So you just rescued, what now?

Tips for when you bring home a new rescue dog

You spent so much time researching your favourite rescues, hours upon hours reading those adorable bios and gazing upon all the loveable faces, and then you find them (or maybe they find you)! You fall in deeply in love and spend all your time thinking about what life will be like with that new critter in your life. You painstakingly fill out that application, leaving out no detail, crossing all your fingers and toes that you are chosen as the right fit for that sweet angel of a dog to come to find its ‘furever’ home with you! And then it happens, you get the call, and they are YOURS!! So now what?

Here are four tips to keep in mind when bringing home the newest love of your life!

1. Give them time to decompress!


Even though you have spent so much time and energy researching, reading, applying, and falling so in love with that little photograph, your new baby has only just met you!

You may be tempted to take them everywhere to show them off, but new adoptees need time to settle into their new surroundings, smells, and people.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘to you, your dog is a part of your world, but to your dog, you are their entire world’, so you can imagine how overwhelming it would feel to adjust to a whole new world!’

It can take upwards of a month for your new dog to really settle in, so when you bring home a rescue give them lots of chill time around the house with your family before introducing too many new people and places. Keeping walks familiar and in your neighborhood is a great idea. No matter their past, this is a fresh start with you and the time to establish what their new life is going to look like! So this is the perfect time to build trust, love, and new manners and boundaries around the home.

2. Introduce a nutritious diet! 


Good health starts from the inside out!

Switching your new adoptee over to a high-grade kibble or raw food diet is a great idea to start them off on the right foot. Just like humans, poor nutrition can lead to too many problematic physical and behavioral symptoms. So switching them over slowly to better nutrition can bring about many positive shifts!

When switching kibbles, start by mixing a ratio of 75% old kibble with 25% new for two to three days, move to a 50/50 ratio for another two to three days, and taper out with 75% new and 25% old for a couple of days, always monitoring for tummy upsets!

Remember if switching from kibble to a raw diet, never mix the two as they are digested at different rates! You can switch ‘cold Turkey’ onto raw, or if you feel more comfortable you can start by feeding one meal, perhaps breakfast with raw, and dinner with some kibble!

Pro tip: When you bring home a rescue, hand-feed meals to build a strong bond and trust! There are many games that also teach impulse control by hand-feeding as well. (For raw, freeze small balls for cleaner hand feeding)

3. Create a grooming routine!


Ever seen the way a dog struts their stuff after a fresh grooming?? I sure have!

Giving your dog a little home grooming can help them feel refreshed and help them reset. This is a great time to ensure you create a positive experience with tons of high-value rewards!

It also lets you know where they are at for accepting body handling of teeth, ears, tail, and feet so that you can inform your groomer for future appointments. Regular brushing either daily or weekly, monthly nail trimming, and monthly baths are all part of keeping your dog in top health, so starting off right is key to building a trusting and loving experience for life!

4. Start your training journey!


Training is serious business!

No matter how much or little training you need adoptee has had in their life, you can always teach an old dog new tricks. Training really is all about learning to communicate with your dog, and is genuinely the quickest way to build connection and love! Sourcing out a force-free, positive reinforcement or R+ trainer in your area is a great place to start. Whether it’s a few lessons to learn some fun tricks like bows or spins, a fresh take on basic obedience for loose leash walking or a solid stay, or a more in-depth course to tackle some bigger challenges like reactive barking or resource guarding, investing in your dogs’ training from the start will only help to shape a happy balanced home life going forward!

Welcoming a new dog into your home is the best feeling in the world.

Though it can come with its own unique challenges, it is worth every ounce of energy input! The journey from finding your dog to bringing them home can be a long one, but truly it’s only just the beginning.  Remember, a dog’s past can never define their future with you, and with these few tips and tricks together you two can accomplish anything!

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