Congratulations! Thank you for choosing to adopt!
We would like to help make the process as smooth as possible for you and your new friend. All the dogs that we rescue are saved from kill-lists, so they have naturally endured stress and uncertainty in their lives. Our foster homes create a safe and loving environment for them, but they will take some time to decompress after their stressful experience in the terrifying pound environment.
Here are some tips on how to best settle your new best friend into their furever home: When adopting a dog, the first month or so is very important for setting up your new family member for success. The first days and weeks should be used to establish a strong bond between you and your dog, let them settle in and navigate their new home, and create healthy routines.
Prepare for the New Arrival
It’s natural for your dog to feel anxious when you bring them home. Remember, these pups have been saved from a pound or shelter, which can be an extremely stressful environment and very different to their new home. They have then been taken to their foster home, which definitely helps them decompress and settle, but lots of change in their little lives takes time to fully relax and be themselves.
Some basic preparation can help your dog to feel more relaxed. Make sure you buy a high-quality dog bed, plenty of fun toys to keep them stimulated, and other essential items. It’s also a good idea to find a quiet space to put their bed, so your dog has a place to rest without being disturbed.
It’s also vital that the garden and home are secured. Check for any gaps in hedges or broken fence panels, as an adopted dog is at risk of trying to run away. Make sure any toxic plants are removed from both the garden and house.
Let Your Dog Settle In
When you adopt a new pet, you can expect that he or she will need time to adjust and acclimatise to their new environment. It is perfectly normal that they will be scared, uncertain and shy at first. The amount of time that your dog takes to decompress is very indiviual. We usually say it takes 2 weeks, but some dogs are more sensitive and scared, and can take longer. Once your new dog feels more comfortable, you will start to see their personality shine through.
“Understand that the [new] dog may be timid in his or her new surroundings and may not show all of their normal play behaviour or other personality characteristics at first.” Dr. Megan E. Maxwell
Keep Introductions Calm
Ideally, an adopted dog should meet all members of the family before you bring them home. This includes any other dogs you have at home. Even if your dog has already met the family, it’s important that the first interactions in the home are calm and quiet. Too much excitement can be stressful and difficult for your dog to cope with.
To avoid unnecessary anxiety, ask family members to sit down quietly. Allow the dog to approach them when they feel ready and give them space when they move away. This can be difficult for children, so try to explain why a calm introduction is important. Reward your dog with treats and praise for calm behaviour.
Note: Be extra careful when introducing your pet to other dogs. It’s best to do so in a neutral environment, such as a local park with lots of space. Allow your dogs to greet each other in their own time – don’t force interactions.
Pay Attention to Rules and Advice
Some dogs have behavioural issues and while these can be improved through positive training techniques, this takes time and patience. The stress of moving home can also temporarily worsen a dog’s issues.
We will inform you of any behavioural issues your dog has. We will recommend ways to handle them, including management strategies. It’s vital to take this advice seriously.
If your pet has issues with resource guarding, for example, don’t be tempted to “test” whether you can take away a toy. If you’ve been told that they are defensive around other dogs, don’t invite a friend over with their pet. Ignoring the our advice is a common reason for dogs being returned.
Establish Structure and Routine
Dogs thrive on consistency and routine. The faster you establish this for your dog, the faster they’ll settle in.
Providing structure and routine is a great way to help your dog smoothly transition into their new home.
We strongly recommend regular times for feeding, grooming and play.
Delay Guests until your Dog is more Settled
It’s natural to want friends and family to meet your new dog. Many of them will also be desperate to say hello to your new canine companion! Unfortunately, greeting strangers is a stressful experience for a dog, even if they might appear happy and excited at the time. For this reason, avoid having guests until your dog is more settled in their new home. This allows the dog time to bond with their new family and learn the routine.
Slowly Transition to New Dog Food
When you adopt a dog, you will need to properly transition them to the dog food you plan to feed them regularly.
Find out which food your dog was eating at their foster home, so you can buy the same brand and type. While you may want to change their food, this can cause stomach upsets if you do so too quickly. Instead, gradually change their food over the course of a week or two, so the dog’s digestive system has time to adapt.
We recommend the following brands as their dry foods provide a balanced diet:
Royal Canin, Hills Science Diet or Advance.
When transitioning any pet to a new diet, it’s best to do it slowly—over the course of 5-7 days—to prevent gastrointestinal upset.
Ensure your dog(s) have enough stimulation
We all want our dogs to be happy and enjoy their lives, so be sure to provide your cat with:
• adequate exercise
• places for sleeping
• toys and chews for stimulation
• fresh drinking water and food
It can take months for a rescue dog to feel fully settled into their new home, especially if they’ve had negative experiences in the past. Be patient during the settling in period, as becoming frustrated will just make life more difficult for your dog.
It’s also important to remember that all dogs are different. Some might want to explore their new home and investigate their new family members. Others may just want to lay down and sleep. Whatever your dog’s personality, the key is to provide a relaxed, loving and calm environment.
Gaining the trust of a rescue dog requires patience and a lot of love – but it’s worth the effort.
Your puppy may have recently been desexed and need sutures removed. If this is the case, we will tell you what date the sutures need to be removed. You can take your dog to one of our vets or your local vet to remove them, or you could remove them yourself. Watch this video to find out more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMMsh70czDo
Got a Question? Get in touch!
If you have any questions or concerns about your new dog's behaviour, please do not hesitate to contact your adoptions co-ordinator. When you adopt from us, we are there to support you and the animals forever. 1 week, 6 months, 10 years - it doesn’t matter. We made a promise to protect the animals and we will always uphold that promise.