Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (2022)


Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (2)

Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (3)

Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (4)

Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (5)

Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (6)

Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (7)

Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (8)

Adopting a dog is one way of keeping dogs off the streets, which are home to over 70 million stray animals. Every year, about 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters in the U.S. Many shelters and rescue centers can’t accommodate the huge numbers of stray pets, which leads to overflowing shelters and, sadly, sometimes euthanization.

(Video) How to PREP for a RESCUE DOG | What to Expect (FIRST NIGHT)

Adopting a dog can be immensely rewarding - both to you and the dog. For many adopters, taking care of a rescue dog is a new adventure! Of course, the experience is quite different from raising a puppy. The good thing is that rescue dogs often have basic training, so it becomes easy to get your new furry friend settled in their new place.

Keep on reading to learn more!

Table of Contents

  1. Are you ready to adopt a dog?
  2. Where to go to rescue animals?
  3. Prepare home for your rescue dog
  4. Visit the veterinarian
  5. Build a bond with your dog
  6. Do some training

Are You Ready to Adopt a Dog?

There are reasons why they say dogs are man’s best friend! Most dogs like attention, company, affection, and playing - they develop connections and relationships with their humans. It’s very important to consider your availability when planning to adopt a pet. How much attention will you be able to give your dog? How long will they be home unattended while you’re at work, running errands, or away from home? While many dogs are left at home for hours unattended, you won’t know how your rescue dog will react to being left alone for extended periods of time.

You need to have time to commit to your dog. This includes taking them out for a walk or playing catch with them. Dogs don’t come with knowledge of how to live in a new home. You need to spend time with them to teach them such skills.

Adopting a dog also comes with additional costs, including food, medication, vet care, grooming, emergencies, boarding/daycare, household items, among other things. On average, owning a down can cost you about $1,314 and $1,843 every year. Planning for such costs is quite important.

You should also take into account the pet lifestyle. For example, you need to be ready for dog walks, scheduled vet visits, cleaning your pet, among other tasks. Also, keep in mind that different breeds of dogs have different needs. You should be able to take care of the breed you’ve chosen.

Another vital consideration is choosing between puppies and adult dogs. Raising puppies requires hard work and a lot of time. So, you should be ready for this if you go for a puppy. Adult dogs, on the other hand, have established personalities, so it’s easier to connect with them.

Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (9)


Where to Go to Rescue Animals?

When you’re ready to adopt a pet, there are several places you can go to get a pet. Online tools, such as Adoptpet.com and Petfinder.com, have made it easy to find shelters and organizations around you that offer dogs for adoption.

Bear in mind that local shelters and rescue groups might require you to pay an adoption fee. However, the amount will be significantly less than what you’ll pay when buying a dog from a pet store or breeder.

Local Shelters

Your local animal shelter is a great place to start when looking for a dog. If you don’t know any shelter near you, be sure to search the ASPCA database. Such databases allow you to search for shelters by zip code. Shelters usually provide a home to animals until they find new owners.

Rescue Groups

Unlike animal shelters, rescue groups and organizations are dedicated to pet adoption. They take unwanted, stray, abused, or abandoned pets and strive to find suitable homes for them. A good example is Bestfriends.org or Humanesociety.org.

Animal Sanctuaries

Sanctuaries take in animals that have been abused, abandoned, or neglected and provide them a home for life. GFAS-accredited and verified sanctuaries never sell or breed animals. So, this means you can get your pet for free from a sanctuary.

(Video) Bringing Home a Rescue Dog (6 Rescue Dog Tips for your First Week Home) //THE KIND CANINE

Pet Adoption Tips: How to Care for your Rescue Dog (10)


Prepare Your Home for Your Rescue Dog

Bringing a new dog at home usually evokes some excitement. You’ll want to ensure everything is as perfect as possible for the new member of the family. Your home should be safe for them, too.

Here is how you can prepare:

Get the Essential Supplies

First, you need to stock up the necessary dog supplies and essentials. This includes a litter box, potty bags, crates, collars, toys, leashes, and a bed. You also purchase the same type of food the dog has been eating at the shelter or rescue. Be sure to ask them for food recommendations -- you shouldn’t introduce the dog to a new diet immediately.

Create Space for Your Dog

It’s also vital to find and prepare your new dog’s personal space. This particularly important if you want to restrict your pet to a particular area of your home. They want a safe space that makes them feel comfortable while adapting to the new environment. Be sure to set up the dog bed and kennel in the space.

