Tips for Welcoming Your New Rescue Dog to the Family

July 31 is National Mutt Day, raising awareness about adopting mixed breed dogs! Did you recently adopt a rescue? If so, you might be wondering how you can help assimilate them into your household.

While adopting a new dog is always an exciting occasion, it’s not always easy. Your new furry family member is going through many changes, and it takes time to adjust. They might display behaviors you didn’t expect, but rest assured that it’s normal!

A good way to welcome a rescue into your home is to come up with a transition plan to help make the adjustment period as smooth and comfortable for them as possible.

In light of National Mutt Day, we want to encourage pet owners to adopt, not shop, and also offer helpful tips to remember when bringing a rescue home for the first time!

Don’t be shy- ask questions!

Not very rescue comes from a traumatic situation. Sometimes dogs are given up for adoption due to medical reasons, financial hardships, divorce, etc.

The point is that every dog comes from a different background, so it’s important to take the time and discuss this with the shelter staff to learn as much as you can. 

Even if the shelter doesn’t know much about the dog’s past, they can offer insight regarding how your rescue interacted with other dogs and humans during their stay at the shelter. 

This can help you understand your rescue’s behavior and help lay the groundwork for a socialization plan.

Take it slow

You are a proud new parent ready to show off your fur baby to friends and family- but take it slow! This is all new to your rescue, and while socialization is important, they need to build trust.

Start by taking short walks around the block, just the two of you. Leave the leash attached and take your pup around the house, letting them sniff and explore each room at their own pace.

Over time they’ll learn that this is home and you’re here to stay- then watch as they blossom!

Set goals

There’s no need to rush training. This makes things stressful for both of you. Instead, keep it simple by introducing three new experiences to your rescue each week.

Some ideas include:

  • Wearing a hat or glasses while feeding them
  • Introducing them to new environments
  • Introducing new noises, such as the garbage truck when it comes around the neighborhood

Remember to stay calm during these new experiences to further build trust and show your dog that these unexpected sights and sounds are OK.

Socializing with other dogs

It will take time, but patience and positive reinforcement are key. Once your dog is comfortable at home and on walks, following basic commands, you can start thinking about the dog park and daycare. 

Consistent socialization is also key to develop confidence and canine etiquette, and while consistency can be difficult to maintain in our busy lives, doggie daycare is an excellent option to give your furry friend a safe environment to play with other dogs and thrive.

If you think your rescue pup is ready, take them to the vet first to discuss your goals and ensure they are caught up on their vaccinations. If your dog has been working with a trainer, they’ll know if your dog is ready, too.

Start by visiting local doggie daycares in Jacksonville, FL, and letting your dog sniff around the new environment.  Daycare professionals will take the time to get to know your dog, and are there to help make the transition as comfortable as possible!

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