Five Top Tips for Bringing a Rescue Dog Home
Providing a rescue dog with a new home is a fantastic thing to do. It’s truly life-changing for the dog, and it’ll mean years of loving companionship for you and your family. This isn’t a guide to getting free puppies but this applies to dogs of all ages.
But it’s important to know that it’s going to mean some significant changes to your routine when your new dog comes home. It’s also likely to take a few months before everything falls into place and you all understand each other. That said, there are some things that you can do to make this transition period as easy as possible for everyone.
1. Think about house rules
Life is much easier for your dog when rules are consistent. It’s pretty confusing and unfair to allow a dog to do something one day and to then tell them off for precisely the same thing the next.
So, that means, for example, that if you would prefer your dog not to go on the sofa, then you should introduce that rule from day one. Do make sure that everyone in the home knows what the rules are and agrees to follow them.
2. Allow time for decompression
Kennel environments can be challenging for many dogs. Despite the best attempts of the staff, the noise and other dogs can mean that stress levels can be high. Then coming into a brand-new environment with people they don’t know coupled with a new routine can be a difficult transition.
That means that your new rescue dog needs time to chill. You can do this by asking for as little from your new arrival as possible. Many dogs will spend a lot of time sleeping in those first few days. So, you can help them by providing a quiet area in which to sleep, easy access to water, and then ensuring that they don’t get interrupted while resting.
3. Carefully supervise children and your new dog
Children and dogs always need to be supervised, but extra care needs to be taken during this initial period while everyone is getting to know each other. Right now, you may know little about your dog’s background and how children have treated them in the past. If there is a history of teasing or rough handling, then your dog may be reluctant or worried to interact with your children.
Make sure you discuss this with your youngsters before collecting your dog. That way, they’ll understand why it’s so important for them to be extra careful until everyone gets to know each other.
4. Avoid visitors for the first week
When news gets out that you have a new dog arriving, then your pup loving friends and family may be really keen to come round and meet your new arrival. But remember that this is during your dog’s decompression period, so it’s going to be important to ask them to just wait a little bit longer for that first meeting.
Then make sure that you schedule visits so that your dog isn’t suddenly overwhelmed with having to cope with lots of new people. This isn’t the time for a family get-together or a big celebration party!
When visitors do arrive, ask them to allow your dog to approach them in their own time instead of the visitors rushing over to say hello. Again, you may not know much about your rescue dog’s background. That means, for example, that you’re not going to be aware if they are likely to become worried by someone with a walking stick or a motorcycle helmet.
Taking it slowly allows everyone to get to know each other without your dog becoming anxious
5. Don’t feel rushed to go out for a walk
Taking the dog for a walk is one of those things that we all look forward to doing. But as long as you have a backyard or garden for them to toilet in, then there can be some real advantages to just holding back for a couple of days.
First of all, it gives you both time to get to know each other. Trust starts to be built, and you can develop your predictability of being the source of amazing treats. You’ll also be able to see if your new arrival knows any behaviors. So, that might be things like sit and down.
Leading on from checking if your dog knows any behaviors, there is also the possibility that they have never been on a leash before or even gone on a walk. Sadly, many dogs spend their lives in the backyard and never get the opportunity to venture out, which means no leash training. By taking your dog out to the toilet on lead, you’ll get to see how they cope with being restrained in a safe environment.
When you do go out for a walk, make sure that your dog is wearing a three-point harness rather than just a collar. These types of harnesses are near impossible for a dog to slip out of, and with so many rescue dogs getting loose in their first few days, they’re essential to keeping them safe.
Finally, take the time to find out where your new dog likes to be fussed using the three-second rule. So, that means stroke your dog for just the count of three seconds and then stop. Then watch what happens. Do they lean in for more, or do they walk away? Carefully watching how your dog reacts to your attention will tell you whether it’s something that they enjoy or not.
With a little patience and planning, the relationship with you new rescue dog will be off to an amazing start!