How First-Time Rescue Owners Can Make Their Dog’s Transition as Smooth as Possible

If you’ve never owned a dog before, bringing home a rescue pet from the pound or local animal humane society can be quite an eye-opener. Most rescue dogs turn out to be sweet, loyal pets – but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some period of adjustment that you and your new pal have to get through together. Here are some tips for making your rescue dog’s transition as smooth as possible.

Limit their space at first

If you’ve never had a pet before, you may think that your cute little buddy will be happier if you let it have all the freedom its heart desires. Sure, it seems logical. But when it comes to new dogs – especially rescue dogs, less is more. You need to set boundaries right off the bat, and by giving your dog a small place in your home to call their own, you can ease some of the stress they will feel in their new environment. You can use baby gates to create a small, safe space, or you can crate train your new dog. Crate training is a good way to housetrain your dog, and it also keeps your dog safe from any dangers in the home and your home safe from a dog that may like to chew, scratch, or otherwise tear things up.

Learn their personality before introducing them to strange people and places

You don’t know what kind of life your rescue dog had before you found them. Chances are, it was a stressful life. If a dog is at a shelter, it’s highly likely that it was either found as a stray or given up by its previous owner. You can be pretty sure that its life, up to now, has been less than ideal. Don’t be tempted to have a big party or have a bunch of people over to see your new dog. Don’t immediately run off to the dog park. Ease your dog into social situations. As suggests, give yourself at month or so to figure out what your dog likes and dislikes. Let it get comfortable with you and its new home before you add extra commotion to its life.

Focus on exercise

Dogs are active creatures – even the less-active breeds still need exercise. You may have heard that a tired dog is a good dog. While this isn’t always the case, it’s right more often than not. A dog filled with pent-up energy will release that energy in unhealthy ways if tt’s not given the opportunity to exercise and play. It’s vital that you walk your dog every single day. If you’re going to be busy at work or out of town, you should consider hiring a dog walker. Even on rainy days, you need to make sure your rescue dog gets its fair share of physical activity. Here are some tips for exercising your dog indoors.

Assume your dog is starting from square one

One way to get off on the wrong foot with your new dog is to assume it knows things that it doesn’t. Assume that your dog needs to be trained from the ground up. Start with basic commands and work your way up to more complicated instructions. Assume that your rescue dog may have problems with housetraining. Be patient. This is a fresh start for your dog – treat it as such.

By choosing to rescue a dog, you’ve made a decision that is improving two lives. If you’re patient, most rescue dogs will acclimate to their new surroundings and turn into great companions. Be kind, understanding, and know that there may be an adjustment period. Take it slow, don’t ask too much of them at the start, limit their space, and focus on getting them enough exercise. If you do this, you’ll be well on your way to creating a lifelong bond with your new pet.

Photo Credit:

Author: Jessica Brody (