Needless to say, bringing home your rescue dog is an exciting time! It’s important to keep in mind, however, that as exciting it is for you, your new friend is also feeling the excitement. So much so that it may be overwhelming for them. Here are some tips to ensure for the calmest possible transition for your new dog.
Prior to your rescue dog’s arrival, you will want to dog-proof your home. While new dog owners realize this is a necessary step with a puppy, this can be overlooked for a rescue dog.
However, there will be training necessary in bringing home your rescue dog. For instance, they may have no training or experience at being inside a home before. Rather than look at this as a task to be completed, see training or housebreaking as a time to bond with your new rescue dog.
It’s a good idea to section off a smaller portion of your home with baby gates or similar boundaries before you bring your rescue dog home.
Sectioning off the home will limit stimulations, so your rescue dog will have an easier time settling in. In this space, make sure you
remove anything that could be unsafe. Replace these unsafe items with fun ones: Have some toys ready so you can introduce your rescue dog to the world of play, which they may have never experienced before.
On the big day, make sure you have a dog crate in the car as well as a leash to get them from the car to your door. You don’t know how their anxiety is with car rides or new places, so it is best to be prepared. When you arrive home with your new dog but before you go inside, let
them explore the yard. If they use the bathroom, give them encouragement so they know to use the lawn in the future.
Going inside, let your new dog explore the space you have prepared. Don’t call or overexcite them. Let them come to you and your family. If they do approach, you can give them a treat. As they enjoy the treat, talk in a calm, welcoming voice.
Rather than introduce your dog into a silent, unfamiliar environment, play some relaxing music as you welcome your new rescue dog into your home. A study done in the scientific journal Physiology & Behavior tested classical music. They found that dogs’ stress levels reduce
with this calming background noise versus silence.
Not only might it calm them initially, the study also found that “the dogs become habituated to the calming effects of music as soon as the
second day of exposure,” so not only will it ease the transition, it can help keep your rescue dog relaxed and comfortable in the longer term as well.
As your dog becomes accustomed to their space, begin to go about your daily routines as usual, but try not to make any loud banging or crashing noises during the transition period. Some dogs may warm up to their new home quicker than others, so it is up to you to keep a close eye on how the adjustment is going.
Your dog will slowly settle into your routine. They will begin to shift to their new feeding time, a new time for play and exercise, and a new bedtime. Keep in mind, though, that it is a big shift from the rescue home to the forever home. It may take some time for them to become house trained.
Remember, be patient, train them calmly and consistently, and praise them when their training is going well. Given time, your new rescue dog will adapt to their new environment, allowing them to trust and bond with you.