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Bringing a Dog Home from the Shelter

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After tireless searching for your soul pet, you stumble upon what you consider to be the perfect addition to your family. This decision was very complicated, but as a proud animal owner and lover you decide rather than to purchase from a store to adopt a dog from a shelter. This is an exciting decision for both you and your new furry family member. However, preparing for a rescue dog is slightly more challenging than an animal from the pet store. Like many people, each of these animals has a story to why they ended up in the shelter, rarely through fault of their own.

Preparing the Homestead

Before bringing a dog home from the shelter there are many preparations to make. This will ensure you or your dog are not overwhelmed with the new atmosphere. There are many preparations which can be made regardless of size or breed. Each of these preparations will allow your dog to familiarize itself with its new environment and ensure you, as a parent to the animal, are not consumed by your animals ecstatic personality.


One of the first purchases you should make is gates. Houses vary in sizes, and dogs will take full advantage of exploring every corner of it. Although it seems harmless, allowing your dog to explore your entire house can expose problems and bad habits which can simply be prevented through gating off rooms. Many rescue dogs can be somewhat anxious when exposed to a totally new environment meaning they could “piddle” when overwhelmed. Furthermore, many dogs may not be fully housebroken. If your house has a room connected to an outside door which has hardwood floor such as a kitchen, it would be best to start your dog in this room. By exposing them to only one room at first, you will be able to have more control over the dog’s habits and accidents. Furthermore, the gates will allow the animal slow exposure to the house, keeping their anxiety down.

As time progresses, slowly exposing the dog to new rooms such as a living room or hallway as reward for good behavior will give the animal positive reinforcement that it is doing the right thing. However, for every room you expose the dog to, you will need to accept that what is in the room is now partly the dogs, meaning accidents can happen.


There are many mixed opinions about crating a dog. Some owners find it beneficial in keeping the animal under control and helping the dog understand when it is time to go to bed. It will also prevent accidents from occurring around the house overnight. On the other hand, some owners find it beneficial to have the dog sleep in a dog bed in one of the gated rooms. This will give the dog more freedoms at night which is a risk some owners are willing to take.

Crate weening is also something which owners can use to their advantage. When a dog is behaving well, allowing them to sleep on a dog bed is something to reinforce positive behavior. Once the dog is behaving properly, they will no longer sleep in the crate. Please remember, these dogs come from all walks of life and have different experiences unlike pet store animals. This means that every animal should be treated with what works best. Some methods work better than others on these animals and it is up to the owner to decide which works and which do not, based on trial and error.

Dog Proofing

Ensuring the rooms which the dog is exposed to are “dog proofed” is essential to the animal’s safety and the owner’s comfort. First, anything which can be chewed such as shoes, clothing or children’s toys should be kept out of reach of the dog. Furthermore, the dog should be kept away from easy access to food consumed by people as some of this could be toxic to the dog.

A couple of the more common dangers to new pets are chemicals and exposed wiring. These should be kept far out of reach and in the case of wiring, properly secured behind something that cannot be chewed through.

Another common occurrence, if this is your first dog, is the dog fur that sheds. Depending on the breed, dogs shed a large amount of hair. Although short-haired dogs shed less, you will still find dog hair throughout the house that needs to be kept under control. To combat the increase in dog hair, many owners adopt the habit of vacuuming and cleaning frequently. It is often a good idea to invest in a good vacuum for new pet owners. If you don’t enjoy vacuuming every couple of days, there are options such as robovacs that are some of the best in the business for pet hair. This will help to alleviate the tedious task of constantly cleaning the floor.

Training the Animal

As stated earlier, every rescue animal is different and will require different training techniques to properly teach them. No one training method will work on every dog. However, as a rescue dog owner there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure you and your dog have a healthy relationship.

Never Strike your Dog

I believe this goes without saying but a dog should never be struck… EVER…. This will break any bond between you and your dog creating an unhealthy and toxic environment. There are many methods other than striking to teach a dog wrong from right.

Keep Calm

Dogs act how they were raised. This means that every dog will do things which may not be considered proper for a household pet. It is important to refrain from yelling at your dog as this will just scare them and create another toxic relationship between you two.

Reward Positive Behavior

Showing a dog affection and love for even the smallest of good behavior will help them recognize they will be rewarded for it. Even when they do something as small as pee outside show them that positive support

A rescue animal is one of the best living creatures a person can adopt, especially a dog. Bringing a dog home from the shelter is something that requires great commitment but also yields great reward when the dog is brought into the right household under the proper guidance. The last piece of advice for anyone considering adopting would be to love your animal with all the affection you can offer. This applies for any pet. You are their entire life and all they know and love. Treat them like your child and show them the best life you possibly can.