In the flurry following the arrival of a new puppy or adult dog into a home, it is easy to miss important steps in helping your dog feel at ease and comfortable in his new surroundings and with your family. Remember that a rescue dog needs a lot of patience, routine and training.
Bringing a rescue dog home
For the first few days, you may want to crate your new dog whenever you leave the house, or at least give him a blanket or towel to make his ‘den.’ A crate will help keep your new pet from chewing your furniture and will give him a safe place to settle down and rest. When you leave your dog for the first few times keep it short and build it up so that your dog gets used to it.
If he is in a small room, such as a laundry room or bathroom, cover the floor with papers or towels until he gets used to his surroundings and learns where to pee.
After about four to five days, keep him crated for short periods. Do not leave the house for more than an hour at a time. Feed your dog before you leave him in his crate.
Every day, after your dog has eaten and taken a nap, take him out of his crate and do ‘house training.’ To house train, spend one minute every 10 minutes or so playing with him outside the crate, using food treats and praise to get his attention while he gets used to going outside of his den.
Introduce the Rest of the Family
It is also important to introduce your dog to everyone in the house, so have each family member play with him one at a time and get him comfortable with everyone.
Make sure that he feels comfortable in his crate. This will help when you leave him home alone. After about a week, remove the blanket or towel and work on making it a fun place for him to be by playing with toys and treats and lots of praise inside of it.
Socialization is very important. The more comfortable your dog is with people, dogs, and other animals the more comfortable he will be meeting new situations. For example, when a visitor arrives at the house, take your new pet and go for a walk together so that he can meet other dogs and people. If you do not want to do this in public places, let him sniff around at homes or yards where there are other dogs.
Even though your new pet is a rescue dog, it is not likely that he is house trained and crate trained. This means that you will have to start these important training steps all over again.
Take your dog out into public places like stores or auto shops on a leash to help him learn good behavior.
It may take several weeks of work with consistent training before your new dog learns his basic obedience commands, like sit, down, stay and leave it.
Remember that bringing a rescue dog home is a big committment. A rescue dog may have been abused and so needs an abundance of love and food. As a general rule it can take up to three months for a rescue dog to settle in, so be patient and give him or her that time.
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