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Tips on Bringing Your Rescue Dog Home

by on May 19, 2014 - Leave a Comment

rescue-dogSo you’ve decided to adopt and want to prepare for bringing your rescue dog home. Like getting married or having children, your world is about to change – but for the better! Your new rescue may present some unexpected behaviors – on the way home, at home, and on your outings – so it’s best to be prepared for anything he/she might do from the very start.

1. Start with the basics

Since you can’t be prepared for all the possible scenarios that could unfold, you can begin thinking about how you will deal with the basics. Like food and mealtime, for one. If the rescue organization doesn’t provide you with recommendations on food types and feeding schedules, then start a relationship with your local pet store for help before you bring your pup home. If you don’t have a fenced in yard, plan for how, when and where you will provide potty breaks, and what you walking routes will be.

If you have an active lifestyle, you may be planning jogs in the park, or a run around the neighborhood with your new best friend. And while many organizations will provide you with some sort of collar to take your new dog home in, what is provided may not be suitable for these activities. Your dog may also exhibit unexpected behaviors that could put him/her in jeopardy, so it is important to plan for your dogs safety, too.

2. Think Safety First

dog-rescue-martingaleThere are many things your dog may have issues with that you are unaware of. For example he may be fearful of cars, loud noises, or a myriad of other scenarios that you could never anticipate, no matter how well prepared you are. We strongly urge you to start out with a martingale collar (also known as a limited-slip or half-check collar), which is good for safety, as it will prevent him/her from slipping or backing out of a regular collar should he/she become frightened. For more info on Martingale collars, see our blog article What is a Martingale Collar?

3. Test Your Dog’s Reaction to Situations

To determine any lurking fears your rescue might have, test him/her under several conditions to determine whether the martingale you purchased to bring him/her home in will be something that you need to use in other circumstances, like leash walking, training, or going outside for potty breaks. If your dog continues to try to back away or escape in unfamiliar situations, continue to use the martingale until your dog is confident and can obey basic commands.

4. Create a Training Plan

A key goal in acclimating your dog to its new environment is to evaluate what training he/she has had in basic obedience, with commands like “sit”, “stay” and “come.” Knowing what commands your dog knows will make it must easier to set up house rules. When doing your evaluation, make sure there are no distractions, and be prepared to reward your dog with treats when performed correctly. If you are fortunate to have a rescue that responds to these basic commands, his/her adjustment will be fairly quick. If not, be quick to enroll your pup in basic obedience training. Your martingale collar will come in handy for training too, as most dog trainers require a martingale collar for use in class and for practicing commands at home.

5. Enjoy Your New found Best Friend!

While all of the above steps are important in helping a rescue dog get settled into his/her new home, love, affection and play will accelerate your dog’s adjustment and help him/her become the well balanced dog they were destined to be. Enjoy the reward and fulfillment that comes with rescuing a dog, not to mention the companionship that you will enjoy for many years to come!

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  1. Judith P Snow says:

    We would love some hints on acclimating (if that is the correct word!) a new rescue dog with our four cats who have lived with dogs in the past, but may have forgotten how to co-exist.
    Thank you.

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