Rehoming a rescue dog is such a rewarding, exciting and emotional experience. Bringing them home for the first time is such a great feeling and is definitely a day you will always remember. However, amongst all the excitement of the day remember to stop and think about how your new rescue buddy is feeling. Your new friend has had not one but two massive life changes in such a short space of time! As well as getting used to a new home, your dog has also just had to adjust to living within a rescue. The kennel environment can be overwhelming for some dogs, which can really increase the value and novelty that all the new experiences waiting for them at home hold. It is important to be sure that you take the time to think about how your new doggy pal is coping with coming home and take time to help them adjust. Working within a rescue environment, I have seen first-hand how difficult it can be for some dogs and how some take everything in their stride, making themselves at home on the sofa in no time. Don’t worry though! By following just a few simple steps you can give your rescue dog the best experience possible from the day they step foot into their new forever home.
Be prepared. Before you bring home your new furry friend, make sure that you and your home are all ready for their arrival. Having all the essentials prepared will make your dog’s transition from rescue into your home as easy as possible. Start nice and simple, just ensuring that you have the appropriate space for a nice comfy dog bed. When choosing a bed space, consider that your dog may like some time to themselves to settle and relax, especially as they get to know you and build a relationship. Having a bed set up somewhere that your dog won’t be disturbed can help achieve this, giving them a space they can call their own and feel safe. The majority of rescues love to help make the rehoming process as enjoyable and stress free as possible, so have a conversation with them also and see what suggestions they have. After all, they have spent the last few weeks possibly months looking after your dog and getting to know them. They may even give you blankets from your dog’s kennel to provide your dog with some familiarity when they arrive home. Now that you’ve got your dog’s cosy new bed set up, do you have all the equipment you need? Don’t worry if you don’t a quick trip to the pet shop can fix that! Make sure that you have everything you need to care for your dog so you’re ready to go from day one. Your basic shopping list might include items such as: a lead, food bowls, a harness, nice tasty dog food, plenty of fun toys and chews and of course all important poo bags! Having all this ready at home will reduce the likelihood of having to leave your dog to run to the shop in those first few days. Remember this might be your dog’s first time in a home so being left on their own may be a little overwhelming for them to begin with.
With your home now all set up and prepared, you are ready to bring your new pup home! Consistency and routine will be key to helping your dog settle in as stress free as possible. It’s up to you to make the big decisions! Is your dog allowed on the sofa? Or the bed? Whatever choice you make is entirely up to you but it is then your job to teach your dog the boundaries. Remember to do this in a loving positive way, if you decide that you would rather not have your pup on the sofa with you, make sure you offer them an alternative. This could be a nice comfy bed right by your feet or even a little chair of their own that they can snuggle up on. If your dog does jump on the sofa, not to worry. Just encourage them onto their bed with a nice tasty treat or fun toy and show them this is a better place to chill out and relax. By setting boundaries from the beginning and implementing these in a nice positive manner, you will avoid any confusion for your dog and help them feel right at home in no time.
Finally, try not to set your expectations of your new friend too high. Your dog has just come from an environment that may have been quite stressful for them, and with some rescue dogs it’s not always possible to know if they have been in a home before. Be patient and understanding of your dog as they settle in. As your dog finds their confidence you may start to notice some areas that need a little more attention than others. Maybe you’re struggling with house-training? Or leaving your dog alone? It’s always a great idea to have a trainer on hand to provide support for not just your dog but for you as you guide them through the whole settling in process. Take a minute to think about things from your dog’s perspective. This may be the first time they have experienced a home. A washing machine or hoover might be all new to them and could potentially be a little scary. Your love and attention is crucial to your dog at this time, be there to comfort them and be sure to do so with kindness and positivity. Rehoming a dog isn’t without it challenges but the rewards are definitely worth it. Watching your new dog grow and succeed is such a rewarding experience and they love you more than you know!
If you have just re-homed or are preparing to re-home a rescue dog and would like some guidance. Please contact Here Boy! Dog Training. I have spent a great deal of time working with rescue dogs and love seeing them succeed and thrive in new homes. Give us a call to have a chat about your dog and get some 1-2-1 sessions booked in to help you create the best possible relationship you can with your new furry friend.