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Adopting A Rescue Dog: A Pawesome Idea
May 15, 2024

Are you thinking about adopting a canine friend? If so, you might want to consider getting a rescue. Many of our patients are rescues who once struggled but are now living their best lives as loving pets. This article features a local Leonardtown, MD veterinarian discussing rescue dogs.

What Are The Benefits Of Adopting A Rescued Dog?

We like seeing rescued dogs go to good homes. In fact, many people claim that their rescue dogs are the best pets they’ve ever owned. This makes sense. Fido is certainly intelligent enough to recognize and appreciate someone who takes care of him and is kind. 

Rescue dogs are frequently highly loyal and affectionate. You also get to choose your ideal pooch! Rescue dogs are available in every shape, size, color, breed, age, and activity level. Many rescue puppies are also relatively inexpensive to adopt, and they are frequently already fixed and trained. 

Plus, your heart may melt the first time Fido looks at you and wags his tail. This can be a very fulfilling experience!

What Is The 3/3/3 Rule For Dog Adoption?

This is a recommendation, not a universal rule. It’s a way to remind folks that our canine companions sometimes take some time to adjust to significant changes, such as moving to a new house. Even if Fido finds a lovely and loving permanent home (as we believe all dogs deserve), it will take time for him to acclimate to the change. The premise is that it will take your new dog three days to adjust to his new surroundings, three weeks for him to settle in, and three months to truly feel safe and loved.

How Do You Apply The 3/3/3 Rule?

The 3-3-3 rule is a guideline for easing a rescue dog into its new environment and proposes that the first three days should be spent adjusting to its new surroundings. This would be followed by three weeks for training and bonding. The subsequent three months, the focus would be on ongoing socializing and training.

Days 1-3

Right now, all you want to do is help Fido feel safe. Make sure he has a comfortable, quiet space to unwind and settle in. While you don’t want to go overboard with treats, this is a terrific time to serve some tasty nibbles. (Note: Use small portions to avoid overfeeding your furry buddy.) 

Be prepared for Fido to sleep a lot at first, especially if he has come from a shelter. An animal shelter environment can be extremely scary and stressful for dogs. Your pet may simply need some additional rest as he decompresses.

Week 1-3

Once your pet has had time to adjust to his new surroundings, it is time to focus on bonding and any necessary training. Establishing a consistent routine is critical here. Take Fido for daily walks and make time to play with him. Try to accomplish these tasks at the same time each day. This will make him feel more secure.

When walking your dog, use a firm leash. Fido may have phobias or eccentricities that you are unaware of, like a fixation with squirrels or a fear of other dogs. That way, if he attempts to flee unexpectedly, you’ll have a strong grip on him.

Your dog should also visit his new vet as soon as feasible. Even if he has been fixed and vaccinated, he will require a full nose-to-tail examination. This is an excellent opportunity to seek specialized guidance on his care needs.

Fido may put you to the test during this stage. If you encounter speed bumps or behavioral difficulties, consult your veterinarian for advice.

We’d also recommend obtaining a pet DNA test, especially if your dog is a mix. This can be extremely beneficial, providing you with vital insight into Fido’s behavior as well as information about any health conditions to which he may be susceptible. (It’s also always interesting to learn about Fido.)

Month 1–3

You and Fido should have become acquainted by now. Now, it’s time to concentrate on training and developing a bond of love and trust. Taking your dog to locations like parks might make him feel more secure and happy.

Should I Crate My New Rescue Dog At Night?

There is no uniform yes or no answer to this. Plenty of dogs feel safer in crates. They offer Fido a snug little den where nothing can creep up on him as he sleeps. However, if your pooch has been kenneled for an extended period of time and/or has had a bad experience with kennels, he may be uneasy about them. In that case, you should avoid forcing it.

One method is to train your pet to go inside his kennel while leaving the door open. You can also store the crate in your bedroom. Your pet may feel safer around you. Or he may want to feel like he’s doing his ‘job’ by keeping an eye on you.

We normally recommend giving Fido a quiet space to unwind and settle in. If you have other pets, consult your Leonardtown, MD veterinarian for advice on introducing them.

What Should I Avoid Doing When Adopting A Dog?

Knowing which mistakes to avoid might be just as useful as knowing what you should be doing. There are certain clear don’ts to bear in mind here.

Don’t Skip Petproofing

Each of our canine buddies is special. While one pooch may disregard your shoes and houseplants, another may be determined to devour them. Make your home safe by addressing any potential dangers. This includes poisonous plants, small or sharp things, chemicals, medications, plastic bags, personal goods, and wires. Ask your vet for advice.

Do Not Rush Things

Rescues may require additional time, training, and, most importantly, love to truly thrive. Giving a rescued pup another chance can be incredibly gratifying. Seeing a scared rescue dog thrive with love and care is a wonderful and fulfilling experience! 

However, this may not occur overnight. Your canine friend may be confused, afraid, or even depressed because he misses his previous owner. Be patient and let love grow. The biggest mistake many people make is attempting to force a pup to integrate too early.

Always be friendly, gentle, and polite when you speak to Fido; there’s no need to coerce him or force attention on him. Give him plenty of time if he’s timid, but go ahead and pet him if he likes it.

Don’t Be Negative

Positive reinforcement is really vital when training dogs. If your canine buddy makes a mess, do not penalize him. You can chastise him verbally, but anything more may scare him.

When Is National Rescue Dog Day?

Every year on May 20th, we celebrate Rescue Dog Day. This is a relatively new pet holiday, founded in 2018 by children’s book author Lisa Wiehebrink.  She is the executive director of Tails That Teach, which teaches children about pets. She established Rescue Dog Day in honor of her own rescue dog, Cooper.

Contact Your Leonardtown, MD Pet Hospital

Do you have any questions about caring for a rescued dog? Contact your Leonardtown, MD pet hospital today! We’re happy to help!