Prepare Your Family

You should also talk to your family about the pet’s arrival. There is always a period of adjustment when dogs come into a new home. Your family members shouldn’t be quick to judge the pet for every problem after the dog arrives. For example, when you have other pets, they’re likely to act territorial. Everyone needs to keep an objective and open mind as the dog adapts to its new home.

Pet-Proof Your Home

You need to make your home safe for your new pet. Being in a new environment, your rescue dog is likely to wander off to areas it is not allowed to go. Be sure to keep cleaning solutions, poisonous food, and domestic substances away. Here is a list of items that could harm your dog. Also, tape electrical cords to the wall and use barriers where necessary.


Visit the Veterinarian

Getting a full physical and wellness exam for your pet is essential, and this should be done within the first week of bringing the dog to your home. The first exam is also vital in introducing your dog to vet visits. This helps the dog to avoid developing life-long fears. It also helps to develop initial relationships with the vet practice.

Be sure to carry with you the dog’s health records during the initial visit. Shelters usually have records on each dog they have.

Physical Exam

The vet will check your dog’s heart, lungs, eyes, ears, legs, and other body parts, too. These checks are vital in ensuring the dog is healthy. They also help to provide a baseline for future vet visits.

Diagnostic Testing

Depending on the dog’s age, medications, and health status, your vet may recommend urine and blood testing for further assessment. The vet might give more care and diet recommendations based on the diagnosis.

Weight and Diet

The vet will also weigh the dog. If they’re not at a healthy weight, he or she will provide measures you need to take to get the dog to a healthy weight. Your vet will also advise you on dietary changes if needed.


Build a Bond with Your Dog

As your dog settles in his new environment, you should strive to build a lasting bond and develop relationships with him. It might be challenging at first, but it gets easier over time. The most important thing is to focus on making the dog as comfortable as possible.

(Video) 5 COMMON Mistakes New RESCUE DOG OWNERS Make

Introduce family slowly

After picking up the dog, you should bring him straight home. Avoid welcome-home parties during the first day - the dog is likely to get nervous. When introducing the dog to your family members, you should do it outside, one at a time. The atmosphere should be calm and quiet.

Allow the dog to approach and sniff them. Let them offer the dog treats to build the initial relationships. If you have other dogs, you should also introduce them to the rescue dog outside, one at a time. You shouldn’t leave them alone until you’re sure it’s safe to do so.

Be Patient, and Let the Dog Come to You

When building a bond, always be patient. Understand that every dog is different, and it can take several weeks to start connecting with your dog. As you give him treats, the dog will begin associating you with good things. Over time, he’ll slowly begin to approach you.

Just give him space and time to process the new reality. Be sure to commit time to understand the dog’s personality and habits. Keep in mind that this is a bonding and trust-building period, so avoid yelling or any other activities that might scare the dog.

Be Playful and Loving

Dogs tend to be playful, running around your home with toys all the time. As such, create time for having fun and playing games with your pet. This will help to strengthen your bond. Touching the dog is also recommended. Physical contact helps to reduce anxiety, thus keeping them calm in their new environment.


Do Some Training

Good dog training should show the dog exactly how to behave, not endlessly correcting certain behaviors. Aim to begin training your new dog right away. This helps him to settle into his new home right away.

Housetraining

Adult dogs will still need a little housetraining to understand their new environment. Your dog needs to learn the house rules, so the house training refresher is quite vital. Give him a tour of the house while keeping him on a leash.

Training helps with mental and physical stimulation, and this improves the overall well-being of your dog. Introduce him to the crate right away, and allow him to stay in there for a while. Just avoid confining him longer than they can hold it. Housetraining should also involve rock-solid potty training.

Take Some Training Classes

If it’s your first time owning a dog, taking some training classes is vital in learning the best approach to training your dog. There are lots of online courses and training videos that guide you on housetraining and behavioral issues.

In addition to online courses, you can also join online communities, such as forums and social media groups, to get support from other rescue dog owners. Learning from their experiences will help you know the best training methods for your furry friend.

Establish Daily Routines

It’s also advisable to get your dog into a daily routine. This helps with training and behavior. However, don’t push for strict adherence to a daily routine as this is likely to result in anxiety when they go out of line or a particular event is missed.

