This information is taken from our information sheet for adopters who adopt dogs that are in the direct care of the Oldies Club.
Bringing a new dog into your home can be very exciting for the family but for your new dog it can be a daunting occasion, to say the least, and even frightening for some. Our dogs have had homes before and have gone through the trauma of losing a loved owner through death, infirmity or a change in circumstances as well as the home that is familiar to them. They have no understanding of why their life has been turned upside down and do suffer loss and bereavement, worry, confusion and stress. We hope this information will help you ease your new dog into your home with as little distress as possible.
Oldies Club will give you as information about your dog as possible. As far as you can, try to keep the daily routines in place for a period of time and gradually change them if required. This includes diet and food preferences, daily routine and feeding times etc.
If you can arrange it, make the arrival of your dog coincide with some time at home, so that you can be around all the time, gradually leaving him alone for short periods of time and increasing them as necessary.
First, introduce your dog to his new home and garden on his lead, letting him stop and sniff. If you have an existing dog, it’s might be a good idea to take them for a walk first so they can get used to each other before entering the house.
Expect unexpected behaviour. Your dog will be nervous and excited at the same time. There will be new faces, places, smells and noises. He will be confused and stressed and may well have toilet accidents during the first few days. A house-trained animal will quickly resume good habits, so don’t scold him because this can make matters worse.
Try and keep things as calm as possible, allow him to rest and settle in, talk calmly to him, don’t invite family and friends around to meet him and handle him straight away. He needs time to learn where everything is and to get to know you. Be patient and kind, praise good behaviour and give him time. This is the time when he’s learning his place in your home so how you are with him now will influence his future behaviour.
During the Settling-In Period
Be patient. Your dog will no doubt feel insecure. After all, he’s lost at least one owner before, so he may follow you around everywhere. He won’t want to lose you too! His insecurity may be more marked at night and he may bark at first when parted from you. Leave a dim light on, or a radio on low. If he came with previous possessions like a blanket or bed, let him be near something familiar.
Establish a routine: feeding, walks, toilet, etc. so that he learns to know what happens when. This will give him a sense of security and help him settle in.
Give him his own space and bed where he can retreat for some peace and quiet when he needs it. If you have young children, make that space somewhere where he can seek solace away from them when he wants.
Consider dog socialising classes, particularly if he’s still keen and active. You’ll meet other dog owners and pick up lots of tips. Remember, it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, so you can go along whatever the age of your dog.
When meeting new people, always tell them that he’s a rescue dog, so they can be more sensitive in approaching him; for instance quick movements towards him may frighten him. Gradually, you’ll both learn what to expect in given situations and eventually, you may even feel able to let him run off his lead in some places in the safe knowledge that he’ll return when you call because you’re the person he wants to be with.
Once he has had a settling-in period, and this will vary depending on his past experiences, then he will become more confident.
Your new dog will be so pleased that he’s got a new home and somebody to love, that all he’ll want to do is please you. The more you help him to settle in, the quicker he’ll do it. If you have any problems you don’t know how to handle, contact us and we’ll do our best to help.
How Oldies Club Provides Ongoing Support
At Oldies Club we are committed to offering lifelong support to all of our dogs and their owners. Our involvement does not stop at adoption; we love to know how our dogs are getting on and are always available for any support or advice that you may need in the future.
Our Post Adoption Coordinator, can be contacted by phone or email : the contact details are on the printed adoption sheet you will be given.
Staying in touch
Please do keep in touch after adoption and advise us of any change of contact details or circumstances. If you are able to email some pictures and a few words for our rehoming stories section on the website, we are always happy to receive them and feel it encourages others to give an ‘oldie’ a second chance in life. We have an ‘Oldies Club’ web forum, which can be found at www.therefuge.org.uk, please come and join us.
Thank you so much for giving one of our dogs a forever home, we look forward to hearing from you soon.