Giving a shelter dog their forever home is a great thing. But, in the first 30 days after adoption, it may not quite feel that way. Dogs, especially ones with unstable pasts, respond to changes in their environment in some weird ways. And it may be weird for you to adjust your daily schedule to a new dog. If you make it through these first 30 days and establish the routine that you want, you’ll find that you and your new pet settle in just fine. Here are some tips to help you use those first 30 days to set yourself and your dog up for success.

Establish the Rules Right Away

If you won’t allow your dog on the couch, sleep in the bed, or eat from your plate, be extra vigilant not to let them do so in the first 30 days. During this period, your dog is looking to understand the rules of the new environment that they are in. And once they know the rules, it is harder to change them. So, make sure your dog gets the same consistent set of rules from the moment that they walk in the door.

Be Patient with Odd Behavior

Your dog is in a whole new world, and they aren’t quite sure if that world is safe yet. As a result, many dogs act a little differently than they did in the shelter. You may find that your dog is suddenly shy and hides away from people, other pets, and anything new. Or, you may find that your dog is suddenly more boisterous. He or she marks things and investigates everything. It is also not uncommon for dogs to temporarily lose some of their potty-training skills. All of these behaviors will get better with time as your dog adjusts.

Call the Vet If Needed

It’s not uncommon for a few health-related issues to crop up in a dog’s first 30 days. Commonly, the stress of moving and getting on a new food is too much for a dog’s digestive system. Your new dog might also have some symptoms that you’ve never seen before in a dog. You don’t want to be popping in and out of the vet’s office all of the time for these early and (usually) harmless concerns. We suggest you give your vet a call instead of booking an appointment. They can walk you through whether you need to come in, and what symptoms might mean you need to call back and reassess.

Create Security and It Will Work Out

This period of transition is hard on a dog, even though they will end up much happier once they adjust to your home. Focus on making sure that you’re providing a consistent and safe environment with a consistent schedule, and your dog will adjust faster. The biggest things that can undermine your progress are changing rules or a changing environment.