and sleeping habits to signs of curiosity, playfulness, and affection, these are the signs that dogs show when they start adjusting to a new home. With proper attention, routine, patience, and love, your dog will soon be happily settled into your life.
How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Adjust to a New Home?
The time it takes for a dog to adjust to a new home can vary from one dog to another. Normally, it takes 2-3 weeks for a dog to adjust to a new home, but it can take up to 3 months for them to fully adjust behaviourally. Here are some general timelines that a new puppy or dog takes to adjust to your home:
The First Week
The initial adjustment period is the first week of bringing a new puppy or dog. At this time, your dog will be very nervous and cautious. Don’t force them to bond with you; give them a few more weeks to adjust.
After 2 weeks
After 2 weeks, your dog starts adjusting to your home environment since they become familiar with the surroundings. They begin learning your routines and rules. But the dog might still suffer from separation anxiety.
After 1 month
One month is a good evaluation time for your dogs to show adjustment signals. At this time, they become more comfortable with the layout of your home.
Within 3 months, your dog will be fully adjusted to your new home. They’ll start bonding with you and your family, obey your rules, and settle into a routine.
What Determines a Dog’s Adjustment to a New Home?
Some dogs adjust faster to your new home, whereas some might take more than 3 months. Here are several key factors that determine a dog’s adjustment to a new home:
Dog Breed and Behaviour
The dog’s adjustment time to a new home depends on the dog’s breed and their behaviour. Some breeds, like Labradors and Retrievers, are overall more adaptable to new environments. Whereas breeds like Chihuahuas can sometimes have a tendency towards anxious behaviour and they might need a longer time for adjustment. Also, the adaptation of dogs in a new home depends on their behaviour. Some dogs are curious and eager to explore their new environment. They will generally adjust faster than a scared dog.
Age and Previous Experience
The age and experience of your dog are also the key factors in how quickly they adjust to their new home. Puppies are generally curious and tend to adjust faster as they are still developing routines and habits. However, adult dogs may take longer if they have already established routines and behaviors from their previous environment.
Your Home environment
A comfortable and safe environment is essential for a dog’s adjustment to a new home. Providing appropriate food, water, toys, and mental stimulation helps to reduce your dog’s anxiety during the adjustment period. Your dog adjusts faster if its physical needs are met.
Health and Training
Physical health can also impact your dog’s ability to adjust to the new home. If your dog is healthy and eating healthy, it can adjust faster than an unhealthy dog with some underlying medical conditions requiring extensive treatments. Also, dogs with good obedience training often adjust faster. If you make sure the dog follows your basic command, it brings stability to them. It’s the same for children and people; some rules are necessary to fit into the environment and get on with others.
7 Signs that your dog is adjusting to a new home
Since the dog can’t tell you that they are adjusting to your new home. But there are various positive indicators from which you can tell they are settling into your new home and beginning to feel secure. These are 7 signs that a dog is adjusting to a new home:
1. Relaxed Body Language
You can tell from body language that your dog is adjusting to a new home. They seem more relaxed. Looking happy, resting comfortably, and loosening of the body are all signs your dog is adjusting well. Also, your dog will wag its tail faster when they see you because they feel comfortable and at ease. Whereas stiff body language can mean your dog is stressed and not adjusting well.
2. Healthy Appetite
A new puppy or dog that’s adjusting well will typically have a healthy appetite. If your dog is eating normally and shows interest in food, it means they are not too stressed. However, loss of appetite can indicate anxiety in your dogs.
3. Reduced Anxiety
When bringing a new puppy or dog home, they may show signs of separation anxiety like excessive panting and pacing. If they gradually start losing these habits, it is a sign that a dog is adjusting to a new home. But if these habits are not changed even for months, it shows that your dog is not properly adjusting to the new surroundings.
4. Exploration and Curiosity
As your dog becomes more comfortable, they seem curious and interested in exploring their new environment. This includes sniffing all the smells and checking new sights. When they adjust to a new home, they start investigating different rooms and showing interest in their toys.
5. Bonding with Family Members
Your dog will start to seek out your company and that of other family members when they become familiar with your home surroundings. They will follow you around the house, seek playtime, and show you affection by cuddling. This kind of attachment is a great sign.
6. Responding to their Names
Dogs are pack animals. So if your dog responds to you or comes when called, this indicates they are learning to see you as their “pack.” This is an excellent sign your dog or puppy is bonding with you.
7. Improvement in Sleep Patterns
The first few nights in a new home are stressful for your dogs. Slowly, they will develop the habit and start to sleep comfortably in their favorite spots. This sign is a positive indicator that your dog is settling into your new home. But even after months, if their sleeping pattern is not improved, it can be an issue.
How to Help Dog Adjust Faster to a New Home
Adjusting to a new home can be a challenging experience for your furry friend, but with the right approach, you can help your dog adjust to a new home quickly and comfortably. Here are some tips that can help your dog create a bond with you and adjust to your new home:
Give Your Dog Time to Explore
Don’t always put a leash on your dog. Let your dog sniff around their new surroundings and get to know their new home. This will help them to feel more comfortable and in control.
Create a Safe Environment
Give your dog a place where they can go to relax and feel safe. This could be a crate, a bed in a quiet corner, or even just under the table.
Maintain a Consistent Routine
Feed your dog or puppy at the same times each day and take them for walks on a regular schedule. This will help them to feel secure and settled in their new home.
Be Patient and Loving
Your dog may need some time to adjust to your new home. So, be patient with them and show them lots of love and affection. Don’t just punish them if they are unable to adjust to the new environment.
While every dog adjusts at their own pace, there are some signs a dog is adjusting to a new home. When your dog excitedly explores the new surroundings, seeks playtime, and seems interested in engaging with family members, these are positive signs they are growing comfortable. Establishing consistent routines, creating a safe environment, and showing affection can help your dogs adapt quicker to a new home. Allow at least 2-3 months for full adjustment.
As pet relocation experts, we are here to provide guidance and support during your dog’s moving transition. Contact us if you ever need a pet relocation service. Our goal is to make relocating your pets as smooth and stress-free as possible. We can’t wait to see your dog adjusting and enjoying their new forever home!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new home?
It typically takes 2-3 weeks for a dog to start adjusting to a new home, but it can take up to 3 months for full adjustment. Have patience.
What are some common signs my dog is getting comfortable in their new home?
Exploring spaces, playing with toys, having a good appetite, bonding with family, and relaxed body language are good signs that your dog is adjusting to a new home.
My new dog follows me everywhere. Is this a sign of attachment?
Yes! Dogs who follow you around are looking for security and trying to bond with you. This is a good adjustment sign. Being a pack animal indicates that you are also a part of their pack.
How do I know if my dog is comfortable with our other pets?
Signs like playing, seeking attention, eating near them, and not showing aggression indicate they are adjusting to new housemates.
Do dogs get stressed in a new house?
It's very common for dogs to experience some stress and anxiety when first moving into a new home. All of the new sights, sounds, smells, and environments are extremely unfamiliar to your dog at first. Any major change to their environment can cause stress on them.