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How To Help a Rescue Dog Settle In

Words by: WAG Team

Published on: June 22, 2022
How To Help a Rescue Dog Settle In

Firstly, congratulations! You have chosen to adopt a new rescue dog. Adopting a dog into a new home means that you are giving them a chance for a new life. What an exciting time for both you and them. You are bringing a pet into the family, buying pet supplies and treats (we recommend our delicious range of natural dog treats of course!) and all that exciting stuff. But your new rescue is also going through a lot of changes. So let's talk a little about how to help a rescue dog settle in. 

Why should you adopt?

Adopting a rescue dog is a wonderful option. It is mutually beneficial in the way it can bring you and your new pet so much joy.

You are also providing the rescue with a new lease on life. They may have had a troubled past, lived in less than ideal circumstances, and didnt receive the love they truly deserve.

No matter how old the rescue, they are always worth adopting. Rescue dogs may need a little more patience and care, but building this special bond is always well worth it.

How do you go about adopting a rescue dog?

The first step is to figure out where you can find rescue dogs in your area. Most likely there is a pound or shelter nearby that you can go and look at. There will be plenty of doggos there that you can meet and greet to find the right fit for you. 

You will need to come in knowing how much time you will have to dedicate to caring for your new rescue friend. As different rescue dogs have varying levels of needs, some may require more care than others. Some may initially need you to be home all the time while they settle in. Factor this in when considering which rescue dog is right for you, and consider their history and level of care required. 

Another great avenue to adopt a rescue dog is heading online. RSPCA, PetRescue and SAFE rescue are great reputable organisations, with many success stories. Their websites offer information regarding how you can best help rescue dogs who are in different stages of life. This can help make your search easier. You can browse the range of rescue dogs, and then apply for one which you feel would be the best fit via a form application. 

How do you go about adopting a rescue dog

First, we start off with the bark-sics 

Once you successfully bring your new family member home, introduce them to the family slowly. One at a time, let your rescue dog smell the back of your hand and come to you at their own free will. There is a chance that there is little information available regarding the history of your new rescued furry friend. So be aware of any potential triggers and be gentle with them. 

Your new furry friend might be anxious and overwhelmed, so let them adjust in their own time. Your own stress will be innately picked up by your dog, so remain calm and composed, to facilitate and build trust. 

we start off with the bark-sics

Prepare your home

Ask the foster person/shelter if your new pup grew attached to anything while spending time with them, that way you can bring a familiar scent into the room. This might be a specific toy or blanket.

Purchase a good quality comfortable dog bed, one the right size for your rescue dog’s breed. Consider also purchasing an enclosed shelter or crate. Some canine companions prefer to be inside an inclosed space so they can shelter themselves when they feel nervous. 

You can also supply some dog toys to help your rescue settle in. Keep some blankets handy for them to cosy up in as well. 

Prepare your pack

Do you already have some pets? Or maybe small children around the house?

They will need to be prepared for your newly adopted family member. If you have other dogs, introduce them slowly and one at a time in a safe and mutual space. A great idea is to introduce your new rescue dog/s at the local park. Once acquainted, you can bring them home with you.

With children it can get a little tricky. Make sure they know to go slow and remind them to be gentle with your new furry friend.

Prepare your Doggo pack

Keep introductions calm

It is best that for the first few weeks you have a no new people policy. You friends might be so excited to meet your new adoptee, and that's completely understandable! However, your new pooch is going through a lot. It's best to give them time to adjust to you and your pack before introducing outside stresses. 

When is it finally time for those exciting introductions to happen, ask your friends and family to sit on a couch or the floor and let your new pooch do the talking. They will come and meet them when they're ready. 

Keeping doggo calm

Establishing mealtimes

When it comes to the feeding your new furry friend, it is best to check with the shelter/foster contact providing care before you. Feed them exactly what they did before slowly transitioning to a new food. Swapping foods too quickly can turn your new furry friend off their food entirely, so keeping it familiar is always best.

It is always good to keep meals simple, starting with dry food if your dog is a puppy. You can transition them to wet foods, fruit and vegetables after about four months.

As for treats, try our WAG puppy pack! It has everything you need to get your new friend wagging their tail with excitement. 

Take the time to learn their history

When adopting a rescue, it is super important that you take the time to learn their history if you can. This will give you better insight into their habits, triggers, likes and dislikes, which can serve as a guide for you going forward. Always remember to be patient. Good things take time, and building that special bond with your new rescue will be incredibly rewarding.

Establish a routine

Routine is everything when it comes to settling your new rescue doggo. Set meal times at the same time each day, at the same time, go on walkies at the same time, and have bonding time at the same time. This will allow your doggo to settle in faster and learn your family routine and habits. 

Establish a routine with doggo

Patience is the key! 

Be patient with your new family member. This is their new home, and hopefully forever home, let them adjust in their own time. 

Once you build that bond and trust with your new canine companion with your doggo, you can look into how to train your new puppy. This step can wait a little while though, don't rush this step before you're both ready for it. 

No matter how lengthy the steps may seem on paper, once you have your new family member with you, everything will make sense. This journey will be incredible and beautiful, after all, you are about to get a furry best friend.