If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed about your decision to adopt a rescue dog, this guide is for you. We will tell you all that you can expect when adopting a puppy or a dog from a dog shelter. Use this ‘bringing home a rescue dog’ advice guide to help you and your new pet settle in comfortably.
Questions to ask when adopting a rescue dog-what to look for when adopting a dog?
- What is the dog’s history? This will help you find out why the dog ended up at a shelter.
- Does the dog have behavioral/medical issues?
- Is s/he house-trained?
- Has s/he been spayed/neutered and vaccinated?
Adopting a dog from a shelter
An animal shelter run by your local town office or government is a great place to adopt a dog from. It is a good idea to visit the dog several times at the shelter before bringing her home. Some rescue dogs can have emotional or behavioral problems. By visiting the dog several times, you can make sure that the dog is friendly and healthy. Adult dogs are a lot easier to handle as they are more likely to be toilet and house trained. If you are bringing a rescue puppy, then you will need to train it to pee and poop outdoors. Here are some important tips to note when adopting a rescue dog the first seven days:
Choose a good name
The best name for a dog is something short and can be said quickly. Avoid names that rhyme with training words such as “Kit” (sit) etc. Check out our dog Naming section for great name ideas for your rescue dog. You can also consider microchipping your dog for identification.
Schedule a vet visit
This is the first thing to do before bringing home a dog from a shelter. Make sure your pet is healthy and vaccinated. Talk to your vet about a vaccination schedule. Deworm your pet and ask your vet for advice pertaining to food, supplements etc. Your vet will also be able to guide you as to how long it takes a rescue dog to adjust.
Invest in right accessories
You need to buy some basic gadgets, tools and accessories before you bring your rescue dog home from the shelter. Some of the important accessories you need for your dog include belt/leash, collar, ID tags, tick and flea sprays/powders and shampoos, grooming combs and brushes, nail files, clippers, chew toys, dog beds, dog house, dog food, feeding bowls, seat belt for car journeys, harness etc. You can also ask for advice about tools and accessories to invest in when adopting the dog from the shelter.
Get started with crate training
If you are planning on using a crate, make sure to use it right from day one. You can also use a box for puppy. Some puppies and adult rescue dogs with psychological issues could have separation anxiety. So you may want to keep them close to you at least the first seven days while they settle in. So place a box or crate in your room at night and allow them to sleep in your room. However, you should eventually be able to move the box farther and farther away until your dog can comfortably sleep outside your room or wherever you want it to sleep.
Allow the pet to explore/puppy proof your property
Puppies are very inquisitive. So make sure you allow the puppy to explore its abode. Do ensure keeping the home safe for the new puppy. Adopting a rescue puppy is very much like having a toddler in the house. So make some changes to your home so that it is safe and secure before bring home a rescue dog or puppy.
Leave it alone from time to time
In the first seven days to two weeks post adoption, your dog might not want to leave you. However, you must make it get used to the fact that you will eventually have to go out to work etc. So leave the house frequently for short periods. Once the puppy or adult rescue dog is used to shorter departures, prolong them a bit. You can try leaving the radio or TV on in case your dog whines or cries. Ignore its begging and pleading eyes when you are leaving. Play some music-Research has shown that dogs and puppies become calmer when you play classical music.
Establish ground rules early on
As a part of training your rescue dog, you must establish some rules early on. For example, if you do not want the pet in your bed, then do so from day 1. If the puppy tries jumping on the bed, rebuke it. Also reward good behavior to reinforce the same.
Set a routine
The sooner you set a walking, feeding and resting schedule, the easier it will be for you and your pet. Walk your dog at least 2 times a day. Feed them at regular times. Make sure the meals are high quality.
Teach dog basic manners and tricks
The sooner you start teaching your rescue puppy some basic manners like greeting guests politely and sitting patiently for food etc, the better it will be. Reward your puppy for good behavior. There are many healthy treats available for dog training which you can utilize for training purposes.
Never feed scraps of food at the table when you and your family members are eating. This will encourage begging.
How long does it take for a rescue dog to adjust?
Depending on your rescue pet’s age, history and health, it can take variable periods of time for it to adjust in its new home. The first night your pet might feel very insecure as it might miss its litter mates. So comfort the dog and talk to it in soothing tones. Give the dog some time. Some older dogs that have been re-homed several times can take longer to adjust and could even show aggressive behavior. Therefore, it is very important to know the dog’s history so you can objectively consider whether you are right for the dog.
We hope that this brief guide helps you know what to expect when adopting a rescue dog.