Puppy Advice

Bringing home a rescue dog

Bringing home your rescue dog will be exciting, but it can also be challenging and stressful. Your adopted dog will need time to adjust to being in a new home and, in some cases, learn to trust again if they have been victims of cruelty or neglect or have not been properly socialised with people.

Rescue dog at home laying upside down on white bedsheets

Helping a rescue dog to settle in

It can help your dog to feel more at home if they have with them a blanket or toy that smells familiar to them. A few days before you bring your dog home, take a toy or a blanket to your dog’s existing home or rescue centre and then bring this with you when you collect your dog.

First day with your new dog

Designate an area of your house as your dog’s safe space – many dogs feel safe in an enclosed space so a dog crate or a baby gate on the door of the utility room works quite well for this. This should be in a warm, draft-free and quiet area of your home where your dog can retreat to undisturbed.

Toilet training a rescue dog

As soon as you bring your rescue dog home and before you go indoors, let them go to the toilet and give them lots of praise when they do. Accidents in the house are quite common with rescue dogs – so take your dog outside lots so they quickly learn where they need to go and make sure you respond quickly and positively if they whine to go out.

Feeding your dog

Maintain the same feeding regime and type of food that your dog has been used to. It’s OK to change your dog’s diet, but this should be done gradually.

How to get a dog to settle at night

You may prefer for your adopted dog to sleep in the same room as you 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. It’s a good idea to establish a bedtime routine with your dog from day one.

What to do if you experience problems

It may take time for your new dog to settle in. Rescue dogs are more likely to experience separation anxiety. This means they feel anxious when they are left alone. You can teach your dog to be alone but if your dog is experiencing extreme anxiety you may need to get help from a professional animal behaviourist. It’s best to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, so make sure you are fully prepared for taking on rescue dog that may need lots of your time and patience.

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