Adopting a dog and giving them a safe home

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Guide to managing your pets at home

If you are planning on getting a dog, please think about getting a rescue dog. Like any new pet in a new environment they need support settling in but rescue dogs need some additional care until they are settled in. Remember, a dog never fails a person, but many times a person fails a dog.

  • Patience: One of the common reasons for dogs getting returned to adoption centres is because adopters go too fast. It is a very exciting time having your adopted dog come home, but it is also the time which is very hard for most dogs until they settle. Patience is key, please give both yourself and your new pet a chance to acclimatise to the new environment.

  • Decompression Support: Dogs need sleep to help settle.

    • Decompression for most dogs means being in a crate in a room without much activity until they feel settled. Plenty of sleep (12-16 hours a day) may help the dogs process, learn and settle more quickly.
    • Do not focus on making walking the dog the most important thing for the dog. Going outside is a whole new world with many more things to stress about with your new friend.
    • Some dogs have been through so much and could take days to decompress, weeks to settle and months to show it’s true self. The 3/3/3 rule is a general guideline which recommends at least 3 days to decompress, 3 weeks to settle and learn your routine and 3 months to start feeling at home. Every dog is different and will adjust differently.
  • Physical support: need easy to digest food little & often because their tummies are anxious. Do not switch to cheaper food, the gut is connected to the brain and behaviour.

  • Safety support: some of the rescue dogs are very afraid and need the owners to make sure doors and gates are secure to keep safe at least while they are settling down.

    • Rescue dogs may be watching the front door. Keep them safely away when opening the door as they can scoot past you in seconds.
    • Use a harness, have a collar and a tag - rescue dogs may frequently try to escape especially during a walk.
    • Even when out in a garden with a fence, keep a long lead for a while. Don’t leave the dog unattended as they may try to escape by digging a hole in the garden or through a bush.
  • Stress support: dogs need plenty of quiet time with space & patience to get their bearings. Avoid flooding the dog with too much toys, freedom, attention and treats while the dog is settling down.

  • Independence Support: dogs can over attach easily, leaving them in their safe room for very short periods regularly each day can help them to cope.

  • Anxiety support: dogs can’t cope with access to too much space and stuff. It can make them anxious & protective of things.

  • Environment support: dogs can get overwhelmed with lots of strange new faces all staring at them and trying to touch them. Ensure there is

  • Self soothing support: use simple activities that dogs can lick sniff or chew while they are settling.

  • Adapt: each dog is different, spend time learning more about your new dog. What you knew best and deciding your way is better because you previously had dogs might not work with your new dog.

  • Expectation Don’t expect your dog to get along perfectly with your children and/or other pets in your home from week 1. Wait a while before testing if your dog can eat next to your existing pets or share bowls with them.


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