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Settling In


Settling in your rescue dog the right way in the first days and weeks is so important. Problems usually occur when people DO TOO MUCH TOO SOON and EXPECT TOO MUCH TOO SOON from their dog. It sounds obvious but loyalty, love, trust and obedience don't come automatically with the signing of the adoption papers. All these things take time, patience and love from adopters. Rescue dogs have usually been neglected, abused and abandoned (often many times over) and to them you are strangers, your home is a strange and often frightening place at first and they don't know your ways and what your words mean. Take the time to teach them POSITIVELY and they will love and respect you. If you are expecting the perfect dog straight away then please DO NOT adopt a rescue dog.


Here are some useful DOs and DON'Ts to remember in the first days and weeks with your BARK dog:


  • DO stay at home the first day or two or longer if needed. Let your dog get used to the house and garden before attempting to go for a walk. When you do go for a walk make it short and ideally at a quiet time of day to minimise the amount of people, other dogs and traffic etc they have to cope with. Build their walks and build their confidence


  • DON'T invite family and friends around straight away to meet your new dog. Let the dog settle in first and get used to you. Then introduce people one or two at a time and keep things calm and positive with minimum fuss


  • DO go in the garden when you first arrive home giving your new dog plenty of time to empty their bowels before going into the house. Don't set them up to fail where house-training is concerned. Gently praise all toileting outside and ignore any accidents inside. Confine them to easily cleaned areas like the kitchen until they are consistently toileting outside (rather than complaining they have weed on your cream carpet!)


  • DO introduce them to any resident dogs out in the garden. Don't force them to interact just be very relaxed and calm and let the dogs go at their own pace. If they ignore each other that is perfect


  • DO keep the dog on a long lead in the garden if they are very nervous or leave the lead attached but let it drop so that you can catch them easily again


  • DON'T overload them with treats and new foods. Scrambled egg or chicken and rice is a good first meal to prevent upset stomachs


  • DO remember that household items may be new and frightening to the dog. Take things slowly introducing things over a number of days; washing machines, vacuums, TVs may all be new experiences


  • DON'T panic if the dog doesn't want to come in the house at first or into certain rooms etc just let them do things at their own pace. Be positive and calm and above all PATIENT


  • DO be careful when opening external doors etc. Ensure your dog is secured in another room or behind a gate. Make sure they cannot suddenly bolt out of the door and out into the street. This has happened in the past and dogs have taken days to catch, been killed on the roads or never been found


  • DO make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag AT ALL TIMES. NEVER walk your dog in an ordinary collar and lead; only half chain or slip/ martingale collars are safe to use with a normal lead. Please use a good harness and lead (only three strap harnesses are inescapable) AND a slip lead in the first few weeks. DO NOT USE AN EXTENSION LEAD until weeks or months later when your dog is settled, bonded and happy as these can cause serious problems and be jerked out of your hands too easily. You should have your wrist securely through both the slip lead and harness lead.


  • DO be consistent. If you don't want the dog to go on the furniture or to go upstairs this needs to be insisted on from the first moment and stuck to. Baby gates help hugely with containing your dog in certain areas of the home


  • DO expect problems, issues, toilet accidents and an imperfect dog. Give them the love and patience and training they need and they will soon overcome their past and have a wonderful future


  • DO contact us if you are having problems. We are here to help and we have years of experience in every possible problem you may encounter


  • DON'T leave it until the problems are so great you can no longer cope. Call us, message us, email, ask us for help when help is needed even with small issues. That way they might not become big issues


  • DO keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. Updates and pictures keep us going. We LOVE to hear how our BARK babies are doing days, weeks and years after they have been adopted.