As part of establishing daily routines, give your dog outdoor potty opportunities, particularly after eating meals and waking up. Depending on their feeding schedule, you’ll be able to anticipate when they need to go to the potty.

You also need to pay attention to when they have breakfast and dinner. Other activities include walks, training, rest periods, and games. As noted before, don’t focus on strict adherence to these activities. Dogs are likely to experience separation anxiety when you’re not available. Instead, focus on consistency.

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Final Thoughts

Instead of buying a new puppy from a puppy mill, adoption is usually the recommended approach to owning a dog. It’s also a way of saving lives and freeing up space and resources in shelters for other dogs.

Be sure to consider your lifestyle and personality when adopting a dog. The good thing is that adult dogs have established characters, so you can just focus on learning them. Their energy levels are usually manageable, too.

The first few months should be about building relationships. Focus on taking things slowly as you bond with your pet. Keep in mind that your new dog will also be learning more about you during this time. Be sure to keep an eye on possible destructive and behavioral issues during the first few weeks.

References:

12 Tips for Big Adoption Events. (2017, November 29). ASPCApro. https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/12-tips-big-adoption-events

Adoption Can be an Option for Animals After Their Use in Research. (n.d.). Animal Welfare Institute. Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://awionline.org/awi-quarterly/2010-spring/adoption-can-be-option-animals-after-their-use-research

Adoption Tips. (n.d.). ASPCA. Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://www.aspca.org/adopt-pet/adoption-tips

America, A. L. (2018, March 1). Tips for Bringing Home Your New Pet. Animal League. https://www.animalleague.org/blog/tips/pet-adoption/tips-for-bringing-home-new-pet/

Burno, C. (2020, May 15). Thinking Of Adopting A Pet? Here Are Tips To Help You Find A New Furry Friend | The ARTery. WBUR.Org. https://www.wbur.org/artery/2020/05/15/pets-adoption-tips

How to make your dog feel comfortable in a new home. (n.d.). The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/how-make-your-dog-feel-comfortable-new-home

I Adopted a Dog, Now What? (n.d.). Wags and Walks. Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://www.wagsandwalks.org/what-to-do-after-adopting-a-dog

Pepelko, K. (2014, February 20). 12 Alarming Facts About Pet Homelessness. One Green Planet. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/12-alarming-facts-about-pet-homelessness/

Pets by the numbers. (n.d.). HumanePro. Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://humanepro.org/page/pets-by-the-numbers

(Video) Tips If You Just Adopted a Dog

FAQs

How long do rescue dogs take to settle in to a new home? ›

It can take a few weeks or even months for a rescue dog to adjust properly to their new family and surroundings. However, if you provide them with the love and attention they need, they should eventually feel right at home.

Where should a rescue dog sleep? ›

You may prefer for your adopted dog to sleep in the same room as 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.

What is the 3 Day 3 Week 3 month rule? ›

The 3-3-3 rule represents the phases of a rescue dog or common milestones your new dog or puppy will go through 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months after being adopted from a shelter. Your new dog will have unfamiliar surroundings and go through an adjustment period while settling into his new home.

Should you change a rescue dogs name? ›

“At most shelters, if an animal has a name you keep the name unless there's a good reason not to,” she says. Good reasons to change a pet's name include instances of past abuse. Shelters will also rename pets whose current name might prevent them from finding a forever home.

Should you crate a rescue dog at night? ›

And this is a must if you just adopted a puppy. Older rescue dogs may not need crate training, but you should still use a crate for the first night. First, let's cover the reasons to use a crate for your dog. And the tricks you will need to know to get him into the crate.

What is the 333 rule for dogs? ›

The 'Rule of Three' means that you can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, and three months. Think of your new dog's first 3 days as their time to decompress as they transition from a shelter or foster home into your home.

How traumatic is it for a dog to change owners? ›

In actuality, re-homing is always a stressful and traumatic experience for dogs. It's not difficult for canines to undergo anxiety and depression if the previous environment was a happy one. These dogs will actually miss their previous owner and they wish to undergo the sadness.

How long does it take a rescue dog to bond? ›

You can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, three months (Drs. London and McConnell)1. We think of that first 3 days (at a minimum) as the initial “detox period” as the dog transitions from the shelter to your home.

