People often get dogs they are not ready for! Researching the dog’s breed before bringing them into your home is important! All breeds are wonderful, but all breeds have limits. You should have a idea about their trainability, their energy levels, and how they are around other dogs and children. If you do not do your diligence the dog(s) suffers. The dog(s) end up living in a shelter, foster home, or abandon. It is very sad and happens way to often! When you adopt a dog from the shelter, they generally form a bond with you quickly! However, you have to be patient. Some dogs are more apprehensive than others. It is impossible for them to tell you their past and it will take them time to adjust to their new family and environment. Typically it takes between two – six weeks for your dog to get adjusted to their new home. Your dog might have had multiple homes before they met you or lived in a horrendous situation, so allow them time to adjust. Providing them with a safe, loving, consistent environment is the best place to start.

Ask questions before taking a dog home and do some research on their breed. This will help ensure you found the right dog for you. Remember you chose this dog, or it chose you. You want to give them the best life you can. Change does not happen overnight! Do not expect too much to fast! Find out the dog’s story, so you can better understand them.

Here is a list of questions you should ask before adopting a dog.

  • How long have they been in the shelter?
  • How old are they? What breed?
  • Why were they dropped off? Have they been returned & why?
  • Do they have a history of abuse?
  • Do they have behavioral issues?
  • Have they been socialized? Will your current pets get along with your new dog? How are they with small children and strangers?
  • How active is the dog you are adopting? Does their energy match your energy level?
  • Do they have any known medical issues?
  • Are they UpToDate on shots?
  • Have they been spayed/neutered?

Dogs are wonderful and they have a strong desire to form a bond with you and make you happy.

Adopting a dog gives them a new beginning! They can live the rest of their life in a safe loving home with a family!

Rescue Dog

Chance is around 6 years old and has been at the shelter for 3 years. He knows basic commands and is looking for his forever home.

Below are 10 tips to help you when taking your new furry friend home.

  1. Always keep their situation in mind. Dogs at the shelter are typically suffering from abandonment issues, therefore many of them are scared and anxious. Their behavior should change when they get comfortable at their new home. Building confidence with them is a huge step in helping them overcome their anxiety of being alone.
    • Try to stay relaxed, your dog feels your energy. When you are anxious, their anxiety increases.
    • Make sure your dog has a comfortable place to sleep with a safe toy to keep them occupied.
    • Leave for short periods in the beginning and increase your departure times. When they feel confident being alone you can leave them for longer periods of time. Separation anxiety is hard, but can be worked through.
  2. Set boundaries and establish household rules and routines.
    • It can take up to six weeks for your dog to get adjusted to their new home.
    • A crate is the safest place for your dog to sleep at night or if you are gone. This allows them time to become fully housetrained and comfortable being alone.
    • Create a routine that works for you and them.
      • Take them on daily walks
      • Feed them at the same time each day
      • Work on basic commands daily
  3. Be respectful to your dog, they are in a new place.
    • Introduce your dog to your family and other dogs slowly, because they can beome overwhelmed quickly. They will warm up to them, but it can take time for them to develop a friendship.
    • Educate your children and other family members the importance of having a new dog. Dogs have boundaries and need their space in order to adjust to their new home.
  4. Keep your expectations low in the beginning.
    • Your dog needs to feel safe and secure to overcome their past. Do not feel sorry for them, just ensure them they are safe and loved in their new home.
    • Watch your dog closely in the beginning to help them make better choices.
    • If you are gone or cannot watch them, being in their crate is the safest place. Always set them up for success!!
    • Supervising your dog will reduce the mistakes they make. Slip-ups are a learning experience for both of you. Use it as an opportunity to teach your dog what you want him/her to do, while thinking about what you could have done different to help prevent the slip-up.
  5. Be patient!
    • It will take them time to learn all your expectations. Some dogs catch on quickly and others take more time.
  6. Housetraining
    • Housetraining needs to begin as soon as you bring them home. You should never assume a dog is house-trained!
    • Treat your new dog like a puppy and take them out frequently and reward their good behavior.
    • Never get mad at your dog for having an accident.
  7. Positive Reinforcement
    • Positive reinforcement encourages your dog to continue their good behavior he/she just learned.
    • Dogs enjoy rewards for a job well done. Dogs learn by praise and consistency. It is important their reward immediately follows their good behavior.
    • Likewise rewarding desired behaviors is more effective than punishing undesirable behaviors.
    • NEVER use pain, fear, or intimidation when training your dog.
  8. Physical and mental exercise.
    • Not receiving an adequate amount of physical and mental exercise creates a bored dog. Dogs need physical and mental stimulation daily.
    • Bored dogs create their own entertainment, and this can cause problems. Lack of exercise is the source of many behavioral issues in dogs.
    • Dogs need to work for things therefore ask them to perform a command they know before giving them what they want.
    • Keep your dog’s life interesting and they will listen better. A hyper dog is a difficult dog to train.
  9. Consistency and establishing proper direction for your dog are the keys for success!
  10. Reach out to a dog trainer or behavior expert after bringing your dog home.
    • Reaching out to a professional can help you understand your dog better.
    • Humans give signals to dogs that are natural for us, but are misinterpreted by dogs. This can change the dog’s behavior and how they react.
    • Speaking dog and having good communication with your dog is extremely important.

These are some of the dogs I have worked with recently at The Bridge Home No Kill Animal Shelter. They all follow basic commands. Rescue dogs can be more challenging due to their more difficult backgrounds, however they make excellent companions! This does not mean they have behavioral issues; it just means they need more time to understand their new life! For more information on these dogs or if you are interested in adopting a dog visit their website at

Above all stay positive when working with your dog and have fun!