Bringing home your newly adopted rescue dog is super exciting. You are starting a new life journey with your dog, he is now forever part of your family!

The first few days and even weeks can be confusing for you and your rescue puppy. Learning what to expect this first week can help ease your worries.

As a foster family we get to experience the joy of bringing home a new dog several times a year. Even though we only have our fosters for an average of a month at a time, the first seven days goes the same each and every time!

The First 7 Days – Bringing Your Adopted Dog Home

What to Expect When Adopting and Bringing Home a Rescue Dog 

You have just adopted your new pup and he is now in his forever home, but your dog does NOT understand that yet. Your dog may have been in a shelter, foster home or bounced from shelter to foster home several times. He is most likely confused, stressed out, and unclear of his future.

Hopefully, you prepared before bringing your new dog home, but now is a good time to review to make sure you didn’t forget anything.

Each experience with each dog is different. Every dog is unique! I’ve learned something new with every new dog we’ve fostered and adopted. I hope my experiences can help you make your dogs transition to his new home as smooth as possible.

Recommend Reading Just For You: Bringing Your New Dog Home and the 3-3-3 Rule

Day 1: Bringing Your Adopted Dog Home

Let Your Newly Adopted Dog Decompress

  • Before you bring your dog inside your home, take him outside to where you want him to go potty and take him for a long walk.
  • The first day your adopted dog comes home should be uneventful. Keep things quiet and calm, as tempting as it may feel, don’t invite all your friends to meet him.
  • It’s important to give your new dog space to decompress. Set up an area of your home that he can chill out for a while. A crate with a bed or blankets in the room is a great start. You don’t need to shut the door to the crate, just have it as space for him to retreat if he wants.
  • Sit back and observe your new best friend. Let him come to you, if you have kids, don’t allow them to hang on the dog, hug him, put their faces to the dogs face, etc. In other words, explain to your kids they need to give the new dog some space for a little while.
  • Learn to read your dogs body language. It will help you bond and understand your dog so much better!
  • When we first bring in a new foster dog, she is on a leash next to me, in my home office while I work, or in their crate. I never give a foster dog free roam of our house. I learned my lesson pretty quickly on this… too many potty accidents and personal items chewed upon.

Bringing Home a Shelter Dog and Other Pets

If you have other pets in the home, keep them separated for the first 24 hours. Remember, your new dog is stressed; meeting another dog just ads another layer of stress and can result in a dogfight. This goes for even if your dog is the most friendly dog ever or if the dogs have met before. Bringing another dog into your home is different than a casual meeting and dogs reactive differently when it is in their territory.

Whenever we bring in a new foster dog, they are separated from our dogs for a full 24 hours. The 24-hour rule is actually required by the rescue I work with. I will admit, the first few times we brought in a foster, this was very hard.

It’s so tempting to want to bring the dog in and let everyone play. Our home is an open concept and it’s hard to divide any spaces, but I use a baby gate and a room divider to block off our kitchen. This is where our foster dogs stay the first day in our home.

Recommend Reading Just For You: The Best Way to Introduce a Second Dog Into Your Pack

dog does not want to eat after being adopted

Your Rescue Dog May or May Not Want to Eat

Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t want to eat the first few days, this is completely normal. Try to feed the same food he was eating in his foster home or shelter, to alleviate any belly aches. You can wean him to a new food next week, but the first week keep things simple. Make sure he is drinking water; you don’t want him to get dehydrated.

This is a little gross but look at his poop for the next few weeks. Even if the shelter or foster home gave him a clean bill of health, sometimes worms and parasites can creep up under time and stress. Any signs of abnormal poop warrants a visit to your vet.

Which reminds me, you should make an appointment to have your vet take a look at your new dog. Again, even if he’s gotten a clean bill of health through a rescue or shelter, I recommend having your own vet take a look at your new dog and give them a copy of his health records.

Your Rescue Dogs First Night

Your new dog is most likely going to be exhausted the first few nights. If at all possible, I recommend having your dog sleep in his crate at night.  A crate will keep them safe and out of trouble when you are sleeping. We put a crate in our bedroom for our new foster dogs to sleep, this helps the dogs feel more comfortable in the crate if they are not already crate trained.

Day 2: Getting Your Dog Comfortable

The second day your dog may want to explore his surrounds more. Every dog is different; so don’t be concerned if your newly adopted dog prefers to hide under the table or in his crate. This is perfectly normal and part of the decompression processes.

But if your dog wants more attention, then give it to him slowly. Do not give your newly adopted dog full access to your home. Keeping his freedom to a minimum will help keep unwanted behaviors at bay.

I know, you look into those puppy eyes and wonder what could he possibly do that would be unwanted! Well, when a dog is stressed and in a new environment, there is a lot of trouble to be found. Potty accidents, chewing, male dogs may mark, trying to claim their territory, and who knows what else! Learn more about How to Potty Train a Dog Fast & Easy.

If you have other pets, you may introduce them now. If it is another dog, make the meeting outside in a neutral area. Take them both for a long walk together before entering the home again. If you have a cat, then I suggest keeping the introduction on the cat’s terms. Using a baby gate to give the cat a space to escape if desired.

Remember, your new dog may have never seen or experienced things you take for granted. Stairs, television, kids, bicycles, etc. can all be strange to a new dog. It’s always interesting to me with every foster dog we bring in, each one has some sort of quirk. A many of our fosters have never been on a structured walk, so when we walked by a big boulder, or a someone riding a bike, the dog would jump back out of fear. It’s important to keep all this in mind when introducing and exposing your dog to new experiences. Always be patient, positive and reassuring. Don’t avoid the things that make him fearful, but slowly show him there is nothing to be afraid of.

How to Adopt the Perfect Dog for You

Days 3-7: Creating a Routine for Your Adopted Dog

Slowly add activities throughout the first week. Simply going for daily walks to explore the neighborhood is enough. Every dog will be different and each dog will need its own amount of time to adjust to his new home. So learn to read your dog’s body language and take it slow.

If you thought your dog was potty trained but is having accidents in the house, don’t be too alarmed… this is pretty normal. Just go back to basics of potty training. If he is marking in the house, keep your dog on a leash or crated until you can trust him. This could be days, weeks or months.

Create a routine. Dogs and people alike strive on a schedule. Feed your dog twice a day, walk every day, etc.

Don’t allow behaviors just because you feel sorry for your dog. If you allow it now, it makes it more difficult to change in the future. Lay the rules down now. If you don’t want your dog on the couch, never allow him on the couch. If you don’t want your dog to beg at the kitchen table, don’t allow it this week just because he’s new to your home.

Do you need to take a dog training class? Every dog is different. You may get lucky and your dog was already trained in his previous life. But 9 out of 10 times, your dog was surrendered or abandoned because he wasn’t trained. Read about the different type of dog trainers and decide what is best for you and your dog.

Does Your Adopted Dog Have Doggy Baggage?

We all come with a history (baggage), and a rescue dog is no different. You may not know much about your dogs past, or maybe you do. Either way, don’t feel sorry for your dog. Your dog needs a strong leader that he can trust and lean on when needed, not someone to feel sorry for him.

Show your dog he can trust you to protect him when he needs it most. The first week, month and 3 months are critical times for you and your dog

Recommended just for you:

P.S. I wish you and your new dog all the best. Thank you for adopting and saving a dog’s life! I’d love to hear about your new dog, please share below in the comments.

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About the Author

Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.

  1. I adopted a 2 year old terrier mix and am very lucky to have him. He is sweet and gentle, house trained, behaves when commanded, and doesn't bark. Someone obviously spent so.e time training this adorable guy. The only thing is he does not engage in play. He gets excited about walks and being fed, wags his tail when you rub his belly. Other than that he spends the day sleeping and doesn't seem interested in playing with toys or people. Is this just his disposition and I leave him be? Does he just need more time ? He's only been with me a week. Is there a certain way I should engage him to make him safe but encourage playfulness?

