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How to settle a rescue dog into your home

The decision to adopt a rescue dog, rather than buy a puppy from a breeder, can be incredibly rewarding. The knowledge that you are giving a dog, who perhaps has had a traumatic past, a second chance at a forever home is extremely enriching.

Once used to their new loving surroundings, an incredibly strong bond can form between the two of you – and this can be hard to find anywhere else.

However, due to their often-unsettled background or previous bad treatment, a dog that you have adopted from an animal rescue shelter may take longer to settle into your life than a non-adopted pet would. To make the process as easy as possible, we’ve put together a few tips on caring for a rescue dog, to ensure that your new furry friend feels happy and comfortable in their new home:

Set aside enough time

A dog who has recently been adopted may have come directly from a shelter and may not have experienced a typical home setting for a while. This can mean that they easily become anxious or act differently at first.

To earn their trust and reassure them that they are in a safe, loving environment, it is best to set a few days aside to spend time with your new pet and ensure that they don’t encounter any issues.

It can take a few weeks or even months for a rescue dog to adjust properly to their new family and surroundings. However, if you provide them with the love and attention they need, they should eventually feel right at home.

During the first few days after bringing your pet home, try not to leave them alone for more than a few hours at a time. This will help to avoid separation anxiety and help establish a schedule for them, which will keep them relaxed.


As with most pets, a rescue dog’s behaviour may not be appropriate straight away. As a result of potential mistreatment in the past, a rescue dog may act aggressively around food or become protective over possessions. Understandably, they will need time to adjust to their new environment and family.

Therefore, patience is an important quality to have when welcoming an adopted dog into your home.

Losing your temper by snapping or punishing your pet can exacerbate the behaviour even more or cause fear and anxiety, which could lead to further problems. It is best to be patient, and use positive reinforcement to train your new pet.

House Training

It is possible that your rescue dog has already received house training. However, some dogs will have been taken into the rehoming shelter before this was possible.

Even if your new dog has been house trained, it may be useful to invest in a small number of newspapers and spare bedding to help keep your house clean while you set up a routine.

Establishing a regular schedule for feeding and letting your dog out will help them to become house-trained with minimal setbacks. It will also allow them to settle into your lifestyle.


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This will mean that you don’t have to worry about covering the cost for any unforeseen treatment they may need, and leave you more time to bond with your four-legged companion!


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