A DOG NEEDS TO DECOMPRESS MEANS…..
Providing the dog two weeks to “decompress,” you are allowing the dog time to see and hear you and the sounds and routines of your home and understand them as safe and normal. Here’s what we recommend:
Crate the dog in a room where he or she will stay.
Important rule most fail to understand is Leash the dog at all times when not crated. Yes, this means leash the dog to you in the house (this helps a lot with bonding too) and out in the yard (use of a long line is A-OK here). The dog needs to start learning that YOU are its everything. Letting the dog have full freedom of your home and yard is just telling him to do whatever he pleases, and right now, he doesn’t have that right because it’s YOUR house. You need to remember that so he learns to respect it.
Do little to no training at all. Interactions with the new dog at this point should be positive so as to strengthen the bond. This is another GREAT reason to have the dog leashed to you at all times because how can they get into trouble if they are right there with someone *ALL* the time?
No walks, car rides, pet store excursions, etc. UNLESS THE DOG IS READY. (Obviously, trips to the vet are excluded from this.) No walks? Yes, no walks. The dog can live for two weeks without going on a walk. Why? Walks provide an over abundance of stimuli and are VERY stressful, especially when the dog still has no reason to trust you.
Again, read Stacie’s original words on this subject: The dog may react to something and we may correct it with the leash. Well, now we have installed a VERY STRESSFUL moment to the dog on what should be a fun and learning walk. By doing the decompression, you teach the dog that YOU are the one to look to, that you are now here for the dog! He can trust in you and look to you for guidance. THEN you can venture out into new situations, one at a time, and the dog knows he can trust in his new humans and can relax under the fair guidance of his new leaders.
Allow the dog 20-30 minute intervals of time in and out of the crate, AFTER exercise/yard times. For instance, take the dog out for 20-30 minutes, then crate the dog for about 20-30 minutes. The dog is not crated for an excessive amount of time and still gets to learn you and the house hold. As time progresses and as the dog relaxes, the intervals can be increased to help the dog adjust to a more accurate routine.
Ignore crying and/or barking. If you run to the dog each time they bark, whine, or cry, you are teaching the dog that doing those things gets your attention. The dog must learn to be secure when you are not there.
If you have other dogs in the home, crating the dogs side by side will help them get used to one another but you still want to GREATLY limit any interactions for in the beginning. As the new dog begins to relax more and look to you more for direction, introduce the dogs/pets slowly. My personal recommendation is to keep the initial introductions VERY short, 10-15 minutes at a time. Supervise ALL the time with visual attention and focus, not just physical presence. Increase the time by small amounts daily.
You will notice a HUGE difference in your new dog within this decompression period! You will see a smile start to come out. You will see more goofy quirks come out. You’ll also begin to get a glimpse of behaviors you will want to correct with training. But, you will have a healthy start in training your dog because you’ve given the dog a chance to get to know you and trust in your guidance and direction!
The main point to remember: SLOW DOWN! Don’t push your new dog to accept many different things and give the dog the opportunity to get to know you. Taking it slow might seems like a slow start and may seem hard or tedious, but it is very short in comparison to the next 8 or so years you will have with your new companion! Set the right tone in the beginning and you will reap the rewards for the life of your relationship with your new dog.