Dog Adoption Tips - Bringing Home a New Rescue Dog | Petfinder - Petfinder (2023)

Dog Adoption Tips - Bringing Home a New Rescue Dog | Petfinder - Petfinder (1)

Source: Thinkstock

(Video) Adopting An Undersocialized Rescue Dog Online Explained by Dog Trainer

Bringing home a shelter dog that you adopt may be a rescued stray or a dog that someone has voluntarily surrendered for adoption.

Whether he was born in the bushes behind the laundromat or an adolescent abandoned on the streets by his once-upon-a-time owner, the streetwise stray can be a real challenge to incorporate into your life. The famous “he followed me home, can I keep him, Mom?” canine is a special animal that needs time and space, patience, and understanding.

The first few days in your home are special and critical for a pet. Your new dog will be confused about where he is and what to expect from you. Setting up some clear structure with your family for your dog will be paramount in making as smooth a transition as possible.

(Video) DOG ADOPTION: How It Works + How Long It Takes

Bringing a puppy home, they need more than just a bed and a food bowl to thrive. They also need constant care and attention. While a puppy’s first night at home may require a lot of work initially, it’s well worth the effort down the road. Establishing good habits in those first weeks will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of happiness for you and your dog. Remember, you have a responsibility to help your puppy grow into a happy and healthy dog. Here are some tips for puppy care to help first-time dog owners get started:

Before You Bring Your Dog Home:

  • Determine where your dog will be spending most of his time. Because he will be under a lot of stress with the change of environment (from a shelter or foster home to your house), he may forget any housebreaking (if any) he’s learned. Often a kitchen will work best for easy clean-up.
  • If you plan on crate training your dog, be sure to have a crate set up and ready to go for when you bring your new dog home. Find out more about crate training your dog.
  • Dog-proof the area where your pooch will spend most of his time during the first few months. This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards; storing household chemicals on high shelves; removing plants, rugs, and breakables; setting up the crate, and installing baby gates.
  • Training your dog will start the first moment you have him. Take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use when giving your dog directions. This will help prevent confusion and help your dog learn his commands more quickly. Not sure which commands to use? Check out How to Talk to Your Dog.
  • Bring an ID tag with your phone number on it with you when you pick up your dog so that he has an extra measure of safety for the ride home and the first few uneasy days. If he is microchipped, be sure to register your contact information with the chip’s company, if the rescue or shelter did not already do so.

First Day:

  • We know moving is stressful — and your new dog feels the same way! Give him time to acclimate to your home and family before introducing him to strangers. Make sure children know how to approach the dog without overwhelming him. Go here for more on introducing dogs and children.
  • When you pick up your dog, remember to ask what and when he was fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part new food to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to half new food, half old, and then one part old to three parts new. For more information about your dog’s diet, check out our section on Dog Nutrition.
  • On the way home, your dog should be safely secured, preferably in a crate. Some dogs find car trips stressful, so having him in a safe place will make the trip home easier for him and you.
  • Once home, take him to his toileting area immediately and spend a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area and relieve himself. Even if your dog does relieve himself during this time, be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new home with new people, new smells and new sounds can throw even the most housebroken dog off-track, so be ready just in case. Need more housetraining tips? Check out our Dog Housetraining section.
  • From there, start your schedule of feeding, toileting, and play/exercise. From Day One, your dog will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Don’t give in and comfort him if he whines when left alone. Instead, give him attention for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly (Source: Preparing Your Home For A New Dog).
  • For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your dog, limiting too much excitement (such as the dog park or neighborhood children). Not only will this allow your dog to settle in easier, but it will also give you more one-on-one time to get to know him and his likes/dislikes.
  • If he came from another home, objects like leashes, hands, rolled-up newspapers and magazines, feet, chairs, and sticks are just some of the pieces of “training equipment” that may have been used on this dog. Words like “come here” and “lie down” may bring forth a reaction other than the one you expect. Or maybe he led a sheltered life and was never socialized to children or sidewalk activity. This dog may be the product of a never-ending series of scrambled communications and unreal expectations that will require patience on your part.
  • Keep him off balconies, elevated porches, and decks. Keep all cleaning supplies, detergents, bleach, and other chemicals and medicines out of the puppy’s reach, preferably on high shelves.
  • Remove poisonous houseplants, such as amaryllis, mistletoe, holly, or poinsettia, or keep them in hanging baskets up high, where your puppy cannot reach them.
  • Keep toilet lids closed, unplug electrical cords and remove them from the floor, and keep plastic bags and ribbons out of your puppy’s reach.

