When we bring a new dog into Forgotten Oldies Farm, they need to be in quarantine from the rest of the dogs for two weeks. Why? Because we don’t know if the new dog is carrying something infectious. Our dogs arrive from shelters, puppy mills, and private homes where they could have been exposed to all kinds of diseases, and additionally may not be vaccinated. They could be carrying kennel cough, parvo virus, or other serious issues. Because our residents are elderly, we need to be ultra-careful. So that the resident oldies do not catch anything, we keep the new dogs in quarantine in the finished basement. They have separate bowls, food, and bedding just to be on the safe side. The new dog has their own crate, a separate door to the outside, a comfy sofa to relax on, and lots of room to run around in.
But with each new arrival, we tend to forget just how challenging it can be to have resident dogs upstairs and a quarantined dog downstairs! It’s double the work and time. The new dog is usually pretty scared and needs to learn or relearn potty training. Cleaning up after them and just spending time with them to give them love is time consuming. This is time taken away from the resident dogs – and they know it! They are aware that a new dog has arrived, by the smells and possibly barking. It creates a bit of stress for the existing dogs. And then the fact that we’re not with them as much adds to the stress. Frequently, the resident dogs will regress with potty training, either from stress or due to marking behavior to show the new dog that this is MY home! And that adds up to more work for us. Lots and lots of time is spent cleaning when a new dog arrives.
The two-week quarantine is important not just for disease precautions. It’s a way for the new dog to decompress from the stress of coming into a new environment (especially if they were in a shelter or puppy mill) and to gradually become accustomed to the sights and sounds of their new home. Too much too soon is never a good thing when introducing a new pet to its new home, no matter if they are rescues or not. A slow introduction to the new home gives the dogs time to settle in and accept their new homes. Commonly called the Two-Week Shutdown, you can learn more about it in this video.