Bringing your rescue dog home

Apr 05, 2024
18 People Read
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Bringing home a rescue dog can be both an exciting and daunting experience. While you’re sure to have plenty of love in your heart for your newest family member, there are a few key things that you should keep in mind to ensure your pup’s transition into their new home is as smooth as possible.


 Safety first - Make sure that your dog is on a collar and leash that they cannot get out of. Use a martingale collar or a harness and the leash should be new.

Martingale collars are escape-proof nylon collars that tighten as dogs pull. If a dog spooks and tries to back out of the collar, it will tighten, and the dog will stay securely with the dog's handler.

Keep your dog on the leash while on the car ride home and every time the door to your house is opened for the first week.

Teaching your dog a command "Wait" at the door will stop them from bolting out the door every time it is opened. This command teaches them to wait for permission to go out the door.


Once you get home with your dog, take him immediately to his potty area. Spend at least 10 minutes letting him sniff around so he will get used to the area. Wait for him to relieve himself then give him lots of praise. (There should be NO corrections for accidents inside the house for the first week.)

For the first day, walk your new dog outside to their potty area every 30-60 minutes. 


​​​​​​​Remain calm and quiet around your dog for the first few weeks. Limit interactions, such as guest, neighborhood children and other dogs. If there are other animals in the home, keep existing pets separated from the new dog for at least 24 hours.

Your new rescue dog will take up to 3 months to acclimate to their new surroundings. Remember, there are new sites, sounds and smells to take in. Do not rush it!


The 3 - 3 - 3 rule is a general guideline, every dog is unique and will adjust differently. Give your dog space and allow him to go at his own pace.


​​​​​​​3 Days to decompress - In the first 3 days, your new dog will be overwhelmed with his new surroundings. He will not be comfortable enough to be himself. Don't be alarmed if he doesn't want to eat for the first couple of days, many dogs don't eat when they are stressed. He may shut down and want to curl up in his crate or under a table. He may be scared and unsure what is going on and what is expected of him. Or he may be the opposite and test you to see what he can get away with.


 3 weeks to learn your routine - After 3 weeks he's starting to settle in, feeling more comfortable and realizing this really may be his forever home. He has figured out his environment and getting into the routine that you have set. He lets his guard down and may start showing his real personality. ​​​​​​​Behavior issues may start showing, this is your time to be a strong leader and set rules and boundaries to stick to.


 3 months to start to feel at home - After 3 months, your dog is now completely comfortable in his home. You have built trust and a true bond with your dog, which gives him a complete sense of security with you. He is set in his routine and will come to expect his dinner at his usual time.


Recommended products for your rescue dog

Primal Pet Gear Dog Leash 6ft Long,Traffic Padded Two Handle,Heavy Duty,Reflective Double Handles Lead for Control Safety Training,Leashes for Large Dogs or Medium Dogs,Dual Handles Leads(Black)Primal Pet Gear Dog Leash 6ft Long,Traffic

NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Dog Supplement – Helps Promote Relaxation, Reduce Stress, Storm Anxiety, Motion Sickness for Dogs – Tasty Pet Soft Chews with Melatonin – 70 Ct.NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Dog



Advice and opinions provided here are the opinion of Dog Smart Atlanta and are not to be construed as legally binding in any way. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have a medical or legal concern, please contact a professional who can address the issue.

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