Introducing a Rescue Dog to the Family

You’ve just brought your new rescued pet home! Now what’s the best way to introduce him or her to their new household? Here are some tips from the experts at <>.

“The first few days in your home are special and critical for a pet. Your new dog will be confused about where he is and what to expect from you. Setting up some clear structure with your family for your dog will be paramount in making as smooth a transition as possible,” writes Sara, Outreach Director in the article titled Tips for the First 30 Days of Dog Adoption.

Before your dog actually arrives it’s best to figure out where he or she will be spending most of their time. Your new pet’s first day will be stressful and confusing because he or she will be transitioning from a shelter or foster home to your house.

Have a crate set up ahead of time if you plan to crate-train your new pup. Be sure to dog-proof his new space. For instance, tape loose electrical cords to baseboards, store household chemicals on high shelves, remove plants, rugs, and breakables, set up the crate, and install baby gates.

“Training your dog will start the first moment you have him. Take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use when giving your dog directions. This will help prevent confusion and help your dog learn his commands more quickly…Bring an ID tag with your phone number on it with you when you pick up your dog so that he has an extra measure of safety for the ride home and the first few uneasy days. If he is microchipped, be sure to register your contact information with the chip’s company, if the rescue or shelter did not already do so,” Sara writes.

Day 1

Moving is stressful — Give your dog time to acclimate to your home and family before introducing him to strangers. Make sure children know how to approach the dog without overwhelming him. Go here for more on introducing dogs and children <>.

Remember to ask what and when your dog was fed before bringing him home for the first time. In order to avoid gastric distress be sure to feed him the same food and schedule for the first few days. If you decide to switch food be sure to do gradually over a period of about one week, as follows: add one part new food to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to half new food, half old, and then one part old to three parts new.

On the way home, your dog should be safely secured, preferably in a crate. Some dogs find car trips stressful, so having him in a safe place will make the trip home easier on him and you. Once home, take him to his toileting area immediately and spend a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area and relieve himself. Even if your dog does relieve himself during this time, be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new home with new people, new smells and new sounds can throw even the most housebroken dog off-track, so be ready just in case.

If you plan on crate training your dog, leave the crate open so that he can go in whenever he feels like it in case he gets overwhelmed. Also, be sure to check out the do’s and don’ts of crate training your dog <> at

Next, start your schedule of feeding, toileting and play/exercise. From Day One, your dog will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Don’t give in and comfort him if he whines when left alone. Instead, give him attention for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly (Source: Preparing Your Home For A New Dog <>

For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your dog, limiting too much excitement (such as the dog park or neighborhood children). Not only will this allow your dog to settle in easier, it will give you more one-on-one time to get to know him and his likes/dislikes.

If he came from another home, objects like leashes, hands, rolled up newspapers and magazines, feet, chairs and sticks are just some of the pieces of “training equipment” that may have been used on this dog. Words like “come here” and “lie down” may bring forth a reaction other than the one you expect. Or maybe he led a sheltered life and was never socialized to children or sidewalk activity. This dog may be the product of a never-ending series of scrambled communications and unreal expectations that will require patience on your part.

For additional information read the full article at

Always be sure to include your pet’s first visit to the veterinarian as part of the introduction process.

And if you have questions regarding dog obedience, canine food aggression, dog aggression, dog potty training and other behavioral topics be sure to reach out to your local Bridgeport, Fairfield, New Haven and Stamford, CT Offleash K9 Training professional. He or she has the expertise to address your concerns and offer tips and training to resolve challenges you and your new pup face.