Following Weeks:

  • People often say they don’t see their dog’s true personality until several weeks after adoption. Your dog may be a bit uneasy at first as he gets to know you. Be patient and understanding while also keeping to the schedule you intend to maintain for feeding, walks, etc. This schedule will show your dog what is expected of him as well as what he can expect from you.
  • After discussing it with your veterinarian to ensure your dog has all the necessary vaccines, you may wish to take your dog to group training classes or the dog park. Pay close attention to your dog’s body language to be sure he’s having a good time — and is not fearful or a dog park bully. If you’re unsure of what signs to watch for, check out this video on safety at the dog park.
  • To have a long and happy life together with your dog, stick to the original schedule you created, ensuring your dog always has the food, potty time, and attention he needs. You’ll be bonded in no time! For more information on creating a feeding schedule for your dog visit How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?
  • If you encounter behavior issues you are unfamiliar with, ask your veterinarian for a trainer recommendation. Select a trainer who uses positive reinforcement techniques to help you and your dog overcome these behavior obstacles. Visit Dog Training for more information on reward-based training.
  • Bring your puppy to the veterinarian for regular checkups. Talk to your veterinarian about any signs of illness that you should watch out for during your puppy’s first few months.
  • Ensure Your Puppy Receives Proper Nutrition. Your puppy also needs complete and balanced nutrition to help him grow properly. In fact, the first year of his life is critical in ensuring the proper growth of his bones, teeth, muscles, and fur. As a growing animal, he’ll require more calories than an adult dog. Read the labels, and find a food that has been specifically created to ensure the proper balance of protein and fat for a puppy. Check the food package for the recommended feeding schedule and serving size. Never feed your puppy bones, table scraps, or big snacks in between meals.

Responsibilities for the Parents of the Newly Adopted Dog:

Courtesy of Rondout Valley Kennels, Inc. (Sue Sternberg suesternberg.com)

  1. Never, ever leave a child alone with your new dog. Not even for a second to turn your head and answer the phone. The type of relationship we see on TV between children and dogs is a fantasy, and not a reflection of what real dogs can be like with children.
  2. No one in the family should be encouraging rough play, wrestling, or the dog to play with his mouth on human body parts or clothes. This is especially relevant when an adult member of the household plays with the dog in this manner, because when the child next excites the dog, the dog may be stimulated to play in the same rough manner, thereby putting the child at risk for injury.
  3. Your dog should be fed his meals in an area completely protected from and away from children, as much for a bit of peace and privacy as it is to prevent guarding behaviors. The dog should also be fed portions that are quickly finished, so there is nothing left in the bowl for the dog to linger over and guard. Empty bowls should be taken up and put away, so the dog won’t consider guarding the feeding area.
  4. Most children are not bitten by their own dog, but by a friend or neighbor’s dog. This means two things: watch your own dog closely when your child has a friend (or friends) over. Many dogs will tolerate a lot from their own family’s child, but not tolerate a visiting child. Visiting children often do not behave as well as, or may behave differently from your own children, and could bother or provoke your dog. Consequently, if your child’s friends have dogs, you need to, (as a responsible parent) go over and meet the friend’s dog BEFORE you allow your child to visit their house. It is a good idea to see the size and general nature of your child’s friend’s dog, and check to see if the owner of this dog will allow unsupervised interaction between the children and the dog, to ask where and when the dog is fed, and to check if there are any chewable toys or bones lying around, and then to either request that they be picked up and put away while your child visits, or ensure that their dog has no possessiveness problems.

Dog Adoption Tips - Bringing Home a New Rescue Dog | Petfinder - Petfinder (4)

(Video) Woman Asks Shelter For Oldest, Most Overlooked Dog Shelter Workers Left Lost For Words

When to Phone the Shelter for Advice:

  • Any signs of physical rough play from the dog towards the child
  • Any signs of displays of rough, physical strength from the dog towards the child
  • Any growling (even during play)
  • Any snapping or nipping
  • Any humping or mounting of the child OR adults
  • Any avoidance or resentment of physical contact (dog backs off or leaves the room when child hugs or pets or gets close to your dog.)
  • Any signs the dog is afraid of the child (your dog backs away or tries to escape when the child appears or gets close.)
  • Your dog seems “jealous” of intimacy or physical affection between parents or especially between child and parent (the dog barks or cuts in between people during intimacy.)
  • Any signs the dog is guarding his food bowl, his bones, his toys, or “stolen” items (the dog may tense up, freeze, stiffen, growl, snap, show his teeth, snarl, or just give a ‘hairy eyeball’ to anyone approaching or coming to near his item.
  • Your dog seems out of control or disobedient and “wild” with children who are playing or running around.

