“Treat your new rescue dog like a 2-year-old child, and you’ll make friends fast,” says Jean Smith, coordinator of Collie Rescue of the Carolinas. “It is important to establish right away that this is his or her new home and a foundation of on-going comfort, safety, love and that they will now be part of your ‘pack’ family, whether a pack of ‘2’ or more.”
- Discover All You Can About Your New Best Friend– Ask for and gather information (behaviors and characteristics) from the foster person, rescue or shelter people that have handled and spent time with your new adoption. Initially try to ‘mirror’ the routine as closely as possible while slowly changing it to your lifestyle. It will take 3-6 months for your dog to fully adjust. Your dog has had a lot of traumatic moments on many levels, so be considerate and reduce massive changes.
- Write Down A List of Responsibilities– Who, What, Where, When and How will your new dog be looked after? Who will feed, walk and sleep with the dog every day and night? Are they allowed on the furniture? Are there areas in the house and yard that are ‘off limits’? Make sure everyone enforces limits consistently.
- A Visit to Your Local Vet is a Must– A complete check up with your veterinarian is important. Keep records of their health, needs, musts and preventive care. We guess you will spay/neuter your dog.
- Start Your Life Together 24/7-Try to bring your new dog home when you can commit to staying and being available for the first 72 hours. For the first two days, let only immediate family have contact with them. If you have other pets in your household, introduce them outside where they have space to discover each other [on leashes] and under your supervision.
- Create a Quiet, Easy, Safe & Secure New Environment– If your dog has been sleeping in a crate or small space you may want to continue making a crate available, which often gives them a sense of ‘safety’.
- Plenty of Short Walks & Potty Breaks– Your new dog may have spent a lot of time in a confined space. Taking them for short leashed walks, especially half an hour after feeding or drinking will really help create a habit of doing to the bathroom outdoors away from home. Always leash them and take them outdoors from the same door. Praise them and clean up any indoor ‘mistakes’ with vinegar.
- Numerous Quiet Walks, Don’t Sit Around– Your dog needs to run and play, discover and feel safe on a leash. These times together will quickly bond the two of you and establish a healthy relationship with each new day. Establish a healthy lifestyle together.
- Enroll in Obedience Classes– Even if your dog already knows the basics, establishing leadership between you two will be important, and local obedience classes are a great experience for both of you and establish your ‘Alpha’ leadership when you are both around other dogs. Do NOT enroll for at least 6-8 weeks as your dog has enough adjusting to do. Learning together establishes you as the leader.
- Keep Them Leashed– Don’t let your dog run free unless it is in a safe enclosed yard.
- Be Patient– Give your dog time to adjust to their new life. It is important to see your dog adjusting to you, your lifestyle, all the new surroundings, and your schedule.