How to Settle a Rescue Dog in their New Forever Home
important thing to remember is that your new dog doesn’t know immediately they
have been rescued! They have likely been bounced around between homes and
kennels before they came to you so it will take them time to know they are now
in their forever home. Generally, it’s advisable to follow the 3,3,3 rule. Here is some advice form our behaviourist, Kahla:
For the first three days your new dog will likely feel overwhelmed and anxious. Expect a few toileting accidents and mishaps! They may not want to eat or drink much initially either. They may bark a lot, jump up, mouth your arms or even growl.
The most important thing is to give them time to settle. Don’t invite everyone around to meet your new furry companion yet! Keep your home life quiet and consider playing some low level classical or reggae music as these have been proven to help dogs relax. Pet Remedy spray on soft furnishings and their bedding will help too. Don’t crowd your dog, let them just explore and acclimate to their environment by themselves. Consider leaving their lead attached, dragging on the floor so if they get themselves into trouble you can move them away without having to grab at their collar or body while they are feeling worried.
Keep walks quiet too. No heading straight to Whitmore Bay and letting them off lead the day you come home! Go for quiet sniffy walks in quiet areas. Sniffing reduces a dogs heart rates and releases feel good hormones. Do as much gentle exercise and sniffing as you can initially.
Overnight, it’s best to sleep downstairs with them for the first few nights. They have just come from a kennels surrounded by dogs and people and it can be frightening to suddenly be shut downstairs alone. If you want to use a crate get started with this as soon as you can.
Expect things to be chewed, pooped and pee’d on, some whinging, some barking and a lack of sleep!
After 3 weeks your dog should have started to get to know you and your routines. You can start to introduce them to friends and family and your dog should start to know their new name too. House training should be well and truly progressing by now.
This is also the time you will see any behaviour issues. In kennels, dogs are often so stressed they shut down and don’t show any issues they may have. It is very common for a dog to be assessed as non-reactive to start showing some reactivity at this stage. Contact the Dogs Home if you need any help with this.
It will have taken this long for your dog to realise this is his forever home. You will have started to develop a good relationship and bond by now and any niggles ironed out. They know your routines and a new ‘normal’ has been achieved.
Of course, it’s not an exact science, but generally speaking the initial stress lasts about 3 days, and chronic stress about 2-3 months. A dog who has been kennelled for longer will take longer to adjust.