  2. Hi. I am planning to adopt this bull terrier mix. He’s very sweet and submissive. But he has a tendency not to listen should I get a trainer? First dog on my
    own, he follows us everywhere we go.

    He’s had his first accident today, peed in his dog bed.
    I am going to crate train him but i feel he’ll be nervous due to his past.

    He also seems very tired on the second day with us. We took him for a walk this morning and it was difficult to keep him focused. He’s 9 months old so he’s still a puppy.

  3. We love been fostering a four year old golden retriever for a week and he has a very calm, sweet temperament. Unfortunately we have a trip planned for five days and we’re worried about leaving him so soon. He’ll be staying with another foster family but I’m afraid we’ll confuse him. We want to adopt this guy – any tips for asking him feel comfortable and reassured when we return?

    1. Send him with a blanket or something with your smell. Even though he’s been with you only a short time, your scent will help comfort him. You may have to start from scratch when he returns to you. But just take one day at a time. Dogs are very resilient. Just be patient with him and I’m sure he will be okay.

  4. Hi! I just adopted a 1 year old (approximately) pit bull male 4 days ago. He is so so sweet. I’ve only had 1 incident where he pooped in his kennel and then busted out of it. He doesn’t bark , he only whines and it’s only when he is in his kennel. I sorry about him having separation anxiety. He also has some allergies and has a cough right now, mucus in his nose, and he’s itchy. Other than that, he’s a great dog and I love him so much.

    1. Congrats on your new adoption! Take one day at a time. I would have him checked out by your vet to make sure nothing serious is going on with the cough/mucus. Could be kennel cough.

  5. I am considering adopting a 5, almost 6 year old pit bull terrier. She is very gentle and appears to be very well behaved. They told me she would be shy at first and may not even come to me but just the opposite happened. She comes with a not so good of a past. But to everyone's surprise, she took to me right away. She warmed up to me fairly quickly. She put her paws on my shoulders and gave me a bunch of kisses. I fed her snacks and she patiently waited as I broke up the pieces to feed her. She ate so gently right out of my hand. I instantly fell in love with her. The attendant was in shock that she took to me so fast. She said that has never happened before. Apparently she really liked me. They were wanting me to return a few more times so she could get used to me. But after she seen how the dog acted over me, she feels that that may not even be necessary. She may have just adopted me instead of me adopting her. But still, I want to continue to visit her up until the adoption. Even as I was leaving, she acted as though, she wanted to go with me. My heart melted. And I have to admit, I missed her as I sat in my car pondering on my next move. Their still needs to be a home visit to ensure she was going to a good home that didn't have any other dogs or children in the home. No problem. Next week, I'm having fencing put in so she'll have her own yard. But I am a little worried because she does come with a past where her previous owners allowed her and another dog to fight. She sustained several injuries and has noticeable scars. And unfortunately, the other dog didn't survive. It angers me as to why the owners allowed this.

    I can provide her with a quite, stable and peaceful environment. It's just me. I can give her all the love and attention she needs. But is that enough? Do I have legitimate concerns? What should I do? What shouldn't I do? I REALLY want her and feel I can make a difference in her world. I want her to be happy. I want to give her her best years. I'm pretty much decided but I would still like your input and advise. Thank you so much.

    1. I am beyond happy that you are weighing out the entire situation, your words show here show me that you are ready to do what it takes to help this pup. Things you should consider before adopting, I know you said it’s just you, but what does the next 5 or so years look for you? Do you have plans to have kids, get married, dream of. having another dog? Adopting a dog with this history will take work and patients. Is this your first dog? I’d recommend getting advice from a trainer that has experience with dogs with her history. She may be the sweetest dog with you, but do you know how she will react in other situations, when you have friends or family over to your house? Or on walks? Or when you have to leave her home alone? I’m not saying any of this to scare you, just to prepare you for your future together.

  6. Every dog I've ever had has been a rescue. My new baby is a 3 year old Dutch Shepherd. I've been researching like crazy because I've never had this breed. There's so much conflicting info about how to make the introduction into our home, that I'm confused about what is best for him. I would really appreciate any advice!!! I just want him to be happy and know he's loved and cherished!

    1. We absolutely love Dutch Shepherds! They are so easy to work with and train. They are cuddly yet great protectors. Their physical abilities are astounding. Our dutchie was amazingly docile. He LOVED to literally cuddle with our other dogs!
      Sadly he had Lupus and cancer- passed away just 3 weeks ago. I’m trying to find a male dutchie to adopt- our female German Shepherd/Mastiff mix is so depressed without him
      I hope you and your Dutch Shepherd are having a beautiful life!!

  7. Is it normal or typical that a newly adopted dog is happy and playful the first 5 days and then suddenly turn lethargic and/or sad?? Trying to decide if she is sad or sick…….she is estimated to be 8 months old

    1. The word lethargic scars me a bit… are there any other symptoms of illness? Is she drinking and eating? Happy, then sad is completely normal. But if you are concerned I would talk to your vet just to be sure.

  8. I just brought home my second pup yesterday. She’s almost 1, and this was her 2nd time to be adopted from a shelter. She has special needs. One foot never fully developed and has an open wound. I didn’t expect my anxiety to be so high. I don’t want to fail her, but I also feel like my first pup is resentful that I brought another dog home. They get along really well, but I’m nervous. Your articles have been extremely helpful with calming my nerves.

  9. Hi!

    I just adopted a 1.5 year old collie/retriever mix. He is very at ease and is already really comfortable. I am concerned because he has not gone number 1 or number 2 yet. I only just picked him up 6 hours ago, but he has already had at least 64 oz of water to drink, and we went on 2 very long walks, but it’s like he wasn’t even thinking of peeing. It wasn’t like he was trying to go to the bathroom but nothing was happening; it’s that he hasn’t tried to go to the bathroom at all. He was so excited during both of the walks, so he didn’t seem nervous to go to the bathroom or anything. Is this normal at all?

    I also have a separate question. I eventually want him to sleep in the bed with me, but should I make him sleep in his crate for the first few days?

    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge!!

    1. Totally normal for a new dog not to potty… I’ve heard some dogs hold it for days! Just keep an eye on him inside the house so he doesn’t have an accident inside. And yes I would recommend a crate for a few months. Until you both get to know each other better it’s best to keep life simple at first.

  10. I just adopted a 2yr old Male chiwawa.. pardon the spelling. He is about 8 pounds. Brought him home today. So far so good, quite day. He is sleeping alot today. He did eat some, drank little tho. He seems to be exhausted. He was a stray, only in shelter 8 days. He seems to be sneezing abit. And he was covered in fleas when shelter got him.
    His skin is a bit raw and itchy. I will be taking him to the vet just to get him rechecked.
    Basically , starting from scratch with lease, potty training etc.
    Seems to have some anxiety in car and when he dosent see me. Not barking. Whining kinda loud. I'm hoping to nip this in the butt.
    Allowing him to settle in. Think this is first real home he has had.
    Praying for the best, this little guy has been thru alot.

    Should I put him in crate at night? what if he whines.

    1. Congrats on your new adoption. Sneezing could be kennel cough, make sure to mention it to your vet. I 100% believe crates to be a good tool to use during adjustment period. If he whines, put the crate near you so he feels the comfort knowing someone is near.

  11. I’m adopting a rescue this week but am going on holiday in a month and would have to put him back in a kennel as the house we’re going to won’t take pets.

    The rescue centre has a kennel and all the staff adore him but I’m worried it may be too disruptive after such a short time in our home.

    Should I cancel the trip ?