Remember that with proper puppy care, your new pet will grow into a happy, healthy dog — and provide you with love and companionship for years to come.

FAQs

How long do rescue dogs take to settle in to a new home? ›

It can take a few weeks or even months for a rescue dog to adjust properly to their new family and surroundings. However, if you provide them with the love and attention they need, they should eventually feel right at home.

How do I get my rescue dog to settle in a new home? ›

The first few days with your adult rescue dog
  1. Tip one: Let them settle in at their own pace. ...
  2. Tip two: Avoid fussing them and don't force interaction. ...
  3. Tip three: Allow them to spend time in their den area undisturbed. ...
  4. Tip four: Start using food enrichment. ...
  5. Tip five: Keep walks short.

How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new dog? ›

It can take up to one month for an old dog and new dog to really settle in and accept each other's position in the pack. If you want a second dog, you need to be ready to commit to this process and not panic.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for rescue dogs? ›

Whether you rescue an older dog or a puppy, a lot of dogs tend to follow the 3-3-3 rule when getting acclimated: 3 days of feeling overwhelmed and nervous. 3 weeks of settling in. 3 months of building trust and bonding with you.

What should I do the first night with a new rescue dog? ›

Take your pup to her new sleeping space, which should be set up with a Kong, your old sweatshirt, and a bed for her. If she's not in a crate, I'd recommend putting up some dog gates to keep her in the general sleeping area. If she's sleeping in your bed, just close your bedroom door.

Where should rescue dogs sleep first? ›

Your Rescue Dogs First Night

A crate will keep them safe and out of trouble when you are sleeping. We put a crate in our bedroom for our new foster dogs to sleep, this helps the dogs feel more comfortable in the crate if they are not already crate trained.

How long does it take for a rescue dog to decompress? ›

It can take a shelter dog six to eight weeks or even more to fully adjust to a new home. Don't worry if their behavior doesn't fall into place right away. With love and patience, it will happen.

How can I help my scared rescue dog adjust? ›

Your best policy is to let him hide or to take him further away from the scary situation. Then, once he settles down, encourage him to approach as close as he is comfortable to what frightened him. Feed him a few treats and then leave.

What should I do the first week of rescue dog? ›

Adopting a Dog: The First Week
  1. Set limitations and boundaries during the first week.
  2. Keep your dog on a leash inside the house.
  3. Get your dog into an exercise routine.
  4. Resist the urge to spoil your dog.
  5. Give a refresher on potty training.
  6. Limit visits from friends and family members.
31 Mar 2020

Should I walk my new rescue dog? ›

Don't Walk Too Soon

Rescue dogs deal with a lot in the first few days after being adopted. Going on walks is one more thing for them to worry about. They're already forced to adapt to a new indoor environment, and for some, being introduced to new outdoor surroundings at the same time is too much to handle.

How do you make an adopted dog feel welcome? ›

So keep things as quiet and consistent as possible for the first week or more. Feed and walk your dog, and come and go from work around the same times each day. When you do leave home, consider leaving your dog with an enrichment item, such as a stuffed treat toy or puzzle food bowl.

Are dogs happier with another dog? ›

Dogs are social animals and usually happier around other dogs, but a second dog will never be a substitute for inattentive, absent or too busy owners.

How do you know if rescue dog feels at home? ›

A dog that feels comfortable around you will have a more relaxed body language, allowing you to pet them and play with them. According to the American Kennel Club, however, a dog that is cowering, lacking movement, or moving erratically could mean they are stressed, scared, or don't want to be touched.

How do you tell if a dog has imprinted on you? ›

Signs your dog imprinted on you.
  1. They follow you around closely.
  2. They mirror your behaviors.
  3. They follow your commands more readily than they do other people's.
  4. They check in with you frequently when in new environments or situations.
  5. They are constantly seeking out your companionship.
6 days ago

What's the 90 10 rule for dogs? ›

When it comes to where dog's get their daily calories, we recommend following the 90/10 rule: 90% of calories from a complete and balanced diet, 10% from treats! Treats can be considered the splurge, but more often, the actual act of giving a treat means more to the dog than the actual treat itself.

Should you rename a rescue dog? ›

“At most shelters, if an animal has a name you keep the name unless there's a good reason not to,” she says. Good reasons to change a pet's name include instances of past abuse. Shelters will also rename pets whose current name might prevent them from finding a forever home.

Should you sleep in the same room as a rescue dog? ›

You may prefer for your adopted dog to sleep in the same room as or near your bedroom for the first few nights. If you are using a dog crate you can move this to your bedroom and then gradually move them to another area of the house as they become more settled.

