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How to Introduce a Rescue Dog into Your Home

Updated on December 11, 2011

Books for You and Your Dog

How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond
How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond

A dog manual by Cesar Milan is the premier dog trainer to the stars


After working for many years fostering rescue dogs I realized that I dealt with the same situation over and over when bringing home the latest bailed out pound pup. Most first time rescue dog owners may be under the impression that they just made a big mistake as the new addition tears into their home, urinating and jumping on everything in their path.

Sadly, the new dog may have spent a good deal of time in a cage at the pound where they had to eat, sleep and relieve themselves. Your new dog may not have ever had a chance to prove that they can be a civilized member of a household. Enter you, rulebook in hand. Following these simple steps will help your dog learn the do’s and don’ts of your home and avoid bad habits.

First, prior to bringing your new companion home, things like shoes, purses and accessories should be put away before they are mistaken for a chew toy. Food and water should be ready in easy to clean stainless steel bowls, a variety of toys should be available and an appropriately sized dog bed should be placed in a cozy spot. If you would like to have a dog spot designated on the sofa, place a throw blanket that can protect that area and help the dog make a clear distinction. Check your yard for security, identifying and repairing any potential escape points.

Keep in mind, bringing home a new dog on the weekend or a long vacation will maximize initial training time and establish a mutual respect and understanding. Try to have as much one on one time as possible with your new friend before leaving them for any extended period.

As with most long term houseguests, as soon as you bring your rescue dog home, you must show your dog the restroom. Keeping the leash on, quickly bypass all the interesting furniture, sights, and smells and go straight to the back door. If you do not have a yard, make it a quick trip around the living room and kitchen then right back out the door to allow the dog to relieve themselves outside. A shrill and distracting shout if a leg is lifted before you make it to the “potty” will do the trick. Don’t forget to praise all good behavior.

Next, explore every room with your dog, being sure to show where the food, water, toys, bed and any other spot on furniture that is ok and marked with a “dog blanket”. Dogs will test the limits, but as long as you are there the first time she puts her paws up on the counter and attempts to use your toilet as a drinking fountain to tell her “no” you will have much better chances of enjoying a well-behaved pet.

Also, if you see any sign that the dog may need to go to the bathroom, such as circling an area or lifting the leg for males, your new best friend needs to get outside again. Outdoor time should be supervised to ensure that you have not missed any weakness in fence security before leaving your pet out there alone.

Some dogs may take a little more time than others, but these first hours are critical for teaching the house rules. Be patient, be the boss, enjoy your new companion and give yourself a pat on the back for rescuing instead of purchasing your pet. He or she will repay you by being your best friend for life.

Try my absolute favorite Dog Toys - Kong Squeakers

Other Must Have Dog Items

PETCO Stainless Steel Diner
PETCO Stainless Steel Diner

Stainless steel is easy to clean and much healthier than plastic.



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    • profile image

      Katia57 5 years ago

      What a super overview! I am so glad that I have been doing this exactly the same way! Thank you!

    • kkflowers profile image

      kkflowers 6 years ago

      Thank you! Rescue dogs are the best :)

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi kkflowers, this is all great information and advice for anyone who will be looking to open their home to a rescue dog .

      Awesome and vote up !!!

      Welcome to Hubpages !!!