    1. I tend to think it could be disruptive to his adjustment period, and could set him back a little. But dogs are resilient. This is a decision you need to make based on your situation. Are you able to postpone the holiday? Or maybe can you find a sitter to come to your house to stay with the dog while you are away?

  12. Just spent the day looking for a dog to rescue. My Milo died in January but I believe he would want me to love and spoil and give a wonderful life to another dog. We found one and we pick him up tomorrow. We are so excited but stressed because of the possible problems that may arise. Hadn’t thought about all of that so I’m greatful for the information. I will be more prepared for his homecoming. I am sure I will be referencing your articles as we move forward. Laura

  13. I've just adopted a greyhound and she spent the first night constantly crying. Today she won't leave my side. I've put up stair gates but she sits and cries if I leave the room. Obviously I have to shower, sleep etc. I'm trying short periods of time leaving the room. I have a camera that allows me to speak to her. I don't really want her upstairs in my house due to the difficulty with stairs. Do you have any advice please on how to solve her stressing? I'm a single person so can't even tag team things

    1. I'm having this problem atm too, I got my rescue dog on Sunday and she is exactly the same. I've slept in the room she sleeps in fir the last nights as she was just crying and she has settled both nights (my other half isn't t thrilled about the arrangement ) but she's been a lot more settled altogether from it. Although I am hoping to sleep in my bed tonight as I'm exhausted. How long did your dog take to settle down?

  14. Hi – hoping you can help/advise me on an issue that I am having with my rescue dog Ivy. She’s been with me almost a month now and things are going well, few bumps here and there, but she’s settling in, likes our routine, has basic commands down. My major problem is my 2 cats. I’ve been paying attention to Ivy’s behavior, and she wants to see the cats like she wants to see my neighbors dog, who is now her best friend. She gets very excited, they see each other and then in seconds, all is calm. No prey drive really outside with wild animals or birds, so I don’t think she wants to hurt the cats – she just wants to see her new friends.
    I have baby gates set up, so Ivy cant go certain places that the cats can, and I have Ivy on one side while I distract/redirect her with hot dog pieces and one of the cats on the other – doing the typical cat thing, hissing fluffing, but not running until they’ve had enough of the barking whining thing. – Ivy is getting very good at the sit, stay, pay attention and leave it (especially if a hot dog is involved)- I also have Ivy on 40 foot line inside the house so she can go where ever she wants on the main floor, but only half way up or down for the other 2. Wanted to make sure the cats have escape routes & are safe. Should I take down the gates at this point and just let it “happen” or should I put the cats in a carrier and Ivy in her crate and introduce them that way??
    I’m so confused!

    Thanks so much

  15. Hi – I adopted a 2 year old rescue dog a week and a half ago, she is very chill and sweet – she doesn’t mind being in crate, I have a very large one in my bedroom for night and we created another large one in an under kitchen wine bar nook, that she chose herself as her spot – so I put a bed, her food bowl and just added a baby gate with a door that I can close to use as a crate. She loves it, its her spot – she doesn’t even want to leave it sometimes – the problems we are having are:
    1) my cats, my place is big enough that they don’t even need to be near each other, but I would like them to be able to be in the same room – the dog doesn’t seem to want to hurt them, more excited to see them, which, the cats are not thrilled about. The cats were here first ..
    2) most important – she no longer wants to go out in walks – or even go outside – she was doing so well until the other day, we live in a complex next to a golf course, someone was teeing off and that sound freaked her out, tail between the legs, ran home – glad that she knows home is a safe place, but she has not wanted to walk since.
    Is there anything I can do to help her, I’ve tried treats, and cheese – and she just puts the brakes on and wont budge.
    I got her knowing she was a very fearful and shut down dog – but she is coming out if her shell very well with me, but I feel like we went backward.
    Thanks for your help

    1. First, she is still very new to you at 1-1/2 weeks so you are doing well considering. Read the 3-3-3 rule post. For the cat, read this article: Best way to introduce a dog to a cat so they become best friends. Then for the outside issue, have you tried just sitting outside your door on a patio or something to just hang out? On leash, play or just sit and be together. Make it a very positive experience. She will soon understand outside is not so scary. Also read, Adopting a fearful dog and how to help.

    2. Thanks so much!! – I’m doing just that with Ivy (the rescue dog) I do not pull her, I give her lots of reassurance, if she just wants to sit on the porch and just have me pet her, that’s what we do. I’m doing my best to go at her pace. She keeps herself mainly in the kitchen, whether in her nook or not – the cats have plenty of places to go that she does not, so they are safe. I was not aware however until reading the article that its not unusual for it to be months until they get used to each other – – which is a relief because I was stressing so much about that. Thank you again for your input.

  16. Hi. We just adopted a 2.5 year old dog. In October she was pulled from a shelter into a rescue group. Since then she was with the rescue woman and her family along with other dogs and cats. It’s just my husband and I. When my husband leaves for work (I currently work at home due to COVID but will return to an office full time sometime this summer) our dog paces back and forth. She comes to me to be pet and then looks out the window then goes back to pacing. This goes on for hours. Though I take her out and pet her she still paces. She does wag her tail though. I’m just worried about how to make her be more relaxed. I have a crate set up but she hasn’t been in there for a safe place. Any suggestions? Thanks

  17. I’m adopting an adult dog tomorrow (estimated 1-3yrs) and the shelter I’m getting him from isn’t the cleanliest of facilities. When I first met him, he was a bit stinky. Would it be too stressful to take him directly to a groomer before bringing him home?

    1. It may be stressful for him, but if you can find a good groomer that is experienced working with rescue dogs they can take things slow and keep it positive. Congrats on. your new pup!

  18. I brought home a rescue dog 4 days ago and it is not easy. The dog was very scared from the beginning and although he started to trust me and my partner (coming towards us, licking us,… etc.) he doesn’t want to move a lot/come to us when we call for him. He doesn’t know how to walk on a leash, it’s not possible when we try. Consequently, we don’t get the dog outside and he is peeing and shitting inside in the night. We have no idea how we will ever get this dog outside cause at the moment it feels like this could last a looooooooong time! Also we don’t sleep with the dog, but he cries at night and we wonder if that it is bad that we don’t keep him company.. due to the shitting and peeing thing we don’t feel really comfortable with this idea though. Do you have any suggestions/advice for me? Thanks in advance.

    1. Crate train him. It takes time for any dog to adjust. If he’s never learned how to be an inside dog, then yeah it could be a long road, but always worth it in the end. If you aren’t part of our FB community group, I suggest joining. It helps to hear about others stories and how they persevered.

  19. Is it too soon to take my Rescue dog to the Dog groomer? She has only been here a week, but from day one was very friendly and excited and confident. She seems very comfortable with us and everyone / every dog she meets. She sleeps through the night downstairs (only cries for 5 minutes and then settles at the base of the stairs until we come down at 7) when she is very happy to see us. She has never shown any aggression or fear. I have given her one bath (as it is VERY wet and muddy here atm) and she didn’t love it, but didn’t freak out either. And she is OK with me brushing her, but again, isn’t a huge fan especially around her legs and tail – so we don’t do those area’s. However, she is quite long haired so I do want a professional to look at her and groom her, and I want someone to look at her nails to and ensure they are a good length. Is it too soon?

  20. I have recently adopted a dog and on day 3 she is already VERY friendly, comfortable, confident. After a little bit of crying (10 mins max) she settled OK at night, slept through until 6.30-7 the last 2 nights.
    I gave her a quick bath today as its rainy and muddy so she needed it. She was OK with it but didnt love it. And she is OK when I brush her, but not if I go near near legs or tail when she lets me know she doesn’t like it.
    My Q is, as she is fairly long haired I want to take her to a groomer to make sure she has a good going over, any Mats and nails are dealt with properly etc. And although I want to do it moving forward I know they will do a better job than me especially first off. Is this too soon to book for her first week? She generally seems very trusting and happy…

    1. It’s not too soon. BUT research for the right groomer. A groomer that understands the needs of a rescue dog, that will take the time to help the dog feel comfortable before rushing into just trimming. You want to make sure it’s a positive experience no matter what.

