Mabel the Rescue Dog

Encourage Dog Lovers to Adopt 💕

3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

Some humans like to give up when the going gets tough, but when it comes to rescue dogs, that should never be the case! People get frustrated if their dog doesn’t adjust to their home right away. Sure, some dogs are good with change, but every dog is different. It’s important to give your dog space when they first arrive in their new home.

How Long Should Be Expected?

As mentioned earlier, every dog will adjust at their own pace. However, you should expect to give them at least 3 months to fully settle in. Most dogs are comfortable after 6 to 8 weeks, but it’s better to overestimate just in case your dog is having a harder time adjusting.

For the first few days, your dog will likely be scared and unsure of everything. They will likely take that time to explore their new surroundings. During that time, they might not act as they usually would, so give them space if needed.

Then, for the next few weeks, your dog will probably start to feel more comfortable in their home. They’ll learn that this is probably where they’ll be living forever, so they’ll start to act more at home. They’ll likely also bond with you during this time.

However, if a rescue dog has a rough past, it will probably take much longer for them to adjust. Don’t overwhelm your dog with attention and take time to learn their boundaries. The first 3 months with your dog is not only an adjustment for them, but it’s a chance for you to learn about them as well so that you can accommodate their needs as much as possible.

How to Make it Easier

When your new family member comes home, make sure to give them plenty of space. It’s possible that they might want to run around a play, but you can’t just assume. So, read their body language and give them space when they seem nervous. Your home is a new place to them, so they need plenty of time to explore for themselves.

Also, you should help get your dog into a routine right away. Feed them at their designated meal times and take them for walks regularly throughout the day. At first, they might be too nervous to eat all their food, so be understanding with them. Slowly start to ease them into their new life.

Make sure they also have plenty of things to call their own. Give them their own bed and toys. Even if there are other dogs in the house, make sure your new dog has some things of their own. Keep these items near each other so your dog can have their own personal space to retreat to if they’re scared.

As you get to know your dog and teach them new things, don’t get angry at them. Reward them for positive behavior, but don’t yell at them if something goes wrong. They’re already in a scary new situation, so yelling at them will only make it harder to adjust. It will take some time for them to learn how to behave, so take your time when training them and reward them with a treat or toy when they behave well.

Be Patient!

The most important part of getting to know a rescue dog is being patient with them. Moving into a new home usually isn’t easy for humans, so the same is true for dogs. Don’t expect them to feel at ease right away because then you’ll only be disappointed when they don’t immediately snuggle with you.

Some dogs might feel at home right away, but when adopting a dog, always expect that it will take a while for them to adjust. Be patient with them and don’t give up if they don’t seem to be making progress. A dog is an important family member, so you need to show them that this new home is where they’ll spend the rest of their life.

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6 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take a Rescue Dog to Adjust to Their New Home?

  1. When I arrived, it took 18 months for me to settle completely. At first I would follow people around the house, wonder what they were doing, where they were going and why I wasnt always invited. I had regular walks, regular meal times, regular bed and nap times and toys that I could shred to my hearts content. I was still showing signs of anxiety though and it seems that the walks weren’t long enough, albeit they were 3-4 miles. So we walked a bit farther, got out of bed a little earlier and changed the route we took on different days. The fields, street, park, woods and garden were regularly combined to give my brain some stimulus and gradually the toy shredding subsided. I was also getting regular sessions where I was learning things, beyond sit and stay. For instance I would have some evening snacks (not many mind) and they would be placed around the house so I had to go and find them. Using brain and nose seemed to calm me.

    When Lenny arrived, maybe it was because I was already here, but he seemed to settle within 6 months. Again there was a routine around food, walks, toys and sleeping. Apart from the seemingly constant attempts at trying to play bitey face with me, he knows what the limits are and where he can and cannot sleep, walk and chew toys.

    Patience is indeed the key, as well as praise for doing the right thing. I am lucky that I have a big garden to run around and I was happy to share this with Lenny. We could exercise our brains and legs in the garden and be tired when we returned to the house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Molly Weinfurter says:

      Every dog is different, so you’re absolutely right, patience is so important. Mabel seemed comfortable with me right away, but she was a stubborn pup that didn’t like to listen. So, it took her a while to get into a routine and learn that I was in charge. Other than that, she sort of made herself at home right away.

      However, with my first dog, Zoe, it took her much longer to adjust. She was rescued from a puppy mill, and she was at least 6 years old when I adopted her, so she was not ready to trust any humans yet. I honestly don’t think she was ever 100% comfortable in her new home, but she made just a little progress every day, which is so important. At first, she didn’t even want to be touched and she didn’t want to play, but as time went on, she started to realize that I wasn’t going to hurt her and she would come near me on her own. She helped me see that every dog will adjust at their own pace, so I think it’s important that people understand that before they adopt a dog. Many people get frustrated when their rescue dog doesn’t act as expected, and that’s just not fair to any dog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. People must allow us time to understand what we are entering into when we arrive at our forever home. I was, apparently, wandering the streets in Wales, picked up, homed, returned to the rescue centre and the arrived here, all within the first 2.5 years of my life. At first I thought that everything was a precursor to something else. Getting tickles would lead to going for a walk, someone walking out of the room would lead to going out for a walk, having a toy for me to destroy would lead to doing something else. My brain didnt register that all I had to do was chill out and all was well. I wasnt a cuddly dog when I arrived and just wanted stuff to do, places to see and go. Now I am happier to relax and watch the maelstrom of my brother whirl around. Having woofed that, he has learned very quickly to relax and knows he will get tickles and cuddles if he is a good boy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post and so true! too many people assume a dog will just jump right in and be family from the start but that’s rarely the case. Thanks for explaining that so well. We adopted our newest dog from a pound in TN (via a rescue) last September and she is still settling in and only now getting comfortable with some of the people in this house (college aged kids who come and go). It just takes time. Lots of it.

    One thing I’d add is that newly adopted rescue dogs are a serious flight risk those first few weeks/months and extra care should be taken to keep them secure. They don’t know they’re home yet and are prone to running. So many ‘lost dogs’ are newly adopted dogs. I foster dogs for a rescue and I try to really stress this to my adopters and yet it still happens.
    Excited to have discovered Mabel and follow along!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Molly Weinfurter says:

      Thank you for checking out Mabel’s blog! The flight risk thing is very good advice! I’ve personally never had any of my rescue dogs run away, but I’ve heard so many horror stories of dogs that have. I can’t imagine losing a dog, so yes, it’s always important to be aware of that when bringing a new dog home.


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