5 tips for introducing a rescue dog to your home
There are many reasons why a pooch might end up in an animal rescue centre.
They may have been part of an unwanted litter, a stray, they could have been rescued from a bad breeder, or maybe their previous owner has died, become ill or run into financial problems.
Whatever the reason, it’s fair to say that many of the tens of thousands of canines that end up in shelters each year haven’t had the best start in life.
If you decide to adopt a dog, you’re essentially giving them a chance to start afresh.
You’re agreeing to give them a loving, forever home with you and your family.
If you decide to adopt, one of the first things you need to do is take out quality dog insurance.
Go Get It compares quotes from leading, specialist providers on your behalf, helping you to find the cover that offers the best protection, for the best price for you.
Dog insurance will protect your pooch if he or she becomes injured or ill, covering vet costs so you can focus on nursing them back to full health.
Aside from taking out quality dog insurance, here are five useful tips on introducing a rescue dog to your home.
Preparation is key
Whether you’re bringing home a pup, an angsty teen or a fully-fledged adult, you need to dog-proof your home.
This is likely to involve things like removing anything that could be dangerous to your pooch (think small kids’ toys or certain plants), storing away items that are valuable and/or could be mistaken for chew toys, and finally getting round to fixing the hole in your fence so that your new canine can’t escape!
You’ll also need to take a trip to your local pet store and load up on toys and accessories for your new pal.
Included on your list should be things like bedding, leads, food and water bowls, collars and toys. Take a look at our guide here for a full list.
When you’re all stocked up on doggy essentials and feel ready for their arrival, it helps to have a final check of your house.
Go into every room you’re going to allow your dog to go in and think, ‘Is this fully dog-proofed’?
What to do on pick-up day
The day is finally here!
No doubt you and your family will be incredibly excited to pick up your new pooch.
But the experience can be very stressful for a dog, particularly one that’s lived in a rescue centre or a different home for some time.
So, the key is to be cool, calm and composed – the same goes for your kids if you have any, too.
After you’ve safely transported your pooch home – using a car crate or harness and making sure you stop regularly if it’s a long trip – the remainder of the day should be uneventful, explains Rescue Dogs 101.
Don’t be tempted to invite people over, as your pooch barely knows who you are yet!
What’s important is that you designate a space where your furry friend can ‘decompress.’ Set up a cosy bed inside of a doggy crate and place it in a quiet room.
You needn’t shut the door on the crate when your pooch is in there, but at least it gives them somewhere to relax if they want to.
Pedigree says that the first thing you should do when you get home is take the dog to the area you want them to go to the toilet.
Stay there until they go, and then praise them when they do – this will encourage them to go back to the same spot next time.
The next few days – stick to the rules!
With the first day over and done with, you need to make sure you’re consistent with the rules you set your new dog – for instance, where they’re allowed to go and where they’re not!
The same goes for feeding time. Don’t be tempted to feed your dog on demand, because that will delay establishing a good feeding routine.
Instead, set feeding times and stick to them.
As Pedigree notes, you should keep your pooch on the same diet given to you by the rescue centre for the first few days, then gently wean them off the food by mixing it with half of the new food over five days to a week.
Master doggy recall
Don’t let your new dog off the lead in public until you’ve mastered the art of recall in a secure area (like your back garden).
Recall is a key part of the bonding process.
As Dogs Trust Dog School notes, ‘to teach good recall your dog needs to learn that coming back to you is always a good thing.’
The website shares a useful guide to teaching your dog recall – here’s a recap of the points:
- Choose a ‘cue word’ that you’ll only use for recall – it should be short and sharp, like ‘come’ or even a whistle.
- In your garden or another secure space, load your pocket with tasty treats, call your dog’s name and the recall cue, and take a step back. Every time they return to you, praise them and give them a treat.
- Gradually step further and further away from your pup, and increase the number of distractions you call them away from.
- Use a harness with a long line during training. Let your dog move away from you and then use your cue to call them back. If they ignore you, guide them gently with the long line and reward them once they reach you.
- Make an extra fuss when your dog returns to you without any guidance, as this will help them to make a positive association with coming when called.
Essential doggy admin
Pedigree notes that after a week with your new furry friend, you should get them registered with your chosen local vet.
This is a good opportunity to talk about future veterinary treatment – don’t forget to take your dog’s vaccination certificate along with you.
Many rescue centres change the details of your dog’s microchip automatically, but you should always double check this.
Whether your rescue dog is big or small, a pedigree or crossbreed, we can compare dog insurance policies to find the best price for you.
There are policies that cover pooches from eight weeks old, with a range of cover levels available, including accident only and lifetime cover. Get a free, no obligation quote today!