Rescue Stories: Tips on Welcoming a New Rescue Dog Into Your Home
Updated: Apr 20
According to ASPCA, approximately 2 million new rescue dogs are adopted every year. But, according to statistics by the American Humane, there is a 7 to 20% post-adoption return-to-shelter rate for dogs and cats.
The main reason dogs are returned to the shelter is because of “behavioral issues,” meaning unwanted behavior such as going potty inside, separation anxiety, digging or chewing, biting or jumping, food aggression, etc.
All these traits can be trained out with proper training. And that’s what Giselle from Team Fit & Go Pets is here to talk to you about today!
Hi, I’m Giselle!
My beloved Snoopy and me
First, congratulations on deciding to welcome a new rescue dog into your life! The joy of being able to provide a safe, loving home and family for a homeless pet compares like no other.
However, the whole process can be very stressful for your new four-legged bundle of joy. As a rescue mom myself, I’ve dealt with the struggle firsthand not too long ago, which is why I'm going to give you some tips on how to welcome a rescue dog into the family and home.
1. Prepare your home for your new rescue dog.
Before your rescue dog is brought home, you want to make sure you have ALL the essentials.
Before bringing my new rescue dog Rocky home, I bought…
ID tag with my information on it
A dog bed
For food, I'd ask the animal shelter or rescue organization what brand and flavor of food they feed their animals.
I bought the same dog food Rocky ate so he didn’t have an upset stomach from switching food the first week at his new home. Gradually, you’ll be able to see if that dog food is perfect for your pet and can switch it after consulting with your veterinarian.
You also want to make sure your yard is secure for when your rescue dog is brought home.
Chances are your rescue dog may not know how to sit, stay, and come. So it’s very important to use a leash while in your home to prevent your dog from running away or jumping the fence. A leash provides easy access for you to pull or grab to stop them.
I bought Rocky a crate because I wanted him to get used to being crated for when I needed to go to school or to run errands for the first few months as he adjusted to his new home. Here’s a great article on crate training from the Humane Society!
Last, you want to have a schedule and routine in mind for feeding and walking your rescue dog to implement as soon as possible. I opt for a more flexible schedule because there are other people in my household who can help feed and walk my rescue.
However, that doesn’t work for everyone. So considering the time you wake up, go to work, and come home is super important to schedule feeding times and walks.
2. Tackle behavior issues in your new rescue dog with training, time, and patience.
Adopted dogs are often returned to the shelter because of “behavioral issues,” such as jumping, biting, or going potty inside the house.
You can train all of these traits out of your new rescue dog! It just takes time and patience.
Remember, these dogs have been surrendered, confiscated, or taken from the streets. They’ve faced trauma we can’t even imagine. And it’s understandable why a new rescue dog can be aggressive and anxious in the beginning.
So it is important to tackle their issues as soon as possible and be patient in doing so. You can ask the adoption center if any known issues have already been identified, and from there, you can begin training your dog yourself or hire a professional trainer!
3. Set up a vet appointment for your new rescue dog.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially with the health of your dog.
Even if your new furbaby seems in perfect condition, there can be underlying issues – such as ear infections and skin infections – that you may not have noticed. The good thing is some vet offices offer a free first office visit for your dog (even cats).
If you need a recommendation for a local vet, ask Fit & Go Pets staff members - we can send you in the right direction since we know many animal specialists in Miami, Florida, and the surrounding areas!
4. Be patient and understanding as your rescue dog adjusts to its new home and family.
It takes newly rescued dogs an average of 4-6 weeks for their personality to shine through. But it may take longer than that!
Like I said before, these dogs have faced things we can’t understand. You and your rescue both need to learn to trust each other. And it takes time to do that.
To help build a relationship with your new rescue dog, here are some tips:
Let your new dog come to you for attention and affection. Don’t be forceful with the love and affection and the toys during the beginning.
Allow your rescue dog to open up to you because they want to, not because you’re constantly giving them love, even when it seems they don't want it. You want to make sure your relationship with your dog begins with respect, love, and affection.
Give your rescue dog a space they can call their own in your home. Put their bed in a nice, calm, cozy, and quiet area that is theirs and theirs alone. This way they can have a safe space to heal, adjust, and come out of their shell.
Enjoy the joy and excitement, the stress and overwhelmingness, and the love from adopting your rescue dog!
Allow both your dog and yourself to get used to the new way of living. It will take time. But it is all worth it when you think about the amazing, spoiled, carefree life you are able to provide for your adopted furbaby.
If you need help with training or are looking for a groomer or doggy daycare, check out Fit & Go Pets services. We’re on NW 24th Street in Miami. See you and your rescue dog soon!
From my rescues to yours, Zeus (left) Rocky (right)