  21. I have recently adopted an Australian Shepherd who has been through quite a bit of trauma …I’m adopting her from a club that rehomes who got her from a shelter and they found her living on the streets… beyond that we don’t know much more about her other than she has all the symptoms of PTSD & probably abuse… We Believe she is about 3 years-old…my question is what are some things I can do to the room that she will be in that will make her less afraid of everything for the first few weeks and upon her arrival… I don’t want anything I may not be aware of to cause her any extra anxiety or fear…
    thank you very much

    1. The best thing to do is give her a room that is quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the household. Give her a crate (open door) with a blanket she is familiar with if possible. Give her time and space. Make sure to read our 3-3-3 post.

  22. My husband and I just rescued an abused chihuahua yesturday and this helped so much, thank you for the great advice

  23. I appreciate the advice you shared about giving attention slowly to a dog when you are helping them become comfortable with your home. My sister is planning on adopting a puppy that she would like to turn into an emotional support pet eventually. I’ll be sure to share these tips with her so that she can help the dog get adjusted to her apartment quickly.

  24. My new rescue bonded with my granddaughter the day. She has gone home and I am hoping this pup will feel the same of me

  25. I adore and treasure all animals.
    Am blessed to have our precious rescue mix breed Coali here with us and our 13 year old rescue tabby Brina ( who now lives with our oldest son . We also have Isabella our senior (6 + yr) guinea pig. My husband our two sons and myself could not be happier. ✨🙏🏻👍🏻💖

  26. Hello and thank you for sharing your fostering information. My husband and I have owned 6 dogs over our 40 years together. After loosing both our dogs to cancer last fall, we decided to adopt a rescue and start fresh. We have a gorgeous Mexican pup who is 7 months old. She came to Canada July 11 along with her mom and sister who were both adopted. Our girl is wonderful is many ways and we have had her for one week, (just my husband and I live in our home) but introducing her to new people is stressful for her. We have kept it to a minimum but as we enter week 2, I would appreciate any advise you have with regard to introducing her to our other family members. Presently, she will have her hackle up and she growls low and steady when introduced. We try not to react but stand close to her to let her know we have her back. She is not viscious, just shy and scared. She will recoil into us, defer to us so she is starting to trust us. Do I reprimand her when she growls at my adult son who is ignoring her? Do I remover her from the situation? Her crate is open but she prefers to stand back and observe, with concern. Should I put her out in the back yard when she behaves this way? How do we move forward to ensure that she is calm around our friends? Thanks in advance.

  27. Hello. About over a week ago we got a 8 month old PitChow. She came from the countryside of Florida. We live in Massachusetts. We took her in because we were told that she is sweet, playful, and energetic, loves kids and people. But she hasn’t fully shown that side of her. She’s actually a fearful dog. And any noise scares her. We live in a somewhat busy city. People scare her, trash barrels, kids, music, anything scares her. She is not too fond of my wife. She growls and barks at her which scares me. But she’s super attached to me. Will follow me anywhere. Plays with me on the yard. Her growling is actually getting worst and my wife tries her best to not look at her or she softly walks by her or she has a treat ready to distract her. She will go to my wife at her own time to sniff her and maybe lick her but that’s not too often. Im a bit discouraged because my wife is so great with dogs. Not sure why our dog doesn’t trust her.

  28. Hi

    We have a rescue dog it will be a week tomorrow. He is extremely nervous of everything does not know words, toys, walks and has been growling at my son although he is coming round to him slowly. All he wants to do is sleep. I really don’t know what to do. I’ve spoken to the rescue place but they don’t see to work. Have you any suggestions. Also he won’t stay with my son he’s 25 by the way when I go out and I’ve got to go back to work soon. I’m desperate. I don’t want to send him back. Help!

    Thank you

  29. Hi!
    Just adopted a wonder Shepherd two days ago. When I met him at the rescue we spent a few hours playing and I even took him for a walk. He was originally from Philadelphia, where he was trained pretty well. Knows a ton of commands and is potty and crate trained. The first day I allowed him to decompress. My boyfriend came over that night and I decided to have it be on neutral grounds. As soon as he saw him he lunged and snapped. I assumed it was due to my boyfriend’s height and the reaction to just walk up and say hi.
    Once he bent down and the dog knew he was safe he was fine and has been with him.
    I took him for his first small walk yesterday. That did not go well! He lunged at two very tall men, on different occasions, both wearing masks due to COVID-19. I thought it was due to men and him being protective, but this morning on our walk he did the same thing to a woman. Which, has me incredibly worried. I have him on a regular leash, but ordered a harness for him. I’m reading as much as I can for this behavior. I have family and friends with children and I’m worried for their safety.
    As for me, he follows me around everywhere. Does not leave my side. I’ve established boundaries with the bathroom and even leaving him alone while I garden. Any helpful tips? I know he’s scared and fearful and this is him acting out, I just don’t want this to become a bigger problem than it already is.

    1. I’d like you to first read https://www.rescuedogs101.com/bringing-new-dog-home-3-3-3-rule/. He needs time to decompress more than just two days and learn to trust you before he can trust others. Do not introduce him to kids or others just yet. The lunging and snapping is very concerning and should not be ignored. I know the prong collar is controversal, but it could be a life saver for you and your dog right now. Please read
      https://www.rescuedogs101.com/the-prong-collar-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

  30. Hi,
    We just adopted a 5 year old terrier mix. She unfortunately lost her male owner when he passed away and the body wasn’t discovered for 4 days. (I’m trying not to think too hard about all that could have occurred during those 4 days 😬). She’s super sweet, and did amazing on the meet and greet as well as the entire hour ride home. My husband held her and she cuddled him and licked his had. Once home, we introduced her to our fenced back yard which she enjoyed running full speed in. Then I bathed her. Here’s where it gets weird (to me). After the bath, I set her in her new bed along with a toy the shelter said she was VERY attached to. Plus 3 more I bought on the way home. My husband walked out of the bedroom and past her and me sitting on the couch with her in the little bed. All of a sudden she started growling, snarling, and lunging at my husband for no apparent reason. We think possibly she’s had puppies in the past and decided maybe she was being protective of those toys thinking they were puppies? I settled her, took her outside to run around some more, and she was great the rest of this first day…until 7 hours later. Keep in mind, she prefers to be with my husband if possible so again I’m surprised. He again walked out of the bedroom towards where she was laying next to me in her bed. We’ve removed those toys from sight, but she still reacted to his walking by. Not as bad as the first time, but it has us concerned. What am I missing? She isn’t our first rescue, but she is currently the only pet in the home. How do I make her feel safe and loved?

    1. First thing to do is read the 3-3-3 rule on our site. She needs time to decompress and learn to trust you both. I know it feels like she may have settled in already, but trust me, she’s still trying to figure things out. It’s very natural for dogs to “protect” toys, food, bones, etc. it has nothing to do with if she had puppies or not. I’d just give her the time and space she needs. Read https://www.rescuedogs101.com/bringing-new-dog-home-3-3-3-rule/ and also https://www.rescuedogs101.com/resource-guarding-food-aggression-dog/

  31. I have had my1st rescue dog for 5 days and I feel I’ve made quite a few mistakes so have decided to go back to basics again. So today has been day 1 but his fine around me and my husband but I have a very shy and quiet 10yr old daughter who is fearful of dogs and I think he is picking up on this and he keeps barking at her every time she enters the room and has growled a couple of times from a distance he has been told off for it but I cannot get my daughter back into the house properly because she is frightened of him now I know it’s very early days do we just ignore this behaviour or do we keep him separated so she can move around the house he has had a very abusive past he is a street dog from Romania

    1. Keep them separated for now. Ignoring the barking will only make it worse and is reinforcing the behavior. The goal right now is to make both the dog and your daughter feel safe and the only way to do so is separation. Use baby gates and keep the dog in an area your daughter doesn’t frequent. All the dog to decompress in a safe place without having to worry about interactions that are going to stress him out.

