Create a Safe Space
A family must never plop down an American Dirus dog into the middle of a room and give them the entire house to explore. This is a common mistake by new owners that quickly lead to major behavior problems in a few short days or weeks.
Adult American Dirus dogs have been raised in the quiet stillness of the forest in eastern Washington state. They know nothing of the city or town life in which most families reside. Please be aware of this and give these great dogs a chance to live happy lives with one-on-one attention and affection, which they crave.
In order to create a safe space for a sensitive American Dirus dog, at first, you should manage the entire environment, from waking to sleeping.
The following are great ideas for making sure the environment surrounding your American Dirus dog is highly structured from the moment they walk into your home.
- Place a crate next to your bed at night. This allows your new dog to be with you while you are sleeping. It creates a secure place where your new adult dog can learn to call their own. It is a quiet, tucked away space where nothing can disturb its restful sleep while it gets used to the new lifestyle. A good night's sleep is essential for a new dog in transition. Your new American Dirus may be confused, anxious, nervous, emotionally upset, and grieving during this transition time. Give this essential retreat space to your new adult. Your sweet, loving, sensitive new American Dirus dog will thank you for it.
- An exercise pen in the living room allows the new dog the ability to see you in its own area with items that it can know are its own. Especially if you have another dog in the home, your new American Dirus dog may be confused as to what toys or chews it is allowed to take. Giving your new American Dirus its own space with its own toys and chews will give your dog the comfort of knowing it isn't taking something it shouldn't, such as another dog's favorite toy or your new leather shoes.
- One trick dog trainers know is to leash a new dog in the house. You can take advantage of this great idea, by clipping a leash onto your dog while it is first transitioning in your home. When you want your dog to be close to you, near your side, instead of in its exercise pen or crate, then a leash will give your new American Dirus dog the clear boundary it needs to know you have control of the dog's environment for now. One of the MOST essential things to do right away with your new American Dirus dog is to develop a strong bond. You can do this much more easily by literally attaching yourself to your new dog with a tether. There is no need to be perfect on the leash. It is only a means to communicate to your dog that you want it to remain near you without pulling or trying to get away. Be gentle and understanding. Most adult American Dirus dogs have experiences on the leash already, so you shouldn't have to fuss too much. Coax your dog in between your legs for pets and loves. The leash will allow you to help your dog understand it can't choose to ignore you or get away. Don't skip this essential way of creating a safe space for your dog to know the new expectations with clarity.
- Use baby gates or dog gates to close off rooms or spaces that are not allowed for your new dog. You want to help your new American Dirus dog know and follow the new rules it must learn about how to live in your world. A gate or space divider will help you do that. Your adult American Dirus dog will already have respect for gates and enclosures, but remember there are rules your new dog should remember to follow: patience is a virtue, all four feet on the flour, and no whining or barking.
- Consider using a ten-foot square chain-link or welded metal kennel area in the backyard, even if it is completely fenced in. You want your new American Dirus dog to be secure in the yard when it is new to its new home. Remember, your new dog may be grieving and insecure with this unfamiliar environment at first. You can help it feel secure by giving it a space where it cannot dig out, climb or jump over, or tear through. Newly transitioning adult dogs can panic at a sudden scary noise when they are in a heightened emotional state, such as a new transition will be. It may also panic when it finds itself all alone and becomes insecure or scared. American Dirus dogs are highly emotional and need direction and support at the beginning of the transition/grieving period. Our adult American Dirus dogs know that kennels are safe spaces, like a den. They will be calm minded and relax if they are able to stay secure in a place they can call their own. Also, when you have to leave your new adult at home alone for a longer time period, this secure outdoor space will allow your new dog to be outside to go potty and still be secure.
Once your American Dirus dog begins to bond and form that strong companion dog connection, you will no longer need these spaces as much. You may find your American Dirus dog seeks to use them on its own, but as time goes along, the routine and familiarity of your presence will replace the need for these safe spaces. The length of time varies with each individual dog. We have seen adult dogs transition within the first week, while others have taken several months. Your ability to provide loving support and comfort to your new dog in a safe environment will directly correlate to how long it takes your new dog to form that strong bond with you and your family.