Tips for adopting a rescue dog
Adopting a dog is a great way to bring a new furry friend into your family and provide a brighter future to an animal that didn’t get an easy start in life.
While it can be immensely satisfying, adopting a rescue dog rather than going through a breeder does come with its own challenges – most rescue dogs have experienced some degree of neglect or abuse over the course of their lifetime and rehoming can be a daunting process for both dog and family.
If you’re thinking of adopting a dog or preparing to bring home your first rescue, here are some tips to help make the process go smoothly.
Find a rescue home
There are dozens of charities around the UK that help connect dogs with new owners and can help you find the right match. Start by looking at the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Blue Cross or Dogs Trust.
Charities that specialise in rehoming dogs and other animals are experts in what to expect – make sure you ask lots of questions to help you make the transition. They should also be able to put you in touch with other families who have adopted dogs in the past to learn about their experiences.
Give them time
It will take your new dog adjust to their new environment and feel comfortable with your family. Try to keep the home environment as calm as possible at first and give them lots of time and space to explore and get familiar with their new surroundings.
One thing at a time
Two much stimulation can trigger stress in your dog. Try to limit the amount of new experiences in your first few weeks and months, introducing new people and locations gradually over time. One route for walking and one or two environments is plenty for them to adjust to.
Establishing rules and routines will help your dog settle in more comfortably. Make sure everyone in the family knows the house rules before your dog arrives – are they allowed on furniture, in the kitchen, on the bed? Once you’ve established the rules stick to them so they don’t get confusing or conflicting messages.
If you’re having a problem with your dog it isn’t a reflection on your abilities – seek help as soon as possible from the shelter, vet or a more experienced rescue owner.
Take training slowly
Establishing new behaviours or changing established bad habits takes time and shouldn’t be rushed. Find out what motivates them and take some time to research behavioural and training tips before your new dog arrives home.
Do you have any tips for adopting a rescue dog? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.