  32. My family is going to meet a 5yr old Cane Corso at a local shelter this weekend. If she is a good fit the shelter is prepared to have us adopt her on the spot. Problem is we leave for a 1 week trip two weeks after we would be adopting her. Due to the short notice we have nobody to house sit with her so she would likely have to go to a local kennel for a week. How stressful would this be for her and should we try to postpone adoption until we get back to make it easier on her? Thank you!

    1. The best option would be to hold off on adoption until you return from vacation if it possible. But if she is at a shelter, I’m guessing they won’t hold her. Would it be possible to bring her with you? I’m not going to lie, a kennel would be stressful, she will be in the beginning of transitioning to your home. But she will bounce back, just may take a little longer.

  33. Hi – thank you for any advise. I adopted a 2 years old Shepard mix from a relative that didn’t have time as she was caring for a sick husband for the last year. Cody was raised since 6 months old with her other dog. He actually loves all dogs is not aggressive – doesn’t bark- no accidents except peed cause was scared at first. He is and crate trained . I walk him twice a day approx. a total of 4 miles. My 3 problems are he won’t play ball or with his toys (have bought all kinds), he won’t go into my backyard and per or poop( that’s why so many walks) and he is skittish every time I move about. He will retreat into his crate or spend hours in it. How do I get him to use the backyard if need be and get him to actually play or chew his toys. I have had him about 4 weeks . I know a little of his background that his puppy time was stressful 2 moves and babysat by relatives. Was I assume told to go into crate often. PS if he is eating and I walk by he runs even with food in his mouth and won’t enter my kitchen( maybe taught this?)
    Thank you for any advice

    1. All great questions. Some dogs are more particular on where they potty. Keep trying and anytime he does potty in the backyard, give him lots of praise, even treats. Try walking around your backyard?

      Toys – not all dogs like to play with toys. I wouldn’t worry about this too much. He may open up and want to play more as he becomes more comfortable in his new home.

      Overall It sounds like he needs more time to adjust to his new surroundings and learn to trust you. It doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient.

  34. Just rescued a 18 month old Dorkie. She has been through 4 or 5 homes and has already been bred. We will get ahold of the vet on Monday for her exam, vaccinations and setting her up for spay.
    We are keeping her on leash at all times and sayin her name a 100 times a day, she did not come with a name.
    Thank you for the information.

  35. Determine where your dog will be spending most of his time. Because he will be under a lot of stress with the change of environment (from shelter or foster home to your house), he may forget any housebreaking (if any) he s learned. Often a kitchen will work best for easy clean-up. If you plan on crate training your dog, be sure to have a crate set-up and ready to go for when you bring your new dog home. Find out more about crate training your dog .

  36. My husband and I adopted a 14 week old hound mix from a local shelter 4 days ago. I have a couple of things that I could use some advice on…

    1. For the last 2 days, he’s been very difficult to settle at night. When it’s time to go to sleep, he becomes crazed and insistent that he needs his special bone (an especially delicious treat that he can only have in his cage). He cannot be distracted. He cannot be calmed. He just screams and tries to get away from us (we have him tethered to us any time he’s not in the crate) until he gets what he wants. When he’s in his crate, he has no interest in his bone. His behavior when he’s in his crate ranges from quiet and content to crying, and barking. What’s the best way to get him to settle at night?
    Note: We know that he’s new to our home and there’s going to be an adjustment period. I’m just trying to help him feel secure and comfortable. The advice I’m seeking his for his benefit.

    2. What are some good ways to bond with our new puppy and how long will it typically take to do so? Obviously right now he has no loyalty to us and doesn’t see us as his owners. We just want for him to like us 🙂

    Thanks in advance for the advice and support. We are doing our best to make this little guy as happy as he can be! We also want to get a handle on him while he’s small enough for us to pick up (he’s expected to be between 60 and 80 lbs).

  37. Hi there,

    It’s been 3 days since we brought pepper home from Bahrain Animal Rescue Centre. She will only pee and pop on the floor. Today she ate for the first time both her meals. Our main problem beside the potty training is the nights. When we put her into her crate around 10pm she barks and growls all the time. It is keeping us all up and scaring my 4 year old daughter. When we let he out in the morning around 6 she is frenzied. It takes ages to calm her down.

    Is there something we are doing wrong? Can you recommend something else? We would love to hear any tips you have.

    ThNks so much.

  38. Hello, and thanks for this website. lots of information that is helpful for me here. I just Adopted my first dog and she is a Husky-German Shephard mix. Beautiful dog she is. I have an issue keeping her in my yard right now but Im hoping i can teach her not to hop over my fence and run off (I have a fully fenced house). What would you recommend to teach her not to jump the fence and run away, because i would prefer to never use a chain or kennel her while im at work so she doesnt run off and get into trouble or ran over by a vehicle. I want this to be her forever home, just like my Cat I have had for his whole life of 13 years so far.

    1. Congrats on your new adoption. It takes time for a dog to create a bond with a new family. Right now she has no idea you are going to be her forever family. So be patient. Both breeds can be high-drive, meaning you will need to keep her busy with a job. Takes walks outside of your yard, teach her tricks, train basic training techniques, puzzles, etc. There are many resources here on the blog that will help you.

  39. Hello 👋 thank you for sharing your experiences and tips with the first week of fostering! We took in a German shepherd/lab lady a week ago and are still getting to know each other quite a bit! We’ve had to start training her to avoid our cats right away but she’s smart so I have hope 🙏 I know we’ll need to be patient as we learn each other’s languages and patterns and It would be nice to keep her but I’m just hoping that if we aren’t able to that we learn enough to be able to properly equip her forever home ❤️

  40. My son’s birthday is coming up next month, and he has been asking me to get him a new puppy. I appreciate the advice about keeping things quiet and uneventful during the first day home with the new pet. These tips you shared will help us know how to help the puppy adjust to being in a new environment.

  41. Thank you for writing this article! I just took in a beautiful chihuahua/terrier mix from a rescue and he is now on his second day with us and our current dog. I want to make sure I give him the space he needs and not overwhelm him with my eagerness to train him and get him on board with the routine.

  42. We just adopted a beautiful 2y old yellow lab. We brought her home yesterday from Kootenai animal shelter. 1/28/2020. She’s really timid and has slept almost 24 hours straight. She was recently fixed. I know this is probably completely normal, however I’m so worried.

  43. We just adopted 2 mixed Labs from a Local Shelter (litter mates Male and female) We have had 25 -30 dogs during our 51 years of marriage . Every one of these dogs responded to kindness and caring . Also forgot to explain these guys are 8 years old and have been in a shelter their entire lives. My question is how long before they begin to respond to normal commands
    We know only a small amount of history. they are not aggressive but very skittish of even slight noise or movement Any suggestion or advice 1-5-2020

  44. I just adopted my new pup last night. After my Dad and I saw him with a volunteer on Saturday at the front doors of the Humane Society. I couldn’t get my mind off him. (My dad jokingly told my mom we almost didn’t walk in the door. So my mind was on him the entire weekend and I decided yesterday he would be my new baby boy! Hey did great our first night together (12/10/19) My boyfriend visited him in the shelter on Monday and was in love. How do I help “Leo” adjust? He had an upset tummy on my rug last night (no big deal I didn’t fuss or yell; just cleaned it up) I am worried I am going to baby him to much and no be a strong leader as I did my last pup.
    We walked last night and this morning I have noticed last night him being in the car he was scared I doubt he has been in a car beside switching shelters. He pee peed on me lol on the way home. He was scared of the cars and smells and loud noises. How can I help him adjust properly?

