Congratulations – your new rescue dog is coming home! Here’s a few tips that will help you make it an easy, joyful experience for both of you.
Bringing a rescue dog home is a special moment that brings a lot of fun, excitement, warm memories, and enjoyment to pet parents. But it also comes with a number of responsibilities! We’ve prepared seven quick tips that will help make your furry friend’s homecoming a positive experience.
1. Prepare a safe and comfortable place
Moving to a new home is stressful for a dog. For the first few days, your new companion may be nervous of his environment – and even of you. A safe, comfortable place, soft bedding, and the absence of chaos will help him adapt. Of course, everything should be ready by the time he arrives. Choose a suitable bed based on his size and any preferences you know he has, and place it somewhere quiet and out of the way so he has somewhere to go if he needs time to himself.
2. Start him on a healthy diet
When your dog arrives home, his food and water bowls should be ready to go. Don’t be surprised if he refuses food on the first day – this is a normal sign of stress, and nothing to worry about unless it persists for more than 24 hours. During that time, gently encourage him to drink water and continue to offer him food and treats.
Your task as a responsible pet parent is to provide the right diet for your dog. To do this, consult with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist, study the characteristics of your dog’s breed, and remember to read labels thoroughly! Many healthy ingredients such as carrots, spinach, beef and chicken can be added to your pet’s meals to provide a boost of nutrients, whereas others, like chocolate, can be deadly to dogs.
3. Explore the house and the yard together
Let your new rescue dog examine the house and yard, but be sure to keep him on a leash. This is necessary so that he doesn’t get into something he shouldn’t, especially while he familiarizes himself with the lay of the land. Use positive reinforcement when he responds well to the environment to help create positive associations!
4. Introduce your new rescue dog to the family slowly
Don’t bombard your new rescue dog with introductions the moment he steps foot in the door. Instead, let him meet every member of your family – including other pets – one at a time.
5. Schedule a visit to the vet
Once your dog is settled, book an appointment with a local veterinarian. Your dog should have gotten a clean bill of health from the rescue or shelter before being listed for adoption, but it can’t hurt to have him examined again. A vet will also offer advice on things like nutrition, and will check to make sure he has an up-to-date microchip.
Note: In addition to ensuring your new rescue dog is microchipped, be sure to invest in an ID tag for him!
6. Let your new pet have some fun
Buy some dog toys in advance, but be very careful when picking them out. It’s not recommended to play tugging games with dogs that have a history of aggression, for instance, and some toys aren’t ideal for chewers. Get something safe and versatile based on your new rescue dog’s personality, and be sure to engage him in interactive play right from the start!
7. Start training right away
Fun and games are important, but your dog also needs to be properly trained! Establishing clear household rules and teaching him some basic commands early on will help ensure smooth integration into your household.
Make an approximate training plan before your bring your new rescue dog home. If things don’t go as planned, consider hiring a professional dog trainer or enroll in a dog training course.
Adopting a new dog can – and should – be a positive experience for all! The most important thing is to prepare in advance, think ahead, and most importantly, surround your pet with love and protection every step of the way.