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Rescue Dog Day

May 15 2024

Are you considering adopting a dog? If so, you may want to consider getting a rescue.  Quite a few of our patients are rescues, who fell on hard times at some point, but are now living their best lives as beloved pets. A local Haddon Township, NJ vet discusses rescue dogs in this article.

When Did National Rescue Dog Day Start?

Rescue Dog Day falls on May 20th every year. This is a fairly new pet holiday: it was first started back in 2018 by kids’ book author Lisa Wiehebrink.  She is the executive director of Tails That Teach, which teaches kids about pets. She founded Rescue Dog Day in honor of her own rescue pup, Cooper.

What Is National Rescue Dog Day For?

There ultimately are two goals here. It’s officially a time to celebrate the ‘pawesome’ rescue dogs that have won our hearts, completed our families, and just brought love and joy to our lives, along with happy dances, tail wags, and snoot boops.

Of course, this is also a great time to encourage those who are considering adopting a pup to go with a rescue.

What Is The 3/3/3 Rule For Dog Adoptions?

This is more of a guideline than a general rule. It’s a way to help people remember that our canine pals can take some time adjusting to major changes, such as going to a new home. Even if Fido is going to a wonderful and loving forever home (which we think all dogs deserve) it’s still going to take time for him to adjust to the change. The rule means that it’s going to take your new pup roughly three days to get used to his new surroundings, three weeks to settle in, and three months to really feel safe and loved.

How Do I Apply The 3/3/3 Rule?

The 3-3-3 rule is a guideline for transitioning a rescue dog into its new home and helping it to settle in. It suggests that the first three days should be used for adjusting to its new surroundings, the next three weeks for training and bonding, and the first three months for continued socialization and training.

Days 1-3

Right now, you just want to focus on helping Fido feel safe. Make sure he has a comfy, quiet spot where he can relax and settle in. While you don’t want to go too crazy with treats, this is a great time to offer some yummy snacks. Use small ones, so you don’t overfeed your canine pal. Don’t force attention on Fido; just talk to him in a friendly tone. If he likes being petted, by all means indulge him, but if he’s shy just give him time.

Don’t be surprised if your pooch sleeps a lot at first, especially if he’s come from a shelter. The shelter environment can be extremely scary and stressful for dogs. Your pet may just need some extra rest as he’s decompressing.

Positive reinforcement is very important here. If your pet does something wrong, such as making a mess, don’t punish him. You can reprimand him verbally, but anything beyond that may just scare him.

Week 1-3

Once your pet has had a chance to get a feel for his new place, it’s time to work on bonding, and also address any training that needs to happen. Establishing a steady routine is very important here. Take Fido on daily walks, and make time to play with him. Try to do these things at the same time every day. This will help him feel secure.

When walking your pup, make sure to use a sturdy leash. Fido may have phobias or quirks you don’t know of yet, such as an obsession with squirrels or a fear of other dogs. That way, if he tries to bolt unexpectedly, you’ll have a good grip on him.

Your pooch should also see his new veterinarian as soon as possible. Even if he’s already been fixed and is up to date on vaccinations, he’ll need a thorough nose-to-tail exam. This is a great time to get some specific advice on his care needs.

Fido may test you a bit during this stage. If you come across speed bumps or behavioral issues, reach out to your vet for advice.

We’d also suggest getting a doggy DNA test done, especially if your pooch is a mix. This can be very helpful, and can give you valuable insight into Fido’s behavior and let you know about any health issues he may be susceptible to. (Plus, it’s always interesting to find out what Fido is.) 

Month 1-3

During this stage, you and Fido should have gotten somewhat familiar with each other. Now, it’s time to focus on training and building a bond of love and trust. Taking your canine pal to places like parks can help him feel confident and happy. 

Should I Crate My New Rescue Dog At Night?

There’s no universal yes or no answer for this. Many dogs feel safer in crates. They give Fido a safe little den, where nothing can sneak up on him as he’s sleeping. However, if your pup was kenneled too long, or has a bad association with kennels, you don’t want to force it.

One option is to teach your pet to go into his crate, but leave the door open. You can also put the crate in your bedroom. Your pet may feel safer near you. Or, he may want to feel like he’s doing his ‘job’ and keeping watch over you.

We generally advise giving Fido a quiet place to relax and settle in. If you have other pets, ask your Haddon Township, NJ vet for advice on introducing them. 

What Should I Not Do When Adopting A Dog?

Sometimes knowing what pitfalls to avoid can be just as beneficial as knowing what you should be doing. There are some definite don’ts to keep in mind here.

Don’t Skip Petproofing

All of our canine pals are unique. While one dog may completely ignore your shoes and houseplants, another may be bent on chewing them up. Make sure that your home is safe by addressing anything that could be dangerous. That includes toxic plants, small or sharp objects, chemicals, medication, plastic bags, personal items, and wires. Ask your Haddon Township, NJ vet for tips.

Don’t Rush Things

It’s important to understand that rescues may need extra time, training, and most of all, love, to really thrive. Giving a rescue dog a second chance can be extremely rewarding. It’s a beautiful experience to see a pooch thriving with love and care! However, that may not happen overnight. your pet may be confused, fearful, or even sad because he misses his old owner. Be patient, and let love grow. The biggest mistake many people make is in trying to force a dog to integrate too quickly.

What Are The Benefits Of Adopting A Rescue Dog?

We love seeing rescue dogs go to good homes. In fact, many people swear up and down that their rescue dogs are the best pets they’ve ever had. That makes sense. Fido is definitely smart enough to know and appreciate someone that is taking care of him and being kind. Rescue dogs are often extremely loyal and loving. You also get to pick your perfect pup! There are rescue dogs available of every shape, size, color, breed, age, and activity level. Many rescue pups are also quite cheap to adopt, and are often already fixed and trained. Plus, you may find that your heart absolutely melts the first time Fido looks at you or wags his tail at you. 

Contact Your Haddon Township, NJ Pet Clinic

Do you have questions about caring for a rescue dog? Contact us, your local Haddon Township, NJ pet hospital, today!

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