  45. We just got a 5 month old pitbull last week. He’s sweet and loves being on top of you like a lap dog. We’re trying to house train him but he still has accidents when we’re not hawking him. It’s as if he waits for the moment we let our guard down and goes somewhere he’s not in eye sight then pees. Mind you, we had just taken him out 30 minutes ago or less. He also has spurts of over-excitement and nips at us when we tell him no. When we tell him no, he just gets more aggressive. We have a 1 year old. Please give me some tips. thank you.

  46. Hi ! I just rescued a 6 month old lab mix . They didn’t have any history on him they said he was transferred from another shelter . He’s super sweet and playful but he’s very nervous which is to be expected . He nervous pees a lot and he barks a lot at my boyfriend . He also refuses to come back inside after I take him out . Any tips ? I also tried to leave him in the crate and he was screaming crying and digging in the cage , I thought he would have been used to cages being in shelters. What do I do ? How do I leave the house ?

  47. Hi, thank you for the download it’s full of excellent advice.
    I have a 2yr old Romainian rescue Heinz 57 for all of 2 days, she eats drinks and toilets perfectly, she is already playing playing with us, but I do have 2 issues, 1 she chases the cat and 2 she will bark excessively at whoever is in the house if the come down from upstairs or through the front door.
    She has full access through the house except the bedrooms, she has her own bed but jumps on the couch there are no stair gates and no crate as I felt she had been caged long enough plus the foster didnt cage, but she was with 2 other dogs is this where I’ve gone wrong
    Kind regards
    Lorraine

  48. I appreciate the advice on learning how to read the body language of your dog when you first bring it home. I want to adopt a new dog soon. These tips will be very helpful when I find one to adopt.

  49. Just adopted a 3 month pound pup- mastiff mix. It’s been 2 weeks, and he’s coming around. Still very scared but there’s moments of energy play! My question is when I can introduce my siblings eight-month-old puppy to him? I don’t want to add any more stress to him. Also when should I give him his first bath, since he’s so scared and getting to know me I don’t want to stress him out even more 🙂 thank you!

    1. I’m assuming the other puppy doesn’t live with you? I’d start by taking walks together and see how they react. Once they are comfortable walking, then let them play in a backyard for short periods. If either of them start to get stressed, separate. Watch both puppies body language for any calming signals. As for a bath, if he doesn’t stink, then no rush. If he does stink from being in the shelter, then just give him a quick bath and a lot of comfort afterwards.

  50. We just brought home our 1 yr old pup yesterday. She was fostered for 5 days after being with a family since she was a puppy. She will not lay down unless she is in her crate. Is there a max amount of time dogs should be crated? Or is it better for her to be crated during this transition time if it’s the only time she will relax? Otherwise she walks around the first floor constantly, following me if I am walking around. But if I’m sitting she won’t stay near me, just keeps walking. Thanks!

  51. Hello!

    I’d just like to thank you for this informative article!

    About 3 days ago I adopted an 8 month old pit/terrier mix.She came from a high kill shelter in TX while I live in MI.

    All I can say is this poor girl is afraid of her own shadow. She won’t even come out of her crate to go potty. I have tried to entice her with treats but she puts her head down. So I gently have to get her out of the crate to go outside. Once outside she’s terrified of every sound. I just act like it’s no big deal and praise her when she does her business. I fully intend on taking to her to classes or having a private trainer for her in the future.

    She was obviously abused or had very poor socialization. But she is the sweetest and cutest girl I’ve ever seen.

    My question would be, do you have any tips or suggestions moving forward? I hate that I have to pick her up out of the crate to go outside. I don’t want to traumatize her. But it seems to be the only thing that works!?

    Again thank you!

    Emily B.
    MI

    1. Congrats on your new adoption Emily! Three days is still very early in the process of adjusting. I’d give her more time and continue to take her out of her crate to go outside to potty. Does she eat meals on her own? Maybe the treats aren’t high-value enough to make her want to come out? Find something that she loves so much she will do anything for. But with all that said, at this point, I’d give her more time to adjust and learn to trust you. Her world has just been turned upside down.

  52. We brought Bella (I’m thinking lab/pit mix) home tonight from the AZ Humane Society. She immediately knew what to do for potty and riding in the car. She sat perfectly the whole ride home. She has been sweet and calm and going potty outside. She isnt super into eating but drinking a lot. She does have loose bowels but I’m thinking all the change? We drove over to a friends to pick up something and it was dark. Same friends who went with is to shelter and played with her and drove home with us. As they approached the car, it was dark. That was the first time she growled and barked. Definitely a protector but made me nervous. Maybe bc it was dark and she is just been with us for a few hours? But shes been great! She sits and shakes. As soon as we told her kennel for bed she went in. When we walked away she cried so hard. But as soon as my daughter laid by her on the couch she went to bed.

  53. My husband and i just received our 1 year old Lhasa Apso poodle mix. He was a rescue from TJ Mexico. We are completely in love with him and he seems completely in love with us. We couldn’t be happier, he’s sleeping a lot! We figure the two day road trip from Mexico to the Bay Area has taken a toll on him. If anyone out there is thinking about rescuing and is clear about the responsibility you won’t be disappointed! My husband has said he’s never seen me this fulfilled and happy, it’s a different type of happiness that only fur babies can provide!

  54. We have just brought a 4 yr old french bulldog home. Our problem is she gets up to go outside 2 or 3 times a night, always has to go to the bathroom. Any suggestions on getting her to control bowels and bladder thru the night? We take her for a good walk before bed and she pees.

    1. My first recommendation is to see a vet to make sure she doesn’t have a UTI or something else medically wrong. If she is cleared health wise, then it may be just a habit she formed. If you don’t let her out will she have an accident inside?

  55. We just brought home a 3 year old rescue pit bull. I have a 9 year old Yorkie. The pit is already a little aggressive if the Yorkie comes near her cage or her toys. She is fine we when walk them together or if the interact when she is leashed in the house. Any suggestions on how we can help her with the aggression towards “her” spaces when she is not leashed?

  56. He is a five year old beagle mix. He seems to be adjusting fast and appears to be trained, he is very smart but he wants nothing to do with food, I think he would eat tablefood given the chance but I do not want him eating unhealthy foods and begging. I just got him last evening so it has just now been 24 hours. He already is adjusting to me being out of sight for short times

  57. We just brought Dahlia home last night. Lab/pit/terrier mix, 2 years old. After reading some of the stories here, I think we are quite lucky!
    I didnt find your site until after we had brought her home, and we did end up with a couple accidents after giving her the run of the house straight away, but thats been the worst of it. She took to us quickly at the shelter, was more than ready to hop in the car to leave and already seems very comfortable with my husband, daughter (7) and I and being in her new home! She seems to be joined at my hip most of the time, it appears that Im her person 😅
    Im sure there could be setbacks, but for now we’re enjoying her calm and sweet disposition 💕
    Thanks so much for having a great site for newbies like me to get help, advice, and peace of mind!

  58. I have a 16yo staffie-pit. She is 86 lbs. The calmest and sweet dog. Likes dogs. I am between yes and no to adopt. My dog is also a rescue
    I am going to adopt a pit again. Is my dog too old at this point and should l wait?

