Giving A Rescue Dog A Happy Home

Providing a rescue dog with a good home can be very rewarding for both you and the dog.  It's so easy to visit the centre and choose the cutest dog, but always have a good look around, and ask about the history of the dogs.  If you find out that a dog has never been left alone and you know you'll be out at work all day, it's best not to choose that dog. There will be someone else who can give them a loving home.

Some owners prefer a dog with no problems, while others will put the time and effort in to helping a dog who was previously abused. While it can be upsetting finding out that the dog you like may not be the right one for you, it's better to know before you take them home. It can be even more upsetting having to return the dog if you can't cope.

 If you already have a dog,  it's a good idea to bring them to the animal shelter to meet your new dog before you actually take them home. If there's instant dislike, you may have to reconsider. It's important for you, your dog and your new friend, that you get the perfect fit for your family.

Before you take them home

Prepare things before you go to collect your new dog. Decide where their bed will be and where they'll feed, and set this up ready. Check with the rescue centre what food you need to have in and get some toys as well.  

If you have any valuables, put them out of reach until your new dog has settle in.

When you get your dog home, show him around but keep him on a leash. They will be very unsure of things for a while, so take no chances with them running off.  

The first few days

For the first few days, it's a good idea to spend as much time with them as you can, so that they can get used to you and vice versa. You know you want to show them love, but they need time to realise that.

They may suffer anxiety separation if you leave them for too long, too soon as well. The more they realise that you're not going to leave them, the happier they will be.

Take them on short walks for a while, and always keep them on a leash. This allows you to get used to their behaviour and stops them chasing other dogs or simply running away.

Routine is important from day one. It shows them boundaries and gives them comfort that things won't change. After all they have already been in one home, then to a rescue home, and now they're with you. That can be unsettling for all of us, so show them some patience if they don't respond immediately.

A happy life

Nothing is more rewarding than providing a rescue dog with a new home, but it may require some effort on your part. It can be distressing to see abused dogs on the news, but often they are very friendly, trusting dogs who will make a great friend for you.

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