Preparing Your Home For A Rescue Dog
So you’ve gone through the process of finding your forever dog (Hopefully the rescue centre helped on that decision choosing the right dog for you as a family) You’ve probably thought of a name and what journey’s and places you’re going to explore, but first we need to get your house fully prepared ready for them to come to this strange new territory with new smells and sounds, if they’ve already moved from home to home a few times or never even lived in a house, this is a massive change for them, they will most likely come with their own special behavioural baggage because of this…So you need to make it welcoming.
If they do have behavioural issues, do know this is likely due to not having the right guidance, direction and training from their previous owners (leader) but if you’re committed to being that calm and consistent leader they need, I know you’re going to do great.
So let’s get to it, shall we?
Food and Water
Always provide fresh clean water daily in an easily accessible area, I choose to put mine next to Lilla bed (She Sleeps in the kitchen) Choose to use either ceramic or stainless steel bowls. Feed your dog at set meal times and stick to that.
I Would recommend first few days to stick to what the shelter was feeding them as that is what is known, they’ll love the what they’re used to.
A Great Chew Toy
Always give your dog a nice chew toy, especially when leaving the house without them, now i don’t recommend giving them 10+ different toys at the same time, 2-3 is enough and to rotate them weekly. (I go over why later in this post)
Use A Dog Crate
Now crates are great for :
- Toilet training
- To create a “safe” den area for your dog to retreat to.
Set your crate up where you want your dog to sleep, put a cover over the top and sides, now you can put their food and water in there, but make sure the crate it just big enough forth to move around in. A dog will not usually toilet where they sleep or eat. Leave the crate door open and do not force them to go in.
Now this is not essential, but one of the thing you don’t want to give your rescue dog is the full range of the house. So to stop them going everywhere, stair gates help, you can get dog stair gates now that helps a lot more.
Free roam stops toilet and destructiveness but there’s also some behavioural issues it helps stop (you’ll find out later in this post)
Mistake #1 – My dog needs the comfort of a sofa or my bed, to feel safe and welcome. Right?
Wrong! The last thing your new rescue dog needs is a dozen different options of furniture choices. They’ve not been living their days dreaming of their future owners letting them do what they want! All they want is a calm leader. What starts out as self-inviting themselves onto your furniture or bed, then moves on to behavioural problems like jumping up, barking, rushing through doorways before you, being food possessive, resource guarding over their perceived valuable areas… Your bed.
Now the thing is you probably already know some history about your dog, but you still yet don’t know your dog’s correct behaviour and tendencies.
Mistake #2–My dog needs freedom, full reign of the house from being confined in that shelter, right?
Again, No sorry! What your dog needs now more than ever is rules and a calm and consistent leader. Too much freedom and full run of the house can become overwhelming, and what happens when a dog gets overwhelmed in a strange place? They go wee wee. Now dogs do this for many reasons: anxiety; scent marking 7
their unfamiliar territory or scared and unsure of what to do.
Well my friend, this is where you, as a calm and confident leader, come in. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like one, because by the end of this book, you’ll be your dogs’ superhero. You need to set up the environment for your dog to be trouble-free, so don’t give your dog the chance to misbehave or be destructive, so move anything valuable you don’t want chewed, like? sofa arm chairs: this is where you set a boundary.
So what you want to do is set up their area, ideally in the kitchen, with a crate and bed ready for them and a doggie gate on the doorway to create those boundaries for the first couple of weeks. This will help your dog to settle in. Remember, we need to establish rules and boundaries; as a dog’s natural state is calmness when they have a job and direction coming from a calm and confident leader. This way you’re ruling out the option of any reason for your dog to get in to any trouble. Leave everything your dog may need, so a fresh bowl of water/a filled Kong for distraction.
When you first bring your dog home, let them outside or give them the option to go in the garden straight away to sniff around and toilet if needed.
Establish these rules for the first few weeks, remember 8
you don’t want your dog to have free roam of the house. I know this might go against the belief of some so-called trainers who would give a free rein of the house only to then find later a plethora of behavioural problems that stem from no boundaries.
When you feel it is ready, then you can let your dog have free roam of your house: you’ll learn more as we go through the book together.
Mistake #3–Not giving your dog a consistent daily exercise routine.
They need mental stimulation as much as physical exercise, as it is what tires and entertains your dog (I include significant exercise games to tire and entertain in Chapter 8) Exercise along with mental stimulation encourages a calm dog. Too much pent-up energy from under exercise will lead to destructive behaviour.
Now I’m not saying you have to take your dog on many walks or even a walk a day (As I write this, we’re in lockdown–self isolation) Just create plenty of opportunities for your dog to tire themselves out, or mentally stimulate themselves. Start by just following these books’ principles and the training psychology will mentally stimulate your dog and tire them out. Then you can introduce snuffle mats and Don’t know what these are? Don’t worry, I go over these in Chapter 8.9
When you take your dog out, introduce her to a 10 metre horse lunge lead; these are ideal for letting them think they’re off lead. They can run around and burn some energy and you can practice recall safely, where you know your dog will not run away. You can play fetch, throw her treats and practice attentiveness exercises.
Do not use this for the first couple weeks, your rescue dog needs to first get used to her new surroundings and secondly behave on a short leash first.
Mistake #4–My dog can have whatever she wants, she’s had a hard life. Right?
If you want a well behaved, non-resource guarding dog, then I recommend not showering your dog with every toy your nearest pet shop has to offer. Buy a few different toys and rotate them, don’t just give your dog free range to all the toys whenever she wants… This is a recipe for resource guarding and this can lead to aggression and you could get bitten. Now you don’t want that, trust me it hurts!
Giving them ALL toys is not the way to their heart, leadership and direction are along with the gospel CONSISTENCY. If you let your dog turn in to a diva, she’ll act that way and before long, she’ll get territorial over the sofa.
So what do you do?1 0
You start the play and you finish the play, when you want the play to end, you should be able to get the toy. I recommend using the “leave it command” and also rotate toys, make it a game to find your dogs most valued toy and then find 2nd best and 3rd best toys, use this to get control of your dog, doing so will help longer term when you want their attention on walks, as long as you have created the leadership in-house.
Mistake #5–My dog had a horrible life previously, so now needs me to shower him with affection in the form of cuddles, kisses… Oh and being allowed on the sofa bed and feeding from hand. Right?
As owners we allow our dogs to invade our personal space, jumping up on the sofa, sleeping on our beds, but then when we get up to make a drink and almost trip up over our dog because they’ve become so attached to us, we get angry and tell them off.
Dogs need consistency, not mixed signals and confusion with the rules. If we mollycoddle them, they soon get attached to us under the pretense of insecurity and this can lead to a feeling of possession of us where they’ll get aggressive when another dog or human comes up to us.
That’s a big no no. You do not want it to get to that point.
You need to follow the above rules in the mistakes, allow your dog to have their own space, rules to follow, and consistent 1 1
leadership for a well-balanced rescue dog, especially in the first few weeks of bringing your dog back into your home.
If you’ve just got a new dog, I can’t stress enough why you need to follow these rules. Don’t worry though as I go through all of this and more in the chapter to follow, so by the time you have finished this book as long as you follow it and are consistent, you’ll have a happy content and calm rescue dog, that will be in their forever home.