If you've recently adopted a rescue dog, congratulations! While there may be an adjustment period, in time, your new family member should be able to fit in perfectly. As with any new dog or puppy in the home, there are just a few tips to keep in mind:
- Remember that caring for rescue dogs takes a little extra patience in many cases. Most likely, your new pet has lived in at least two places before coming home and may be a little nervous about yet another move. To ease the transition, try to be consistent about where your dog sleeps, naps, eats, etc.
- If you haven't already done so, try to find out as much about the dog's past as possible. This may give you some insight into his or her likes and dislikes and, most importantly, possible fears. A dog that had a traumatic experience in the past can react differently to loud noises and other items.
- It's hard, but try not to dote on your pet too much. A new dog is always exciting, and owners tend to want to make rescue dogs feel safe and loved. But if you spend every waking minute with your new dog at first, you can create unwanted separation anxiety issues later.
- If you can, find out what kind of food the dog was eating at the shelter or foster home or wherever he or she lived before the adoption. Suddenly changing a dog's diet can lead to gastric distress, so be sure to switch to a new food slowly. At the beginning, put more of the old food in the bowl and add a small amount of new food. If the dog tolerates that well, you can put in less of the old and more of the new over a period of days until the dog has been weaned off the previous food. Also, if your pet comes home with tummy trouble, you may want to visit the vet. Nerves, parasites and food sensitivities are just some of the reasons for gastric problems.
- Caring for rescue dogs sometimes means being a problem solver. Watch your four-legged friend to see if he or she has socialization issues. Some rescue dogs weren't given a chance to meet and play with either other animals or people before arriving at your home. If your dog seems to be skittish or aggressive, you may want to find a local trainer who can help you solve those problems.
Once again, congratulations and thank you for taking in a rescue dog. While caring for rescue dogs may take a little extra patience, it also comes with its share of rewards. Give it time, and you should have a wonderful addition to your family!