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How to Recognize Adjustment Problems in Your New Adopted Dog

Adopted dogs often make the transition to their new homes with only minor problems. Occasionally, however, adopted dogs suffer from more severe transitional issues such as anxiety, fear, and extreme hyperactivity.

You can address many of these behavioral problems simply by acting calm and not making a big deal about your dog’s behavior. He soon finds out that he’s worried or fearful over nothing. But sometimes, what you do at home just isn’t enough.

If your dog is suffering a serious transitional issue, you first need to have the dog checked by a veterinarian to be sure no health issues are involved, and if not, then seek the professional advice and aid of a recommended trainer who uses positive reinforcement.

After arriving in your home, you may see some indications that point to the need for professional intervention, if your dog:

  • Injures himself trying to get out of his kennel or out of the house.

  • Remains extremely hyperactive, racing around, barking, pacing, or panting, and won’t calm down after two hours, even after you’re calmed down and setting a good example.

  • Becomes aggressive and bites or snarls for any reason.

  • Shakes, shivers, and cries, and/or hides for more than a day, and you can’t coax him out of hiding.

  • Refuses to eat for more than two days (more than one day for puppies).

  • Has a seizure.

If your dog experiences any of these conditions, seek professional help. These conditions may mean your adopted dog needs a little extra patience and work, and in a few cases — not the majority, fortunately — dogs may never adjust and need to be returned.

Talk to your trainer about what to expect and whether other family members (children, other pets) can be in a dangerous situation because of your dog. But also know that most of the time, adjustment issues can be successfully resolved. With a patient and caring owner like you, your dog has a great chance of settling happily in and, with time, learning to trust, love, and thrive.

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