For many of us, a puppy would be the perfect present waiting under the tree this Christmas. If you’re looking to provide a forever home for a lucky pup, choosing to adopt a rescue dog has multiple benefits for your whole family. It’s normal to be a little apprehensive about introducing a rescue puppy to your household, but with the right preparations, the latest addition to your family will quickly feel right at home.
Do your research before they arrive
Every pup is different, and so it can be difficult to know exactly what to expect when you bring home your rescue dog for the first time. The very best way you can get familiar with the temperament of your new pet is by spending lots of quality time with them. However, reading up on the habits and quirks of your chosen breed beforehand will help you plan for the future, and make sure you’re making the best decision for both of you. For example, if you’re very active, you’ll be better suited to a dog with lots of playful energy like a Labrador or Jack Russell. Families with younger children can offer a loving home for a calmer breed, such as pugs or spaniels. Getting to know the traits of your future pet means you’ll be best prepared to provide them with the best life possible.
Make sure they have their own space
It’s normal for rescue animals to take time to get used to their new surroundings, especially if they’ve been living in an animal shelter for a longer period of time. While your pup will need lots of love and affection from you, it’s important to introduce them to a space that’s just for them, too. Getting them used to a comfy dog bed, their own special corner or a cosy insulated kennel will help your pup feel safe and secure with a place to call their own. With a wide range of luxury kennels, cabins and dog shelters on offer, Benchmark Kennels have everything you need to help your new pet settle in properly.
Get prepared for any necessary home adjustments
As well as setting up a dedicated space for alone time, it’s worth inspecting your home properly to make sure there’s nothing out in the open that could be harmful or dangerous to your rescue dog. Most animal shelters will carry out a home check before you can sign off on a new pet, but it’s good practice to undertake your own inspection too. Especially around Christmastime when you’re more likely to have electric lights and delicate ornaments on display, moving any potentially dangerous items out of the reach of your new pup will stop any accidents from happening.
Introduce their new family slowly
Joining a new household can be overwhelming for any pet, but especially for rescue dogs more used to other animals than people, meeting a whole new family can take some getting used to. When you bring home your new pup for the first time, make sure to introduce each member of the family slowly and patiently, giving your pet time to sniff out their new surroundings on their own terms. This may take some time, but ensuring your dog feels familiar and safe with every member of your family will help smooth out any behavioural issues in the long run, as well as helping your pet feel more comfortable, more quickly.
If you have pets already, it’s important to plan out their initial interaction carefully. Introduce your new and current pets in a neutral space like a nearby park, and keep them on the lead if necessary. Once they’ve had a chance to become comfortable with one another, be sure to give lots of positive reinforcement and treats, and be prepared to show your canine companions that you can give them equal attention.
Be patient with any unexpected behaviour
Getting your rescue dog settled into their home isn’t a quick process – it can take weeks or even months for your pup to feel completely comfortable. Keeping to a routine with regular walks and mealtimes, as well as offering plenty of treats, cuddles and pats will help your new pet get used to their surroundings happily and healthily. It’s still important to be prepared for any accidents or setbacks, though. Many older rescue dogs can feel distrustful or apprehensive around their new owners, so the best thing you can do to make them feel at home is to slowly build up a loving, consistent bond.