  59. My husband&i have just adopted a two year old Lurcher he’s been a ex working dog so as not had a good start in life so hence him being in a shelter my husband&i saw him a few times before adopting him and didn’t see any signs of distress whilst in pen so that’s one reasons we chose him he’s such a calm loving dog doesn’t chew,soil etc but we’ve found out when we leave him he’s barking,howling, pacing really anxious so he’s obviously got separation issues which is understandable the life he’s had but as we both work he’s going to be left on his own or when we go out at times we’re looking for advice on how we can reassure him we will be back, we’ve took advice from lots people including vets,rspca but nothing works, radio on duvets over crate, toys, treats nothing seems to work we was wondering if anyone can give us some advice as this is desperately needed Thankyou.

  60. My mom just brought a new rescue dog into her home, and she already has one other dog. We have contacted a dog trainer to come help us, but with the trainer’s schedule, we have 2 more days before she can see us.

    Question is, what do we with the dogs until then? Currently, the new dog is penned in the mud room next to the kitchen with a baby gate. Should we keep her in there until the trainer comes to see us? Can we allow her some short time outside of the room now and then, or is that a bad thing?

    Also her resident dog seems kind of unsure or even resentful about the new dog, he’s become somewhat aloof all of the sudden and isn’t really bouncing around the house like he used to? Is he just adjusting to the new situation and it will pass? or do we have reason to be concerned? (There has been no aggression between the two dogs)

  61. My mother in law is fostering a 1 year old German Short Haired Pointer. My fiance and I have a Weimaraner and 2 kitties. We have always wanted another dog for Archie (weim) to play with and we have always wanted a GSP. We brought him home 3 days ago to have him stay with us for a few days to see if its a good fit with us and the other animals. He and Archie get alond great and play well together. He is a super sweet dog and they cuddle together at night and in the morning.

    The one issue is that he is whining basically 24/7 unless he is playing, on a walk or sleeping. He paces and whines and goes to the door so we let him outside and go with him. Then he paces and whines outside nonstop. Is this anxiety from moving to a new home? What can I do to stop his whining and make him more comfortable? OR is this just his personality?

    Thank you!

  62. I have some questions. My sister adopted a dog about 7 months ago. I wasn’t with her. She called ” it going on an errand”. She calls me and tells me about him. I said bring him home. He bonded with her right away.

    I live with her she bought a house last year. I have tried talking to and playing with Tuffy (his name). But he hasn’t bonded to me. For first 6 months she had him, he would run away from me when I try to be near him.

    He is in dog training classes and doing well. Trainer suggested I feed him until he would get use to me. So he is ok. I did that and it worked. He doesn’t run away anymore. Sometimes he will let me pet him. Sometimes he runs away. I am being gentle.

    When she first got him I had a cat. I haven’t had one in months it ran away. I was wondering if maybe he isn’t bonding with me, because I wasn’t there when she got him? She thinks it could be because I had a cat when she got him, my focus was more on my cat then. But I did interact with Tuffy daily.

    He was an owner surrender. Owner had health issues. I know my sister said on his paperwork that he was left alone for up to 10 hours a day. I am on disability so I am home, while my sister works.

    Tuffy comes alive when she comes home. He just lays on the couch and mostly ignores me when I am home, which I find frustrating.

    We didn’t have cats or dogs growing up. This was my first time with living with a dog. She has lived with people who have had dogs in the past.

    She is interested in adopting another dog. I told her I wanted to be there when she does. She is fine with that. I admit it took me 4 months to even like her dog. Do you have any advice on how to adjust? To get to the point where he is fine with me around. I am frustrated. My sister is interested in adopting another dog. Maybe a puppy. Then they can bond to me and my sister. They won’t have trauma from living in another house or two.

    1. It’s not uncommon for a dog to bond more with one person. But with that said, there are things you can do to strengthen your relationship. Feeding him is a good start. But also consider taking him for walks, playing ball or tug of war, training him even for a few minutes a day. What are things that your sister does with him that you do not? Consider doing those things while your sister is at work.

  63. I just picked my rescue dog up. Myself and the shelter believe she was abused by a male because she tends to take to females better. She seems like she is afraid to explore the rest of the house. I want her to do it when she feels ready. She is only 3 years. However she has been lying next to the front door and sleeping next to it and sometimes even whining. We take her out to let her do her business and seems to be happy outside but once we bring her in she goes to the door/window and scratches then sleeps. Could this be a sign of homesickness and maybe we should just give her some time to adjust?

    1. Hi Austin, Congrats on your new adoption! She needs more time to become comfortable in her new home and with you.

      Some insecure dogs feel more comfortable with women then men, not because they’ve been abused by a male, but because females have a softer voice and way of being, which can be more comforting to dogs.

      Give her the space she wants, and I’m sure she will start to come to you as time passes. Read Bringing Home a Rescue Dog and the 3-3-3 Rule. That will help you understand the process your dog is going through. Good luck and just be patient with her.

      1. Thank you very much ma’am for your help! I will be sure to read the information provided!

  64. We have a rescue dog for the first time. She is adjusting well but does. not bark. We were told. She was three then five and now by our vet ten. We’re very sad about her age but love her dearly, She smellsand I don’t. know what to do about it .she has had two haircuts and after a few day the smell is back again. She has had diarreia constantly but has been to the vet many times in the two months we had her. She is on another medicine now and we hope it works. We love her so and willl never give her up.

    1. Deanna, so sorry you are struggling with her age and health. Many times rescues have to guess about the age and they have no background information to go by. Read this, it may help shed some light on the question of age: https://www.rescuedogs101.com/3-big-clues-to-how-old-is-my-dog/.

      As for the smell, it sounds like maybe a yeast infection? I recommend getting her on a good probiotic. This is the one we use and recommend.

      Also, find a shampoo such as Jax and Daisy shampoo and lotion

  65. My dog has been sneezing and I fed him raspberries one day and through up the next day but I think he’s sick and it’s my first time having a dog I don’t know if it’s bring he’s sick or because he’s getting adjusted to his new home. He’s also coughing then gags as if he need to throw up or has something stuck in his throat. Lmk what to do

    1. Take him to the vet! It sounds like kennel cough to me, but your vet can tell you for sure and get him on meds to make him feel better. If it is kennel cough it’s contagious, so keep him away from other dogs. As for the raspberries, it’s possible it upset his stomach, or he could be allergic to them.

  66. I adopted two potcakes that did not have a good start in life. They are so loving. Wish I had this a few months ago!!

  67. Hi there, love your page btw!! My boyfriend and I own a 1 year old miniature dachshund named Benny, he is the most loveable fun little guy. We rescued a 4.5 year old miniature dachshund named diesel just 2 nights ago. He is so sweet, but he is very sad. He seems to only want to sleep and is very snappy with Benny. For the most part they get along but if Benny wants to play or gets too close to him he’ll snap and bite at him. He’s been okay with myself and my boyfriend and loves to cuddle but if he’s laying on the bed/couch and we try to pick him up he’ll bite at us. We want to make it work so bad because he so deserves it. Any and all advice would be so appreciated!! He’s doing very well for just 3 days but I don’t want my Benny getting hurt and we are sometimes scared to touch him worried he’ll try and bite us.

    Thank you!

    1. Thank you Ashley! That means so much to me. So there are a lot of things to consider here. Where did you adopt Benny from? I’m surprised he was not assessed before being adopted, they should have seen some of this behavior and let you know before bringing him home. With that said, 2 days is a very short time. I have a two articles I want you to read that I think will help: Bringing Home a Rescue Dog and the 3-3-3 Rule and The Best Way to Introduce a Second Dog Into Your Pack. Oh and reading his body language could help a lot too: How to Talk to Dogs

  68. I adopted a 12 year old westie/yorkie mix, Lucky. We have had him for a week with my 12 year old mini schnauzer, Max. They have been living in harmony and the transition was remarkably easy. Last night Max stepped in Lucky’s cage and Lucky attacked him. Now today, we had them both outside and there were no issues. When we had Lucky outside and wanted him to come in and put Max outside, he lunged again and bit Max. I tried to separate them and Lucky bit me. I’m sure Lucky was just being protective of his space but I’m not quite sure what to do next. I do not want to give him back but I don’t know what would be an appropriate timeline for improvement with training.

