How to: Safely Bring Home a Rescue Dog

Congratulations on choosing to adopt a rescue dog! You have just adopted your new pup and he is now in his forever home, but your dog does NOT understand that yet. He/she is most likely confused, stressed out, and unclear of his future.  It’s a lot to take in even for the friendliest, most stable dog.  Here are some helpful tips to make this transition successful for everyone!

Plan Ahead

Have the essential supplies needed, including ID tags, a collar, leash and a properly fitting harness, food and water bowls and lots of toys. Chew toys like Kongs and antlers are great choices. Never give your dog rawhide bones as they are dangerous.

If you have kids, don’t allow them to hang on the dog, hug him, put their faces to the dogs face, etc. In other words, explain to your kids before the dog arrives that they need to him/her some space for a little while to adjust to their new home and the family.

If you have other pets in the home, keep them separated for the first 2-3 days. Remember, your new dog is stressed; meeting another dog just ads another layer of stress and can result in behavior problems, even if your dog is the most friendly dog ever or if the dogs have met before. Dogs are territorial and one might fight for attention, a toy or even food.  When you are ready to introduce them….

Let Your Newly Adopted Dog Decompress

All the surroundings, the people, and perhaps other pets inside the new home are new and confusing. Keep things quiet and calm, as tempting as it may feel, don’t invite all your friends to meet him. It’s important to give your new dog space to decompress. As the new pet parent, you should be prepared to help make the transition as comfortable as possible. It’s going to take both time and some patience.  Dogs need a period of time to decompress and get back to a calm state of mind, and the amount of time that requires can vary with each dog. At a minimum, expect it to take at least a full week.

Decide what space your new dog can have

Find a own quiet space where the dog can rest and relax and have their own quiet space away from family, friends and other pets.  Set up the crate ahead of time making sure it’s the appropriate size and has comfortable bedding. A Kong in the crate provides both comfort and some stimulation, and will help the dog pass the time while chilling out. Dogs are den animals and crated make them feel safe and more comfortable in a strange environment.

Your new dog should have some safe spaces in the home that he can retreat to. Prepare those ahead of time with gates and closed doors.  When you first bring in a new dog, keep the leash on him/her at all times or in their crate. Walk him around the home in his safe zones so he can learn the space and recognize the smells.  Never give your new dog free roam of your house when you first bring him/her home. During the first week it is important to give guidance, exercise – walking and playing – and bonding through quiet times together in safe places in your home and yard.

 

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