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Good Advice for the first few days/weeks after adopting a rescue dog

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#1 gcv-border


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Posted 05 December 2017 - 03:38 PM

I came across this blog entry titled "Decompression - The Two-Week Shutdown" which does an excellent job explaining how to deal with a rescue dog in the early days of adoption (or fostering). There were some minor points that, if I was really picky, I could argue with, but overall, I think it is a fairly complete coverage of the topic.




I am sensitive to this issue because our rescue group has had a couple of cases where dogs were returned because they were 'overfaced' and reacted defensively. I will strongly impress on an adoptive family that they should NOT be bringing their new-found love everywhere, to meet everyone and do everything, nor should they be inviting the whole extended family and neighborhood to come and meet their new dog. I know I have had a few adopters that probably did an inner eye-roll when I discussed this, but I really feel that the early days can be very important.


"Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat a dog."  Charles F. Duran

#2 D'Elle


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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:35 PM

I disagree with enough of what is said in this article that I would not refer a new adopter to it. There are some good things in it, but it is trying to paint all rescue dogs with the same brush. 


There are a few things in the article that are true across the board for a newly adopted rescue dog, but trying to  apply all the rules it lists to every dog would be foolish, and would really  amount to a lazy approach in that it would replace what I think is the most important thing to do with a new dog, rescue or not, which is dedicating yourself to being a keen observer of the dog. It was disappointing to me to find no reference whatever to that in the article.


You don't know who that dog is at first, and you need to find out. Even if it is a young puppy, he or she will have a specific personality. Of course no matter the age what you see at first may very well not be what you see a month later, or even a couple of years later. Which is why that close and constant observation is so important.


Applying some of the rules suggested could be detrimental to the building of a relationship, depending on the dog.


One of the most important things I learned in fostering was not to make assumptions about the dog and let him or her show me who they were.


and family.

Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger



"You gonna throw that?" --Jester:  2001 - June 24 2016. Remembered with much love.
"I'm grouchier than you are" --Kit

"I love everyone!" -- Boo

(Boing! Boing! Boing!)--Digger

And not pictured, Benjamin the cat, who thinks he is a small border collie with superpowers.




#3 JohnLloydJones


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Posted 08 December 2017 - 09:22 AM

I disagree with enough of what is said in this article that I would not refer a new adopter to it. There are some good things in it, but it is trying to paint all rescue dogs with the same brush.

I'm with you there. Each dog is it's own and "one size fits all" is misguided and sometimes just plain wrong.
My advice to adopters is to start low key and work to earn the dog's confidence. Some dogs adjust so fast that it's amazing (ex-foster Bryn took all of 30 minutes to tell me he was OK with his new digs). Others have taken months to feel at ease.

#4 Shetlander


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Posted Yesterday, 09:32 PM

Kit is my first rescue dog in over 20 years. I think she had her decompression with the rescuer. She had been neglected and then surrendered at a little over a year to a shelter who contacted the rescue. By the time I met hera few months later, she had learned the basics about indoor living and niceties such as leash walking.

Other than not allowing her on the furniture (she is currently dozing on the other end of the sofa) or putting my face next to hers, I didn't follow any of those rules. We went for a hour long walk our first morning and each morning after that. During the first week, she met several friends and took a 2 hour beach walk. And she was so desperate for affection, that she got lots of petting and attention. I'm not sure what is meant by all affection should have a purpose. Is that like NILF?

Oh, I did keep her on a leash at all times outside because my gate had blown down. I remember thinking that was probably a good thing to keep her connected to me for the three or four week period before I had the front section of my fence replaced.

All in all, I think Kit was exceptionally easy to assimilate into the household. I believe the rescue did a great job with her. And she has the best temperament of any dog I have owned. Not too much fazes Kit. In the 4 months I've had her, she has loved every human she's met and has been friendly with all dogs and cats. She is close to perfect to live with. She's even quiet. Days go by that I don't hear her bark and when I tell her stop, she's like, oh, ok. :)

I would like to adopt a 2nd dog next year but part of me worries about upsetting the peaceful life apple cart. I can't imagine another dog being anywhere near this easy. Someone told me today I hit the lottery with her and I have to say, I agree.

Anyway, maybe if Kit hadn't been so happy go lucky, go with the flow, I would have done more along the lines of what the article suggests. I do try to take my cues from the dog. For instance, I train Kit differently than my previous dogs who I had from pups and grew up living closely with humans.

Thanks for sharing the article. I like to read what I can on rescue dogs. It has been interesting and fun watching Kit settle in and more and more show what an awesome dog she is.



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