How Can I Prepare For Adopting A Rescue Dog?
In our opinion and experience, some of the most loyal canine companions can be found in shelters. Adopting a dog is a wonderful thing to do. Here at Fenrir, we are fully committed to helping people just like you to succeed with their new dogs. And in this article, we will cover some of the things you can do to prepare yourself – and your home – for your new dog’s arrival.
Adopting A Dog Vs. Buying A Puppy
Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organisation is a noble deed: In doing so, you are giving this dog another chance at having a loving forever home. And depending on the laws of your country, you might even be saving their life. Adopting an adult dog has many benefits. For example, you save yourself the considerable work of training a young puppy. Raising unruly puppies into well-adjusted adult dogs comes with many challenges.
By choosing an older dog, you can benefit from all the socialisation and training they have received earlier on in their lives. For an 8-week-old puppy, everything is new. But the average rescue dog has at least basic levels of socialisation, house- and social manners, as well as obedience. This can make life with your new pet considerably easier, especially if this is your first dog.
Bonding With Your Rescue Dog
Of course, some rescue dogs had a difficult past. And all of them have to overcome trauma of some kind – even if their “only” negative experience in life was to be placed into a shelter-environment. Dog shelters are busy, noisy places. The people running them mean well, but most of them lack the time and money to make life there fun for the dogs. And no dog enjoys spending time in a concrete kennel whilst being bombarded by the loud barking of every dog around them. All this can throw even the most resilient canine off balance for a while. As their new owner, your job will be to assist them in regaining their balance, their confidence, and their calm. This does not happen overnight: Just like any other relationship, the connection between you and your new dog needs time to grow.
How To Prepare For Your Rescue Dog?
And now, let us list a few items that we recommend getting before you bring your new dog home. By doing so, you will be fully prepared for the dog’s arrival. This alone can make it much easier for everyone to adjust to the new situation: Knowing that everything is in place, you will feel more relaxed. And your calm will invariably influence your new pet. Dogs take their emotional cues from the people around them. By feeling your calm confidence, your dog will have an easier time in relaxing, and settling in.
1. Set Up A Crate
In our opinion and experience, crates are wonderful tools for dogs of any age. We recommend equipping the crate with a cosy dog-bed, and partially cover it with a light blanket. In this way, you create an inviting, den-like space. Most dogs happily accept a crate as their designated sleeping place. By giving your new rescue dog this place of refuge, you help them to adjust more easily. At the same time, crate training helps dogs that are not toilet trained to learn proper bathroom manners: Dogs instinctually avoid soiling their dens. We recommend taking them to their designated bathroom area every couple of hours initially – as well as right after their naps and mealtimes.
Another benefit of crates is that they keep dogs safe. They prevent them from slipping out doors, and from destructive chewing. Crates are amazing tools, but to avoid any negative conditioning, we cannot simply lock our new dog in there. Instead, we need to teach them that being in the crate is a positive experience.
2. Get A Safe Dog Harness
As you are getting an adult dog, we recommend choosing a robust leash in combination with a safe dog harness: Many adult dogs have learned how to slip out of conventional flat collars. And this is a risk you do not want to take with your newly adopted rescue dog. With its soft, padded interior, our innovative Ragnar Harness, for example, is very comfortable to wear. Available in different sizes, the expert-approved harness keeps your rescue dog secured at all times. And whenever you need them to stay close to you, simply grab the dual traffic handles. You can quickly and easily clip any leash of our Odin Range to the harness. Equipped with their unique quick-release buckle system, our Odin products provide maximum security: You can trust that your rescue dog will be under complete control in any situation, and in any environment.
3. Other Products To Buy For Your New Dog
Before bringing home your rescue dog, you might also want to get some of the following items:
✓ Brushes and combs
✓ Leashes and toys
✓ Food- and water bowls
✓ Cotton-balls and ear-cleaning drops
✓ Comfortable dog blankets and dog beds
✓ Nutritious dog food and treats
✓ A transport box, safety grid, or safety harness for road trips
Dog-Proofing Your Home
Dog-proofing your home is one of the most important things you can do to keep your new pet safe. The extent of such measures largely depends on the areas that will be accessible to your dog. It also depends on their previous living situation. Sometimes, shelters receive abandoned dogs without knowing anything about their past. But what if the caregivers at the shelter inform you that your favourite candidate has never lived indoors? Training older dogs to live inside the home is possible. In such cases, however, you should dog-proof your house to higher standards as you would with former apartment-dogs. Here are some of the measures you can take to prepare your house and garden:
✓ Keep cabinets and drawers securely closed at all times, and your floors tidy (doing so prevents your dog gaining access to socks or other smaller objects that they could swallow)
✓ Remove toxic plants from the garden
✓ Relocate toxic pot plants to spaces where the dog cannot access them
✓ Secure windows, doors, staircases, garden gates, balconies and fireplaces (for example, by using baby gates)
✓ Cover plug sockets
✓ Secure electrical cords – for example, by tying them up or covering them with a PVC pipe
✓ Keep chemicals, cleaning supplies, human food and medications in high cabinets
✓ Make the trash bin inaccessible for your dog
✓ Put a fence around swimming pools or ponds on your property
In many ways, adopting a rescue dog is easier than getting a puppy. Nevertheless, it is an exciting experience for everyone involved. And by following the advice suggested in this article, you should have all your bases covered. If in any doubt, speak to the people at the shelter, or your vet. Now, we wish you and your new canine companion all the best. Practise calm, consistent leadership, be patient, and most importantly - enjoy the journey with your new rescue dog!