Adopting a dog from a rescue is one of the most exciting and heart-warming things you can do for a dog who has been dealt a rough hand in life.
If you are like us here at Lu’s Labs, you think a dog is supposed to have a warm comfortable place to sleep indoors. Preferably on cushy pillows or even on the end of a bed…sometimes in the middle. Bonus if they get to relax on couches, and a dog bed is a must. Meals and treats that are healthy and consistent so there’s never a pang of starvation in their bellies. While also being mindful of not allowing your furry friend to put on too much weight. Lots of toys, people, and playtime to entertain them and exert their energy. Which also can cut down on mischief since they are too tired to get into the things they aren’t supposed to. And the most important thing a dog should have is love. This can consist of pats, scratches, and a general appreciation for their presence in our lives.
This is the recipe for a loyal happy companion. But sadly, not all dogs start out their path in life with these wonderful things. This is why every rescue dog may come with their own set of circumstances that can make adjusting to a new home take differing amounts of time for different dogs. Here are 5 pro tips that will help you and your new furry companion get through this adjustment period.
1. Be Prepared – When you bring a new dog into your home, make sure you have all the things a dog will need like bowls, beds, healthy food, a crate if needed, toys, training snacks, leashes and collars, a tag with your name, address and phone number on it and other items that can help making the adjustment period easy. Here’s a good list on our site that will help you decide what you may need. (Link to other post on Lu’s Labs)
2. Schedules – You and your new dog are not going to know each other’s routines, or even each other’s signs. There may be accidents in the beginning as you adjust to potty schedules and learn how to read the signs. From the beginning, it can be important to establish schedules. Dogs are creatures of habit, so by feeding and walking at the same time daily you can start to instill a schedule that you will both grow to understand. For more information on setting up cues this is a great training article.
3. Introductions – There are all kinds of introductions that will happen when you bring your new pup home, and begin to integrate them into your life. It could be other pets – dogs, cats, or even the family rodent! Children. Neighbors. Just think of all the introductions that can happen as your circle expands. When introducing new people and animals taking your time is always important. With other animals in the house, it’s a good idea to have separate spaces, gated off areas, or even allowing animals their own rooms so they can adjust to the new smells of each other through gates and doors.
With small children, babies, and toddlers, it’s a must to supervise these interactions as everyone is getting to know each other. Keeping your dog on a leash so you can have better control will help you decide of excited wiggles, jumping, or running through the house will be a safety issue for the little humans. It’s also important to teach kids about your dog’s personal space, understanding the signs to back off, and not placing a dog in an uncomfortable or defensive situation. For more on introducing your dog to a cat, check out this article. for more information on introducing dogs to children, this article is helpful.
4. Training Tune-Up – Consider seeking out a positive training class or one-on-one session with a trainer to help you and your new companion get used to each other. Sometimes as people we need as much training as dogs do, to understand their needs and learn how to create the best interactions we can with our new dogs. Training and agility classes help you bond. You can reach out to your adoption coordinator and get a list of Lu's Labs approved trainers in your area.
5. Patience – If there is one thing that can be more important than anything else when adopting a rescue, it is patience. Understanding that this is a completely new environment for your dog, and in some cases rescue dogs have never had a warm secure place and humans to call their own, is an important part of the new adoption process. There’s no way of knowing the life experiences your dog has had before you. But taking time to understand they may not all have been positive, and very likely were not, will give you a better handle on dealing with behavior, and tempering your expectations. Rarely is a pup perfect from the moment they walk in the door. Adjustments to the way you live may need to happen as you transition and train a dog to be a member of your family. But the biggest reward comes when you don’t give up. When you utilize resources, recommendations, and research to help your dog adjust to its new life.
Good luck on your journey as a new dog owner! Every dog should have a warm, safe, loving home to call their own!