Settling in a newly adopted rescue dog is the most rewarding things you can do. You have given that dog a new life, often a much happier life than the previous one.
Some shelter dogs have had a rough past, even suffering abuse or neglect. Others have come from loving homes but their world has been turned upside down all of a sudden.
With a sudden change of environment, your new family member is understandably undergoing some stress. This can result in howling, lack of appetite, pacing and just generally being unsettled.
So how can you help your newly adopted rescue dog to settle in? I’m listing my top tips for helping your new adopted dog to settle into your home and become one of the family.
Let’s go through some tips.
- Give them some time. It’s important not to expect too much for the first few days. Just relax, spend some quality time just hanging out with the dog without putting on any pressure for interaction or training. Take things at the dog’s pace. HOWEVER, it’s very important that you don’t let the dog practice any bad habits. You have a clean slate to show this dog what the house rules are from day one so make the most of that.
- Play is a powerful way to bond with a dog. Dogs bond with other dogs through play and also with people too. Just have fun!
- Dogs thrive on routine and on knowing what is coming next. Have set walk times and set feed times. Set what time you hang out inside and what times you play outside with them.
- Training is another great way to increase the bond between you and your new dog. Use fun rewards based methods and training becomes a powerful bonding exercise, just like play but with the benefits of learning new skills.
- Be kind but firm and don’t pity your dog. Some rescue dogs have had horrible pasts and yes, it’s very sad and we feel for them. But if there’s one thing we can learn from dogs it is that dogs live in the moment. They are not constantly dwelling on their past, and neither should we. Dogs are thinking about what is happening right now. If we pity our dogs and excuse bad behavior, the dog is not better off but can become confused and anxious. Dogs thrive on routine and on knowing who is in charge. So while every dog is special, treat your new rescue dog like a normal dog with patience and kindness but also with rules and boundaries, and move forward with their bright future with you.
You find all these tips in our easy to follow checklist for settling in the adopted rescue dog. Download it free here.