A dog from abroad - that's a good start

How exciting, your new dog is moving in! If your four-legged friend comes from abroad, a big change awaits him. Everything is strange and unfamiliar to him. He is torn from his familiar surroundings and now has to completely reorient himself.

You will now find out how you can make the adjustment easier for both of you and prepare a good start.

The arrival of a foreign dog

Maybe you found your four-legged friend at an animal welfare organization. Maybe you brought it back from vacation yourself. However you got into the dog, one thing is important to understand: moving to a new country is very stressful for him.

He spent the first few weeks, months or years of his life under different climatic conditions. As a street dog, he had to buy his own food and may have had bad experiences with people.

Life in an animal shelter in southern Europe cannot be compared to what you know from Germany. Many dogs often live here together in large groups. They are usually cared for by a few people and have to share the scarce attention with their fellows.

What you should be prepared for with an animal welfare dog from abroad are the following points:

  • Changes in nature can occur.
    The animal welfare organization can only describe a snapshot. How the dog behaves in a home environment is usually not known.
  • Character
    You are also dependent on the assessment of the animal protection organization in relation to your character. Don't place any expectations on him. Better be open and ready to embrace the quirks of your new companion.
  • Mediterranean diseases
    In southern Europe there are diseases that do not occur in Germany, e.g. leishmaniasis.
    Due to the long incubation period, signs of the disease can only appear much later. Pay close attention to any physical symptoms and consult a veterinarian if necessary.
  • The weather
    Does your new furry friend come from a warm country and move in with you in winter? Then it may be that he freezes. You probably know from your own experience how uncomfortable that is. Therefore, protect your four-legged friend with an appropriate dog coat.

My two dogs are from Greece. Jule came to Germany from Crete 14 years ago through a club. I found Merle in Greece. She moved into our mobile home from one day to the next. In the near future I was required to have good observation skills in order to get to know them and to be able to assess them. Not only in relation to me, but also to Jule. From being housebroken to driving a car, Merle had to learn everything step by step.

What she cleverly hid from me in the first few days was her shrill voice. This only came to light after I was officially registered as its owner in the pet ID card. Thankfully, her charm makes up for her passion for barking.

The acclimatization of an animal protection dog

Despite all the joy about the new roommate, it is quickly forgotten that it takes a few weeks until he really settles in. You should be prepared for about six to 12 weeks. An anxious dog may take even longer to feel safe in a new environment.

Tip: Be sure to secure a scared dog with a special escape-proof harness.

Even if you would like to discover the whole area with your new friend right away, you should rather take it slow. What he needs most at the beginning is orientation and calm. He must have ample opportunity to digest the many impressions, and there are many of them.

For example:

  • New smells and sounds
  • New daily routines and walkies
  • New lining
  • New people, possibly also new animals

Maybe this is his first time living in a house. And walking on a leash or wearing a collar may also be new to him. The combination of all these factors means stress for your dog.

Some dogs are good at relieving stress by chewing. So offer your four-legged friend different chewing objects that he can occupy himself with. It is also important to have a retreat where he can stay undisturbed.

Less is more

Keep the first few days consciously quiet and avoid visitors. There is always enough time for that later. Only take your new dog for short walks and give him the opportunity to explore everything at his own pace. Walks of a maximum of 30 minutes are perfectly sufficient in the beginning.

You two still have plenty of opportunities for exciting excursions and entertaining activities. Don't put pressure on me to show or offer him everything directly. Just be there for him and get to know him - that's what your new friend needs most.