Congratulations on saving a dog who would otherwise have had a very uncertain future. Rescues and Shelters everywhere are temporarily homing many great dogs, they are just waiting for the right person to come along and save them!
House Rules – Dogs are pack animals. They thrive on good leadership and it is vital to create a harmonious household. Your dog needs to know that you are the boss and that you will stick to the rules you have put in place.
Get Everyone on board – If it’s just you and your new fur buddy it’s easier to follow your own rules, but if your household consists of a partner, kids or housemates it’s important that everyone is on the same page. Make sure everyone knows the rules. Is the dog allowed on the couch, the bed, and in all rooms of the house? Where will your dog sleep and eat? Who will walk the dog and clean up after him? As a household you must all be consistent with your decisions or you will cause your dog to become confused, usually resulting in the dog making the rules, and let’s be honest they don’t always make the best choices!
Get ready before your dog arrives – Organise ID tags (like the Bark Busters WaggTagg™), a collar, a 2-meter lead, a recall lead (your dog may not have been off lead before or know to come back), dog toys such as the Game Changer®, bedding and a basic grooming kit. Also think about what food you will feed your dog. There are many benefits of feeding raw, natural food, so seriously consider researching this option. Take into consideration what your dog has been fed in the shelter or foster home and be aware that a transition period may be necessary if you are changing his diet.
On the day – Take your dog for a walk to wear him out a little. This is a great bonding exercise and will give you the opportunity to establish your leadership early on.
It’s a good idea to limit your dog to one area in the home – This helps to avoid over whelming your dog with everything at once. They are going through many changes so keeping things simple helps them adjust. Try to spend as much time as you can with your new best friend in the early days. This will help him to become more comfortable in his new home.
Keep you dog on lead for the first few weeks – A lot of the time we don’t know all of the history behind a rescue dog. By keeping him on lead you are protecting him and are able to allow him to experience things like the park, birds, cats, and other dogs while still maintaining control.
Don’t leave your new rescue dog alone with your existing pets until you have been able to observe how they interact with them over a period of time.
Sometimes accidents happen – Your dog is in new territory and establishing a routine. They can sometimes mark or toilet in the house while they are settling in. Be patient and set a good routine for them. Further information will be available from the shelter, vet, or your local Bark Busters trainer.
Dogs like having a den – A crate set up in a quiet part of the home can be a great option for your dog to retreat to when needed. They are like us and sometimes just need to chill out.
Health checks – Most dogs that come through a rescue or shelter have already been seen by a vet and neutered/spayed. In the first week its good to visit you vet for a health check and arrange your dog to be de-sexed if that hasn’t already been done.
In the first few days limit your visitors – This can over whelm your dog and confuse them as to who is in their pack. When you do have visitors get them to help you by not encouraging un-wanted behaviours and not paying them attention until they have calmed down.
Get guidance for training your dog as soon as possible. A well-trained dog is easier to have around and you can take them more places with you. Contact Bark Busters to find your local trainer and how we can help you.
It is amazing how quickly they learn. Dogs communicate in their own language and once we understand it, we can communicate better with them.
Thank you for bringing home a rescue dog. Your patience and training will help to create a bond that will reward you both for years to come. With the right balance of consistent rules, understanding and affection, your rescue dog will become a loyal grateful and loving companion.
by Catharina – Bark Busters Southwest, WA