Rescue dog manual: a user’s guide to newly adopted dogs



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Welcome to our Rescue dog page, to help give your dog the best shot at his second chance.


For whom is the Rescue dog manual?

For people who are about to welcome a rescue dog in their home over the next couple of weeks, or who have just done so. This service can help owners of dogs from a local shelter or from abroad. This manual is available all over the world (not just The Hague or The Netherlands). 

Why the Rescue dog manual? 

You want to give your dog the best start, of course. But which training service is the best fit? We get this question nearly every day. 

The answer is… None! We recommend giving recently adopted dogs at least 6 weeks to adjust to their new life. This means no welcome party, not meeting all your friends, no group course or excursion. 

These first 6 weeks are crucial to help your dog find their feet. They need to get used to their new home, their new owners, their new surroundings. It is a lot to take in! Even with dogs who seem to be adjusting quickly, we often only start seeing their true character shine through after 6 weeks. That is when they really feel at HOME. 

Putting your dog in an overwhelming or tense situation too soon can set you up to a bad start, and increases the chance of behaviour problems. 

On the other hand, how you manage these first few weeks can have a long-term impact on the success of the adoption, so getting professional advice can give you the extra guidance you need, even though you are not starting with formal training lessons yet.

During this period, you will likely see puzzling (and often temporary) behaviour pop up and not know what to do with it. 

Our manual gives you specialist advice about how to help your dog through these first few weeks. 

The Rescue dog manual in short

In this pdf document, you will find detailed information about: 

  • The emotional baggage of rescue dogs
  • What to buy
  • Taking time off work? 
  • How not to mess up when picking up the dog (airport, etc.)
  • How to break the ice on the first day
  • How to introduce the dog to a resident dog
  • How to manage the first night
  • The decompression period: what to expect, how to deal with it
  • How to deal with typical behaviour problems humanely
  • How to socialise (e.g. people and dogs) and habituate (e.g. city goings-on) responsibly and effectively
  • Obedience (in the medium term): professional secrets and the real priorities
  • How to tackle behaviour that has stuck, like home-alone, fear or aggression

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