What should I do with my dog on the first night? ›

First night with a new puppy
  • Stick to a set bedtime. Pets love routine, so get your puppy into a regular routine as soon as possible!
  • Decide where they are sleeping. ...
  • Keep calm. ...
  • Sleep in the same room for the first few nights. ...
  • Remind them of mum. ...
  • Night time toilet breaks may be needed. ...
  • It's OK to comfort them.

What should you not do when adopting a dog? ›

One of the biggest mistakes people make pre-adoption, Littrell says, is making up their mind about what they want before even meeting a dog. “Dogs deserve to be treated as individuals, so don't focus too much on the breed or breed mix,” she says. “Take the time to get to know the particular dog you are considering.”

What happens when you bring a rescue dog home? ›

What to Expect When Expecting … A Rescue Dog
  • Shyness, hiding, or timidity.
  • Barking for reasons not obvious to us mere humans.
  • Marking territory.
  • Separation anxiety.
  • Forgetting any former house training skills.
  • Possessiveness with you, toys, or the house.
  • Leash aggression.
  • Nervousness around strangers.

Do rescue dogs know you love him? ›

"Yes, your dog knows how much you love him! Dogs and humans have a very special relationship, where dogs have actually hijacked the human oxytocin bonding pathway that is normally reserved for our babies. When you stare at your dog, both your oxytocin levels go up, the same as when you pet them and play with them.

Does my rescue dog remember being abused? ›

While their lack of short term memory may lead to them forgetting it a few times, ongoing physical abuse will be registered into their long term memory and lead to aggression or anxiety issues down the road.

Do rescue dogs love you more? ›

They'll be intensely loyal

The bond you have with a rescue dog is truly special. This animal loves and appreciates you more than you know! Once they learn to trust and start to love you, nothing can come between you and your new pet. Rescue dogs are known for being fiercely loyal, no matter what.

How long does it take a rescue dog to learn its name? ›

Puppies can learn their names quickly (most can pick it up within 1-3 days!) but generally, you'll want to practice using their name regularly. A good way to start teaching your puppy their name is to use it to gain their attention by saying their name and rewarding them when they look at you!.

What should you not name your dog? ›

Avoid Command Words

You will also want to avoid any names that sound similar or rhyme with the most common dog commands. Names that sound like “sit,” “stay,” “heel,” “no,” and “come” could be easily confused by your pup.

How long does it take a rescue dog to learn a new name? ›

It shouldn't take more than a few days for them to understand that they're now called “Charlie.” If your dog already has a name that they know, you can change that dog's name to one that begins with the first letter or sound. Naming them something similar will help them to adjust to the new name.

How do I stop my rescue dog from crying in the crate? ›

Try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, he'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at him or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored him for several minutes, use the phrase he associates with going outside to eliminate.

How do you house train a rescue dog? ›

Beginning with taking your dog outside the first thing in the morning, schedule trips outside about every two hours including after every meal. Then, make a final trip outside at night before you go to bed. If you have a long workday, consider having someone come and take the dog outside for a mid-day break.

When should you start training a rescue dog? ›

Set Boundaries

Remember that training begins from the day your new dog comes home. It can be tempting to coddle it for the first week or so to try to make up for the time spent in the shelter.

What is a 2 week shutdown dog? ›

The Two Week Shut Down is a time familiar to a dog's mind -- it mimics the whelping box when first born-when the puppy's eyes are not open and it relies totally on the mother's ability to take care of it. By smelling, sensing, and listening, the puppy starts his journey into the new scary world.

Is it normal to regret adopting a dog? ›

It's normal — especially for first-timers — to feel a bit overwhelmed. If you're questioning your decision or wondering how to cope with feelings of anxiety, regret, or guilt, please understand that these feelings are quite common and they almost always pass with a bit of time.

How long will a dog remember you? ›

A dog can remember someone his entire life.

It's safe to say that your dog will not forget you after two weeks, a month, or even if you are gone for many years.

Will a dog forget its owner? ›

Dogs most certainly recognize and remember their owners, even after long absences. This can be attributed to numerous factors, but they mainly rely on their sense of smell. According to PBS, dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses.

What does it mean when a dog gives you his paw? ›

Dogs use a foot to bridge the communication gap. Your dog quickly learns that handing you their paw receives a positive reaction. By giving you their paw, oftentimes, they just want a pet.

How do you know if a dog imprinted on you? ›

So, how can you tell if your dog has imprinted on you? In addition to following you everywhere, there are some key behaviors to look for. Notably, your dog is happy to make eye contact with you, is very excited to see you, and seeks out physical affection from you whenever possible.

