We’re all familiar with the slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’, and we know that behind that slogan lies the unfortunate fact that many people don’t realise that bringing a new dog into their home takes a huge amount of preparation, perseverance and patience. For those adopting a rescue dog, the challenges can be much greater, and it’s vital for new owners to do whatever they can to ensure that their rescue dog adapts well to its new home as quickly as possible. By following the simple steps, you can make the process of rehoming your dog as smooth and stress-free as possible for the both of you.
Key points to consider before rehoming a dog
If you are planning a holiday, a house move, a new baby or a new job within the coming months, it might
be a good idea to postpone your adoption until all of these distractions are out of the way. When a new dog comes into your life, it’s really important that you can give him your full attention at all times. Rescue dogs, in particular, an be very nervous in their new environment, and a busy household with no routine can be terrifying for some dogs.
Making your home ready for your rescue dog
The rescue centre should be able to advise you on what food your new dog has been eating, and it’s a good idea to stick with that for a week or two at least, to avoid any upset tummies. Your dog also needs a safe space to call his own. Most dogs actually love their crates and see them as their own ‘den’
How to handle introductions when bringing a new dog home
Explain to your children that they should sit calmly on the sofa and wait for the dog to approach them. This will allow the dog to approach carefully and to assess these new and curious creatures on his own terms.
Building a bond with your dog
It can be tempting to try to rush the process of bonding with your dog, by constantly stroking him or even picking him up. To a dog, all of this can be quite intimidating. It’s far better to take things slowly and allow the dog to come to you - just by spending time in the same room together, sitting quietly and speaking gently, the dog will soon come to realise there is nothing to be fearful of.
Establish daily routines
Dogs are creatures of habit, and like things to follow a routine. By providing consistency, you’ll help him understand what his new life involves and he’ll grow into a relaxed pooch. Try to walk the dog at the same times each day, and keep mealtimes regular too. Don’t move the dog’s bed around, as he needs to be sure of where that safe space is.
Veterinary care for your rescue dog
It’s very important to try to get your new friend used to visits to your veterinary practice. Ask your veterinary team whether they would be happy for you to pop in for a free introduction – just an opportunity for your dog to visit the practice and be pampered by the staff – not examined, prodded and poked! So, if a veterinary examination or vaccination is due, maybe do this on a separate occasion. In an ideal world, your dog should have visited the vets on several occasions for a good pampering and maybe a treat before any more ‘practical’ visits are required
With some forward planning and plenty of patience and gentle, positive handling, a rescue dog can be every bit as rewarding as any other dog, if not more so! If you’re considering bringing a new dog into your life, why not consider adopting a rescue dog?