Home
Guest Posts
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Bringing Home Your Rescue Dog

Every time I bring a new dog into my home, I realize I go through the same emotions: excitement, expectation, love, fear, confusion and eventually calm. It is a rollercoaster made more difficult by the fact I tend to bring home shelter dogs that often turn out to be not quite the dogs I thought they were. Few things are more rewarding than being able to adopt a rescue dog; though they often do come with some unique challenges.  Their lives have been turned upside-down, they are scared and are often coming out of a situation that was intimidating and uncomfortable. When you bring them home, be prepared for the transition period. It can take rescue dogs days to months to realize they are in a safe and loving environment. After working through it myself and talking numerous clients through adventures with new dogs over the years, the following are some lessons learned.

Get your house ready. Pick up all the things you love most and put them away in a safe place for a few months. This will set you and your new dog up for success. You don't know if you are getting a dog that loves to chew, and often you may not know until they truly get comfortable. Keep your clothes, shoes and other cherished items off the floor and out of reach.

Use a crate. Even if you work from home, eventually there will come a time when you need to leave your new dog home alone. Crate training your new dog is one of the best ways to ensure that upon your return, the house will be intact and your pup will be safe.

Buy different types of toys. There are many different toys available to add entertainment and stimulation into dogs’ lives. Stock up on safe toys for your new dog to chew that can stand up to intense chewing. You also may want to try stuffed animals, squeaky toys or interactive dog toys. Be sure to keep a close eye on your dog whenever you introduce new toys. Determine if the toy is right for your dog before leaving him unattended.  No toy is indestructible!

Remember, your new dog is adjusting to a major life change and is bound to be a bit unnerved. There are also many things you can avoid doing in an effort to make his transition easier. 

Don't plan on running out to the closest dog park or dog daycare the week you bring him home.  Realize that your dog needs time to adjust and you need time to learn what your new dog likes and wants. Give yourselves a month together to explore his personality so you can find situations that will work best for your dog.

Try to plan on having your dog in your home for at least a month before taking any trips that will call for him to be boarded. If you know you have a big trip in the works, wait until after the trip to look for your new family member. This will allow you and him time to bond and learn to trust one another.

Realize that your dog is likely to change a lot over those first few months after you bring him home. As dogs get more comfortable in an environment their true selves start to shine thru. Take the changes as they come and remember that this is their way of showing that they know they are home to stay!

---

Kim Hormby provides strategic consulting services for pet business owners interested in improving or starting a pet-related organization. She is also the owner and founder of Stay Pet Hotel, a boutique hotel for dogs in Portland, Oregon.

 

 

Print|Email
CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by Alexsandra Kyle | August 31 2013 |

My rescue dog looks JUST LIKE that dog you have in the picture!! I got her from the Humane Society back in February. She's 10 1/2 months old now.

Submitted by Pam McQuade | September 4 2013 |

I have worked with many basset hounds, fosters and adoptees. While it is true that initially they may be more work, they will always love you and appreciate your home, because you took them in and helped them when they really needed it. I find that it may take as much as a year for a dog to be fully settled in the new home, depending on what it's been through--for many it takes much less time. But after a year, they know the ropes and know you will not desert them.

Submitted by Bev | September 5 2013 |

I had a rescue dog and it took him months to realize that he was now in his forever home. Best. Dog. Ever. May my little love, RIP. I miss him so much still.

More From The Bark

By
Julia Kamysz Lane
By
Julia Kamysz Lane
By
Florence Ion
More in Guest Posts:
Zoo Baby: Part 3
Pet Loss Research:
App Review: Dog Decoder
Home-Schooling for Dogs Could Be Catching On
Wisdom Has Gone to the Dogs
Pub Dogs
Zoo Baby: Part 2
Rufo's Story
Canine Urination 101: Handstands and Leg Lifts Are Just the Basics
The First Canine Laryngectomy