› Blog ›

These tips and games can help you to acclimate your newly adopted dog into your home. Bonding with your adopted dog is important and statistics show how much mo...
The following guide explains how to bond with a rescue dog. It was written by a guest contributor who has previously adopted shelter dogs, so has real world exp...
It's the basis of your friendship and the structure of the love you and your pet share. With adult rescue dogs, however, your bond is especially important. ...

How do you know if rescue dog feels at home? ›

A dog that feels comfortable around you will have a more relaxed body language, allowing you to pet them and play with them. According to the American Kennel Club, however, a dog that is cowering, lacking movement, or moving erratically could mean they are stressed, scared, or don't want to be touched.

Will my rescue dog ever be normal? ›

Your rescue dog will be normal according to their version of normal. Sometimes, it means a fully-adjusted dog with a wonderful temperament and love of new adventures. Other times, it means your dog is still unsure of the world around them, but as long as they have you to trust, they're okay.

How long does it take a rescue to adjust? ›

While some rescue dogs seem to arrive on their first day, many dogs will need at least 30 days before fully adjusting to their owner. It's not uncommon to see rescue dogs take up to 3 months to fully adjust.

What is the 3 3 dog rule? ›

The 'Rule of Three' means that you can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, and three months. Think of your new dog's first 3 days as their time to decompress as they transition from a shelter or foster home into your home.

Do rescue dogs know you love him? ›

"Yes, your dog knows how much you love him! Dogs and humans have a very special relationship, where dogs have actually hijacked the human oxytocin bonding pathway that is normally reserved for our babies. When you stare at your dog, both your oxytocin levels go up, the same as when you pet them and play with them.

How can you tell if a rescue dog has been abused? ›

Signs of Animal Abuse
  1. Tucked tail, flinches at human contact.
  2. Unexplained fractures or limping.
  3. Unprovoked aggression, whining, or whimpering.
  4. Overly submissive (rolling onto back, tail tucked, urinating)
  5. Suddenly avoiding any physical contact.
  6. Attempts to bite or scratch when petted.
6 Sept 2018

Should I crate my rescue dog at night? ›

And this is a must if you just adopted a puppy. Older rescue dogs may not need crate training, but you should still use a crate for the first night. First, let's cover the reasons to use a crate for your dog. And the tricks you will need to know to get him into the crate.

What is the first thing to do when you bring a dog home? ›

For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your dog, limiting too much excitement (such as the dog park or neighborhood children). Not only will this allow your dog to settle in easier, but it will also give you more one-on-one time to get to know him and his likes/dislikes.

When can I leave my rescue dog alone? ›

Once your puppy is 5 months old, you can leave him home alone for about 5 hours as well. Before that, take your puppy's age in months and add 1. That'll give you a general idea of how long he can approximately hold it.

Do rescue dogs get more attached? ›

After all, your new dog may have been very attached to his prior owner. Or, more sadly, he may even be leery of humans due to past abuse or neglect. While it is true that many dogs in shelters have had challenging prior lives, it is also true that rescue dogs are incredibly more loyal than other dogs.

How traumatic is it for a dog to change owners? ›

In actuality, re-homing is always a stressful and traumatic experience for dogs. It's not difficult for canines to undergo anxiety and depression if the previous environment was a happy one. These dogs will actually miss their previous owner and they wish to undergo the sadness.

Why is my rescue dog getting worse? ›

The rescue dog adjustment period is not a linear journey. Some report seeing the honeymoon period in which their dog is quite well behaved when they first arrive, only to let out their demons a few weeks later. This is where the common issue of a rescue dogs behavior getting worse will spring from.

Videos

1. Decompressing your new shelter dog | Adoption tips
(Rachel at the Shelter)
2. Ultimate RESCUE DOG Checklist | Dog MUST-HAVES
(In Ruff Company)
3. What to Know About Training a Rescue Dog (and Advice for 3 Common Problems) //THE KIND CANINE
(The Kind Canine)
4. The First Steps For Training Your Rescue/Rehomed/Adult Dog!
(McCann Dog Training)
5. Want To Get A Rescue Dog? Watch THIS First!
(McCann Dog Training)
6. What’s Causing a Million Dogs to be Relinquished to Shelters Each Year?
(Pupford)

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