Should I put my rescue dog in a crate at night? ›

Put the crate in your bedroom or close to it when you start crating your dog at night, at least for a while. Rescue dogs are particularly vulnerable to feelings of isolation and fear, which they can experience if you put the crate too far away from you.

Should I let my dog sleep with me the first night? ›

Sleep in the same room for the first few nights.

For the first few nights, your puppy will need time to adjust to being without their mum. Wherever you decide to settle them in your house, it's a good idea to spend the first few nights in the same room with them so they don't wake up in a panic because no-one is there.

What do you do on the first day of a dog? ›

The first day

Keep your pup leashed, and lead them into the house for a tour of each room. Stay close to home and do not go out on any major excursions. Take your dog outside often for bathroom breaks, even if they were housetrained previously. Give your pup ample quiet time to acclimate to their new surroundings.

How long does it take to bond with a rescue dog? ›

Time to Adjust

You can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, three months (Drs. London and McConnell)1. We think of that first 3 days (at a minimum) as the initial “detox period” as the dog transitions from the shelter to your home.

Should a rescue dog be crated? ›

Crate training can be useful for your new rescue dog. Especially if you adopted a puppy or destructive dog, using a crate will let you provide a safe and secure place for him.

Do rescue dogs miss their previous owners? ›

It's perfectly natural for her to miss her previous owner. Sometimes, a dog who lost a previous owner might show signs of depression. These dogs need extra love and patience, just as anyone does after suffering a tough loss.

Do dogs remember you rescued them? ›

There's still no clear-cut answer as to what your dog is capable of remembering and what they're not, but all together, evidence shows rescue dogs can indeed remember certain aspects of their past lives.

Do rescue dogs get attached to one person? ›

Adult rescue dogs from difficult situations may be the most likely to over-bond to one individual in a new home. This might be the first person they developed a bond with. Or it could be the person who was least threatening, most sympathetic, or that gave them the most comfort (or space) when they needed it.

What is a 2 week shutdown dog? ›

The Two Week Shut Down is a time familiar to a dog's mind -- it mimics the whelping box when first born-when the puppy's eyes are not open and it relies totally on the mother's ability to take care of it. By smelling, sensing, and listening, the puppy starts his journey into the new scary world.

What happens in the first 24 hours with a new dog? ›

What to Know About the First 24 Hours with a New Puppy
  • The First 24 Hours Often Includes the Puppies First Car Ride.
  • Limit a Puppy's Space During the First 24 Hours with Them.
  • Puppies Can be Fussy During the Initial Kenneling and Crating.
  • Accidents May Happen - That's Ok.
16 Jun 2021

How can you tell if a rescue dog is happy? ›

Relaxed or Wiggly Body and Tail

When a dog is happy, their whole body and tail will look relaxed, and they quite often wiggle! A happy dog's whole body can wag along with their tail. A wriggling dog showing you their belly is likely to be a very happy and comfortable dog.

What is second dog syndrome? ›

In dogdom, there's a turn of phrase called, "Second Dog Syndrome". This describes the process of adding another dog to the home quite well, but not necessarily in a positive light. As humans, we are bound to forget all of the time and effort it takes to raise a puppy right.

Are 2 dogs easier than 1? ›

Having two dogs can feel like a lot of work sometimes, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. From easier training to better mental and emotional health (for you and your dogs!), to saving the lives of animals, there are so many solid reasons to adopt a second dog today.

Should my second dog be the same gender? ›

Gender: While there is no set rule that a female dog will be a better friend for a male dog, if you have never had two dogs at the same time it is generally easier and often safer to have dogs of the opposite sex. Same-sex combinations can be tricky to manage as dogs work out their dominance or pack order.

How do rescue dogs show affection? ›

Whether it's exercising together or teaching new skills, here are five ways to show your rescue dog you love them.
  1. Exercise together. ...
  2. Show physical affection. ...
  3. Give your rescue dog treats. ...
  4. Groom your rescue dog. ...
  5. Teach your rescue dog new skills. ...
  6. Enjoy your rescue dog.
4 Oct 2020

Why does my dog put his paw on me? ›

Conclusion: Pawing means your dog wants your attention. If your dog puts their paw on you while you're spending time together, it's likely an expression of affection or the gestural equivalent of “pet me more!”

Why do dogs stare at you? ›

Just as humans stare into the eyes of someone they adore, dogs will stare at their owners to express affection. In fact, mutual staring between humans and dogs releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone. This chemical plays an important role in bonding and boosts feelings of love and trust.