    1. Wow… okay, let’s start at the beginning. How did you first introduce the two dogs? Not that we can turn back time, but I always recommend keeping the dogs separate for the first 24-48 hours. I’m guessing that at first Max figured Lucky was just visiting, but now that he seems to be staying, Max feels the need to protect his territory. I would keep them separated now for a while, basically starting over. Keep introductions short and supervised. Do not allow Lucky to have free roam of the house for now. Keep him on a leash if you need, or separated by baby gates. Read this article for more information: https://www.rescuedogs101.com/best-way-introduce-second-dog-into-your-pack/

  69. It’s been just a week now that Abbey has been with us, and we have some questions— just wondering what “normal behavior “ is for a rescue dog 🐕 and if you have any advice.

    She is a very sweet and gentle girl. She has begun following us around to different rooms we are in and laying down near us.

    She will let us pet her if we approach her in her bed, but she will never come to any of us. If we approach her while she’s wandering the house she will look at us and run away.

    Also, we cannot even coax her to go outside to potty, we just must leave the back door wide open and allow her to go out on her own but she only does this twice a day. She must have an amazing bladder!

    And she seems very afraid of a leash when we bring it out, so we have not even attempted a walk.

    Can you give us some feedback or any more information to help us out. we can’t tell if she seems to be thriving yet.

    1. I recommend reading The 3 Days, 3 Weeks, 3 Month Rule. You didn’t mention how old Abbey is, or what her situation was before coming to you. I’m going to guess that she was in a shelter and not a foster home when you adopted her. A week is still very new and I would continue to give her the space she is asking for. Every dog and every situation is different, so you’ll need to read her body language and take it as slow as she needs. To get her use to the leash, you can try using treats to get her comfortable with its presence. It sounds like you’ll need to work on her confidence, but again, take it slow.

  70. We have just rescued 1 year old bull mastiff x argentine dogo on Saturday January 12th. He is HUGE and we are learning leash manners. I take him out for walks and let him loose in our fenced horse pasture for free time. So far so good. He comes when I call him….eventually…he pauses for a minute and cocks his head as if trying to decide whether to come or not and then he bounces/bounds to me with his tail wagging.
    When I am in the living room – he lies on the blanket in front of me
    When I am in the bedroom – he lies on the mat beside the bed
    When I am in the kitchen – he lies on the mat at the back door
    When I am in the shower – he lies on the mat and waits for me
    When I sit on the couch – he puts his head on my lap and just sits there as I pet him
    I am using lots of positive reinforcement as he learns to walk at my speed on leash (this was a definite training requirement as he is HUGE and when we picked him up he just pulled his owner all over – so he’s used to just pulling – I have a bad knee so it is critical that he learns to walk at my pace – so far so good – he no longer drags me – I am getting lots of exercise walking him at this point!
    My husband has bad knees and back, so it’s me doing all the training so far. We play fetch and he brings me the ball – he tends to want to play tug of war but due to his size – I patiently wait for him to quit head butting me with toy/ball until he drops it – which he does eventually – then I throw it.
    I am hoping that he bonds to us quickly as I would like to be able to open the door and let him out to do his business, knowing that he will come to be let in when he’s done – considering my husbands knees and back situation – more for him than me!
    I take him for a walk at this time on leash, or let him loose in the field and walk – stay with him – he heads off exploring and comes back when I call him – and when he’s done being outside – he starts to walk in front of you as if to say “that’s enough let’s go back”. In the field he stays right with me – looking forward to the day that I can take him out for a walk off leash through the bush.
    My question is – when will I know that we are bonded enough that I can just open the door and let him out?
    My husband works nights and I work days so he is never home alone for any length of time. My husband is wondering when he will be able to just let him out to relieve himself etc.
    Looking forward to your feedback. Thank you

    1. Wow for only having him for two days, sounds like you have adopted a wonderful dog! I recommend reading The 3 Days, 3 Weeks, 3 Month Rule to get more details. But in short, 3 weeks is when you’ll start noticing him bond with you, and at 3 months he will be completely comfortable in his home and should be bonded with you 100%. Every dog and every situation is different. I believe you will know in your heart when he’s ready to go outside by himself.

      You can also train him to come inside on command using a bell or whistle. We just moved out to the country and taught our dogs once we ring the bell, it’s time to come inside. It’s super easy to train. Simply ring the bell, give a treat. Start this inside the house, just randomly. Bell, treat. Bell, treat. Then try it at distances, so if he’s in another room, ring the bell and when he comes running to you, give him a treat. These treats should be high-value, meaning something he doesn’t normally get and really loves. Once he comes when you ring the bell inside, move outside and do the same thing. Bell, treat. My dogs now come bolting from the other end of our 5 acres, just to come inside.

  71. We just brought home a 2yr old pit mix from the shelter. The first night we crated him in our guest room where he was baby gated during the day to decompress. We also crate him when we go to work or leave the house. I was reading in your article it might be better to have the crate in our bedroom when we sleep, but we have a 4yr old lab mix who sleeps on our bed at night. Do you suggest having him in the crate and her on the bed at night in our room or continue to keep him crated in the separate guest room?

    1. If he’s doing well in the guest room, there is no need to bring him in your room. If he’s struggling with being by himself, then I suggest it could help him feel more comfortable being in the same room as you.

  72. I rescued a chihuahua/whippet mix . Carmen is 3 years old. What we know about her is she came from a bad hoarding situation and had 3 litters. She is afraid of men and doesn’t like to be put on a leash. We have had her for almost one month. She runs when my husband and son try to pet her but more when our son who is 20 does. She seems comfortable with my husband when being fed and when she is tired and snuggles with him. She has a lovable side especially when she is tired and when she wants to play. She has bitten me when trying to put her leash on which than became a nightmare trying to get it on her and put in our truck . . She ran around the house pooping like crazy and was growling at us. She will not allow my son to go near her and will run away. She goes to my husband but sometimes she backs away. I want to give her a fair chance but I really don’t know how to help her. I don’t know what to do to change her behavior and I am torn between deciding if I should return her. If you can help me out I would appreciate any advice you have. I have decided to keep her for another couple a weeks hoping I will see a change. I don’t want to give her up because see she has potential but I don’t know how to help with her fear of men

    1. Carmen is going to need a lot of time to adjust. I know you may not want to hear it, but take it extremely slow with her. Dogs that have come from situations like this need time to earn trust. Have your husband and son not pet her unless she comes to them. Never confront her face to face, always allow her to come to you for attention. A slip lead may help to get it on her without having to touch her. Honestly, you may want to consult a local behavior trainer. Good luck and I hope you don’t give you on her!

      1. Thank you for the advise. That is what we are doing now. She has no problem coming to me. She has been coming up to my husband especially when she wants to cuddle on the couch . She for some reason prefers to lay with him at night time and when we go to bed she has to sleep between the both us of and wants to be petted and cuddle before she falls asleep. She always makes sure she is sleeping on the pillow next to my husband. As far as our son she is still standoffish and we have told him just let her get comfortable coming to him. We want to work with her because she is a good dog and very lovable .

  73. My new baby is coming home this weekend and blogs like yours help me feel a little more confident in rescue adoption

  74. Hello! I liked the point you made of letting your rescue dog decompress in the in the beginning stages of bringing them home- it goes without saying that it is a major transition moving from a shelter to a home and your new friend will definitely need time to adjust accordingly. This is also a good time to get a routine established, which can ultimately make them feel more comfortable as well.

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