We love all rescue dogs and are excited that you are ready to love a new dog too. These tips are to help make this a smooth transition and ensure long-term success.
Get a good collar that fits properly and an ID tag with your name, number and address on it. Make sure your dog is microchipped and that the registration information is current. Keep a leash on your dog at all times at first, even in the house. If you need to correct the dog it’s better to simply pick up the leash rather than yelling “NO” like a lunatic while lunging at the dog and grabbing his collar.
Give your new dog a calm environment, create a schedule for eating and walking. Introduce new rooms in the house, parts of the yard, other environments, people, children and animals slowly. A new dog can become overwhelmed. If there is another dog in the house, take up all food and toys. Feed them separately until you trust that there are no food issues.
NEVER leave a dog unattended in the yard under any circumstance when you first take him home, no matter how secure you think the yard is. Follow the “if this was my 18 month old baby” rule. Would you leave your 18 month old child alone in the yard while you went inside to take a shower? No. Would you leave your 18 month old child in the car while you went into the coffee shop? No. You get the idea.
Be vigilant about open doors and gates. It takes only seconds for a new dog to bolt out into the street.
Do not throw a “come meet my new dog” party for all your friends and relatives the first day the dog comes home. Let your dog settle in; nervous dogs who are trying to figure out where they are could growl or withdraw because they are just overwhelmed or confused. New dogs meet new people on the leash, under your control. Keep all interactions short and positive, then move on. And that goes for you too. It’s natural to want to welcome the new dog into your life with open arms, to want to right all the wrongs that have happened in his life before you saved him. But too much too soon is a recipe for disaster.
When your dog has gotten to know you, take him or her to your vet for a wellness check, just so that the first time they see the vet isn't when they're sick or in pain. Know where the nearest emergency hospital is. When your dog needs help in the middle of the night or on a holiday is NOT the time you want to start looking for a hospital!
Consider getting a trainer / behaviorist to come help you, your family AND all pets make a smooth transition. Even the most savvy pet owners, myself included, can use a tune-up once in a while!