How do dogs pick their favorite person? ›

Dogs choose their favorite people based on positive interactions and socialization they have shared in the past. Like humans, dogs are especially impressionable as their brains develop, so puppies up to 6 months old are in their key socialization period.

How do I accustom my dog to a new dog? ›

Follow these steps for introducing dogs to each other.
  1. Find a Neutral Spot to Make Introductions. ...
  2. Watch for Positive Dog Body Language. ...
  3. Walk the Dogs Together. ...
  4. Allow the Dogs to Interact Off-Leash. ...
  5. Monitor Mealtimes. ...
  6. Give Each Dog Their Own Bed. ...
  7. Introduce Toys Slowly. ...
  8. Separate the Dogs When You're Away.
18 Mar 2020

Do dogs get jealous when you get another dog? ›

Introduction of a New Pet

Bringing home a new puppy or another adult dog can trigger jealousy in your dog, and they may show signs of aggression toward the new addition. Your dog might growl at the new dog, guard your lap, or try to get in between you and your new furry family member.

How do you know if dogs don't like each other? ›

Dogs don't have a form of verbal communication, so that means they will become physical in order to communicate their dislike for each other (which for us is a dogfight).
...
Here are some warning signs that two dogs don't like each other and may be confrontational.
  1. Non-reciprocal play. ...
  2. Growling. ...
  3. Rigid posture. ...
  4. Staring.
11 Dec 2015

How do you tell if dogs are bonded to each other? ›

Touching is a sign that animals not only get along well but also that they trust one another, said Nelson. "If they are sleeping with each other and snuggled up together — really truly making contact with each other — then that's an obvious sign that there's true affection between the animals," Nelson explained.

Will my dogs personality change if I get another dog? ›

A second dog could bring changes in your dog's personality. The two dogs could really bond and might prefer being together, ignoring you, except for food and treats.

Will my dog feel betrayed if I get another dog? ›

For example, if you get a new pet and start paying it more attention than your dog, the dog will not feel betrayed in the true sense of the word. However, it may show signs of distress and disappointment because it is suddenly being treated differently or being deprived of something it is used to getting.

Is it better to have 2 dogs than 1? ›

Having two dogs can feel like a lot of work sometimes, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. From easier training to better mental and emotional health (for you and your dogs!), to saving the lives of animals, there are so many solid reasons to adopt a second dog today.

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

How do dogs adjust to second dogs? ›

Let your dogs sniff each other and greet each other normally. Give them positive reinforcement through calm verbal affirmations. After letting them play for a while, put both dogs in a “sit” or “stay”, then let them interact again. Finally, take them on walks together, allowing them to sniff each other along the way.

Can dogs that fight ever get along? ›

Can dogs live together after fighting? The answer is, most of the time, YES. There are times when dogs may be like an incompatible couple and need to divorce, but in general, there are things you can do to help combative pups get along.

What are the signs that your dog doesn't like you? ›

The Top Behaviors and Signs Your Dog Doesn't Like You
  • They cower or hide when you're around.
  • They tuck their tail between their legs when they see you (and notably don't wag their tail)
  • Their body stiffens, or fur stands up in your presence.
  • They flatten their ears or arch their backs around you.
1 Jul 2022

Why do dogs follow you to the bathroom? ›

If your dog follows you into the bathroom, it's likely a result of their animal instinct and pack mentality. Canines who do this are referred to as “Velcro dogs,” due to their desire to be attached to your side. They may follow you around, even to the bathroom, to protect a part of their pack.

Videos

1. How to Operate a dog rescue. How to run a dog rescue. Animal Rescue
(Jeff Coltenback Dog Training)
2. How To Adopt A Rescue Pet Online by Nyle Lynn
(Nyle Lynn)
3. Webinar: Tools to Help Your Hard to Place Pets Get Adopted | Hosted by Shelters United and Petfinder
(Shelters United)
4. Boy goes to animal shelter to adopt a dog, uses allowance to rescue 2 other dogs
(Wonderbot Animals)
5. 10 Important Guide About Rescuing A Stray Dog/Amazing Dogs
(Amazing Dogs)
6. Tech Tutorial: Petfinder
(Paul Sawyier Public Library)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Margart Wisoky

Last Updated: 12/24/2022

Views: 5748

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Margart Wisoky

Birthday: 1993-05-13

Address: 2113 Abernathy Knoll, New Tamerafurt, CT 66893-2169

Phone: +25815234346805

Job: Central Developer

Hobby: Machining, Pottery, Rafting, Cosplaying, Jogging, Taekwondo, Scouting

Introduction: My name is Margart Wisoky, I am a gorgeous, shiny, successful, beautiful, adventurous, excited, pleasant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.