5 Things That Help Your Rescue Dog Feel at Home

5 Things That Help Your Rescue Dog Feel at Home

Taking in a rescue dog can be a life-changing experience for both you and the pup. Welcoming a new member into your family will surely liven up your household since dogs are known to bring a lot of love and joy into people’s lives. For the rescue, on the other hand, being accepted by a loving home means that they’ll be able to live a happy and healthy life, just as all dogs should.

However, the transition from living in a shelter to living in a proper home can be a stressful experience for your new pup. Even though the dog was comfortable around you when you visited them in the shelter, they might have a difficult time settling into their new home since it’s a strange, new place with its own rules and routines.

It’s perfectly normal for rescue dogs to take some time to get comfortable with their new living conditions. In this regard, don’t feel discouraged when your rescue dog isn’t excited to use the customizable eco-friendly dog collar you got them or ignores the toys that you offer. Knowing how to prepare your home and how to help your new pet adjust in the first few weeks will set the tone for the rest of your interactions and how well your dog will integrate with your family. Here are five examples of what you can do to help ease the transition.

Prepare for Your Rescue Dog’s Arrival

Since you’ll be welcoming a dog into your household, you have to prepare your home for their arrival. You want your rescue pup to feel comfortable and appreciated the moment they step inside your house, so getting dog food, dog bowls, and a customizable dog bed that fits them is a must. It also helps to get them their own dog leash, dog collar, and pet ID tag, so you can take them out for walks without worrying about them running off and getting lost.

If it’s your first time owning a dog, it’s also a good idea to dog-proof your home beforehand. This ensures that your pup won’t get into areas where they’re not supposed to and rummage through items that can potentially be harmful to them. Some dog-proofing tips you can follow include installing pet safety gates, keeping the door to the laundry room closed, and removing indoor houseplants that are poisonous to dogs.

Stay Calm and Take Things Slow

People who are experienced in taking in rescue dogs generally follow the 3-3-3 rule. This rule pertains to the amount of time a rescue pup needs to feel comfortable in their new home, which is broken down into three phases. These phases are the first three days, the first three weeks, and then the first three months.

During the first three days, you can expect your rescue dog to feel overwhelmed by the change in their environment and become skittish around you and other members of your household. They may be scared and withdrawn, so allow them to approach you at their own pace. After three weeks, they’ll likely be more comfortable in your home and start to recognize it as their territory. Your pet might also show some bad behavior as they test boundaries and learn the rules of your home, so show patience and consistency in training them. Finally, after three months, your dog will have established a routine and created a strong bond with you. It can take up to this point, or possibly longer, for them to be completely comfortable.

Although the 3-3-3 rule is touted as the ideal adjustment period for rescue pups, it’s not always the case. The experience differs from dog to dog, so if you notice that your dog isn’t following the process, don’t worry. It’s better to stay calm and let your dog adjust to their new environment in their own way. Forcing them to interact with you can make them more nervous and ruin their experience of transitioning into a new home.

Keep Introductions Intimate

Taking in a rescue pup is an amazing experience, so you might be excited to immediately introduce your dog to all your friends and relatives. However, it’s in your best interest to hold off on the meet-and-greet until your pet is more comfortable living with you. Meeting a large group of strangers when they’ve only had limited exposure at the shelter can overwhelm your dog, so they might have a more difficult time settling into their new home.

Keeping the initial introductions intimate will allow your dog to relax and get used to being around you and your household. When your dog is ready to meet more people, make sure that they’re meeting people one at a time. Having too many strangers in one room can stress out your pup and make them more fearful of people.

Give Them a Tour of Your Neighborhood

Another great way to help your rescue dog become more comfortable with their new surroundings is by taking them for a walk around your neighborhood. This way, they can familiarize themselves with the sights, sounds, and smells of the area, as well as give them a chance to mark new territories outside. To make the experience fun for both you and your pup, it’s a good idea to take short walks at first and gradually make them longer as your dog gets used to their surroundings.

Be Patient with Your Pup

It isn’t always easy for rescue pets to adjust to their new homes, so it’s important to be patient with your dog during this period. Giving them the time and space to get comfortable around you will help them understand that you mean no harm and that you’ll be there to take care of them and shower them with love.


Giving rescue dogs a new lease on life is a noble cause. But if you don’t help your rescue pup to transition to their new setup at their own pace, they may have a hard time settling down. With the help of these tips, however, you can make the experience a calm yet enjoyable one for both you and your rescue dog.