Bringing home a rescue dog is an exciting moment for any new pet owner. You get a new companion for years to come, and your dog gets a new lease on life after a terrible situation.
But even though you know your dog is going to a better place, for your new dog, it may just seem like another frightening scenario. Typically, they need a few days or weeks to adjust. Fortunately, our tips for helping your new rescue dog feel at home will have your dog feeling comfortable in your home in no time.
Prepare an Area for Them
Unfamiliar places can be scary for everyone. And for a dog who has come from an abusive situation, coming into your house can be anxiety-inducing, to say the least.
To help your dog feel comfortable in your home, start off by giving them a comfortable spot where they know they’re safe. This can look like a corner of the mudroom where they have their food and water bowls and a dog bed, or it can look like creating a whole dog room. The point is to give them a “home base” that they can return to when things get too much.
Wait To Introduce Other Animals
Even if you have the friendliest, most docile animals in the world, you want to wait to introduce them to your new rescue for at least 24 hours.
Remember, the new space is already intimidating. Even if your rescue grew up surrounded by other animals, facing a new dog or cat while they’re still adjusting can make anxiety spike. That can cause your dog to bolt or fight your other pets, which is the last thing you want.
Establish a Routine
Dogs, like people, are comforted by routine. It helps them to know what to expect both from you and from the world around them. Here are a few things that you can do to establish a sense of structure with your dog:
- Feed and walk your dog at the same time every day
- Establish where your dog can and can’t go in the house
- Start training with basic commands like “sit” and “stay”
- Reinforce positive behavior with treats and positive attention
Since you’re still establishing the basic routine, it’s a good idea to hold off on adding things that are not in the “norm” of your normal day. In other words, avoid special trips or inviting everyone over to meet your new dog until your dog has settled in.
Give Them Space
Your first instinct may be to smother your new dog in affection in a bid to earn their love. But it’s important to give your dog space to get used to you first. Give your dog positive attention, and then allow them to explore the area on their own. Trust us—they will eventually come to you all on their own.