Dear Miss Behavin’:

We have a newly adopted dog that is on the shy side and is not wanting to go out of the house.  What can we do to help him build his confidence and get him comfortable with leaving the house?

Congratulations on your new guy!  All dogs coming into a new home need some time to adjust and get an idea of what the rules and routine are for your household.  On average the newly adopted dog will take 1 week to feel comfortable, 1 month to know the daily routine and 3 months to be settled in with the family and know what is expected of them.  If we have a pup that is shy or fearful, this can take a little longer.

Give your pup a safe space that is out of the way so that they can retreat there if needed to relax and feel safe.  Be sure if we have kids in the home, that they understand that when the pup is there, they cannot bother them.

Set up a routine of feeding times, potty schedule and bed time.  Try to keep this fairly regular to start, this predictability will help them know what to expect and can help with some of their anxiety.  You can change it up down the road once your pup is more comfortable.

Make training fun by teaching tricks and playing games with your pup to build on their confidence.  Once your pup has mastered tricks in the home take the fun to the yard.  You can practice your leash walking skills in the house or yard to get your pup adjusted to the leash and outside.

Be patient with your pup and if they are having problems with some of the house rules, show them what you would prefer they do rather then what they are doing.  If they need some extra time give it to them.

If your pup is still having problems adjusting to your home or you would like extra help, you can schedule a 1:1 Consultation with one of our behaviorists or call our Behavior Hotline.

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