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Adopting a rescue dog can be such an exciting time! You just can't wait to play with them, go walking or hiking with them, maybe even take them to the beach! In time, your new dog is just going to love all the activities you have planned, but in the very beginning it is important to make sure that you give them the time that they need to adjust to their new life.


When you adopt a dog they have no idea that you are their new family or that the place you bring them is their new home. Everything can be a little confusing for them, and in the case of a rescue pet they might not have experienced may things that most other pets have. The may have never lived inside a house, never had toys, a collar, or walked on a lead. They may have never eaten out of a bowl or slept in a soft, plush dog bed curled up in a blanket. This isn't to say that in time they won't come to love all of these things, but it will all be very new and strange for them in the beginning.


We would like to share with you our 7 tips for settling your new rescued family member in and setting them up for success!


1. Feeding routine

Find out what food the rescue was feeding your dog. Keep them on this food for the next few weeks while they are settling into their new life. Then do your research and put them onto the most suitable food for them. They have so many changes going on at once that changing their diet too can be an absolute disaster. Also, try to establish a proper routine with feeding so that your dog can feel reassured in the knowledge that food will always be coming at the same time and they will never have to starve again.


2. Potty Routine

Pick a spot for your dog to go to toilet and bring them over to that spot time and time again throughout the day. Praise them when they use it. Some dogs have never lived in a house before and should be treated like puppies when it comes to potty training. Set them up for success by bringing them out often and then follow up with praise every time they go potty.


3. Crate Training

Crate training is amazing for rescue dogs. Crates are very den-like and provide your dog with a safe space they need. Crates can be a huge comfort to dogs and can be a place where they can decompress. The crate becomes a safe spot for your dog, where they can go when they feel stressed or anxious.


4. Remember the Rule of Three

The Rule of Three should be observed and loosely applied to all rescue dogs. The Rule of Three just outlines the inner journey that your dog will go through when they are adopted by their new family. The rule is that they take 3 days to decompress, 3 weeks to really start to understand where they are and 3 months before they really know for sure that they are home. Again, every dog is different, so these should be applied loosely but it is a general overall guide for all rescue dogs.


5. Bathing your dog

If your new dog is a little on the smelly side, you might be tempted to give them a bath, but try to hold off as long as you can. Most rescues have never been bathed before so wait until they have settled a little into your home before you try them with a bath. You also don't want to scare them or overwhelm them so early on, and then there is also a chance that they may never want a bath again. Again, every dog is different and some might be absolutely fine with it but err on the side of caution.


6. Appointments

Apart from a vet appointment if necessary, try not to book your dog into any appointments until they have settled with you more. By this we mean grooming appointments, training classes (unless really necessary, otherwise give them a little time to decompress first), agility or other sports classes and so on. They are already having a hard enough time adjusting as it is, and you don't want to overwhelm them with even more experiences.


7. Pet proofing

Again most of your new dogs will have never lived in a home before, so set them up for success by pet-proofing your home for them.

Check out our 8 Tips for Pet-Proofing Your Home post on this page!

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