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adopt a rescue dog

Adopt a Rescue Dog

adopt a rescue dogDo you love dogs and want to adopt a rescue dog? Dogs are in shelters for many different reasons. Some are stray dogs that don’t have a home and some were surrendered by their owners for different reasons. They all need love and a good home. Adopt a rescue dog and save a life.

Before You Visit a Shelter

First, if you don’t live alone, have a meeting with everyone in the household. Discuss and decide on rules and limitations for your dog and family. Talk about responsibilities for each member of your family. Make a list of commands that each family member will use with your dog. Be consistent with commands so your dog does not become confused.

You will need to fill out an application and speak with a staff member at the shelter. Staff members can help you find the right dog for you and your family. They are around the dogs each day and they get to know each dog’s personality and energy level. Choose a dog with an energy level equal to or lower than your own energy level.

If you have lost a pet recently, wait a little while before adopting. You don’t want to bring a dog into a sad household. Grieve the dog you lost first.

Visit the Shelter

Don’t limit yourself to just looking for a puppy. There are many adult dogs available for adoption. Consider older dogs also. Many times adult and older dogs are already housebroken and trained.

Choose two or three dogs that you consider possible adoptees for you and your family. Spend time with each dog away from the other dogs in the shelter. Go for a short walk with each dog before you make a choice. Take your time in choosing a shelter dog. Don’t rush your decision. It might take several visits to make a decision for such a long term commitment.

If you already have a dog, bring your dog to the shelter to introduce the dog you want to adopt to your current dog. If there are any problems between the dogs, you may have to choose another dog. Not all dogs will get along.

Things You Will Need

If you don’t currently have a veterinarian, you will need to find one. Don’t wait until your dog is home before finding a veterinarian. Be prepared before you need a veterinarian. Click here to find out how to find a veterinarian.

You will need to buy dog care items for your dog. Your dog will need a collar, a 6ft leash, ID tags, water and food bowls, food, toys, a crate, bedding, and a brush. Find out what food the dog is currently eating at the shelter to prevent digestive problems.

If you and your veterinarian decide to change your dog’s food, you will need to introduce the new food slowly over a week. Continue feeding the same food on the same schedule for the first few days. Start with 25% new food to 75% old food. Over the next week slowly add more new food, 50% old food to 50% new food. Then 75% new food to 25% old food. Finally, 100% of the new food.

Bring Your Dog Home

adopt a rescue dogYour dog should be safely secured in a crate or a travel harness on the way to its new home. If you are involved in an accident, you don’t want your dog being thrown around and injured or worse.

If possible, take off work for a couple of days to spend time with your dog and help them adjust to their new surroundings. Don’t spend every minute with your dog as they will become accustomed to you being with them and they may develop separation anxiety.

Leave your dog inside while you go outside for a few minutes. When you return inside, don’t get excited and make a big deal out of your return. Remain calm so your dog will remain calm. Slowly increase the time you are away from your dog.

Be Patient With Your Dog

After adoption, give your dog time to acclimate to your home and family. Hold off on introducing strangers to your dog. Also, wait to introduce friends and family members dogs to your dog.

Remain calm and quiet for the first few days. Allow your dog time to get used to it’s new surroundings and settle in. Spend time one on one with your dog to get to know them better. Be very patient.

When you arrive at home, take your dog immediately to the area where you want him or her to relieve themselves. Spend some time with your dog in this area.

Take your dog inside and show them where their food and water bowls are, their crate, bed, and toys. Have a crate ready for your dog inside with the door open so he can go in the crate if he feels overwhelmed.

Be prepared for accidents inside your home. A new home, new people, new smells, new sounds can throw your dog off and accidents may happen. Take your dog outside frequently to relieve themselves in the same area. Praise your dog for relieving themselves outside.

Start your dog on a schedule for feeding, going out to relieve themselves, walking, playing, and time for training. Be consistent so your dog will know what to expect each day.

The Next Few Weeks

Invite friends and family to come to your home to meet your dog, one or two at a time. Don’t overwhelm your dog with new people, take your time. Let your dog get to know someone and then introduce their dog to your dog.

If you find that your dog has behavioral issues, you may need to see a dog behavioral specialist. Try using positive reinforcement to help correct behavior problems. Praising your dog for good behavior will show them what you expect out of them. Dogs love to please their owners.

Make a Long Term Commitment

Take your time making your decision to adopt a puppy or dog. You need to make a long term commitment to take care of a dog for the rest of it’s life. They will depend on you every day and they will give you unconditional love in return. Don’t make the decision to adopt a rescue dog lightly. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.

Shop Clothing To Save Animals at The Animal Rescue Site! Every Purchase Funds At Least 14 Bowls Of Food For Shelter Animals In Need! Another way to help shelter animals without adopting!



  1. A really good post about adoption and dogs.
    I want a dog myself but haven’t thought about getting such a dog.
    But you have some really good insights about how this works.
    I will think about when this happens.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • Alice

      July 12, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Hi Tove! There are many dogs in shelters that need a good home. When you get ready for a dog, consider adoption. Don’t take the decision to adopt lightly as you will need to take care of the dog for it’s lifetime. Thank you for your comment.

  2. This is a really good detailed article about how to adopt a dog and getting him settled into your home. I have never been a dog owner but similar principles apply for cat owners like myself who acquire a cat from a cat haven.

    • Alice

      July 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I wrote this post because many people don’t know how to help a rescue dog adjust to their new home. I think most people want to help their pet, but they just don’t know what to do.

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