How to Help a Rescue Dog Acclimate Into Your Home: A Walk-Through the Process

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At Off Leash K9 Training of Knoxville, many of our trainers are rescue based, and we can help you adopt your new family member!

Adopting a rescue dog is incredible and can make a huge difference in their life, especially if they have lived in shelters or had bad experiences. As much as bringing a rescue dog is exciting, it has its challenges when it comes to acclimating the dog to the house.

Settling your dog may take days, weeks, or even months, which is why you must take the process of adjusting your dog to the house slowly. Rescue dogs usually have traumatic pasts, so they may need time to trust and get used to a home.

In a few simple steps, you can help a rescue dog acclimate into your home, which includes:

Make Your Home a Safe Place for Your Dog

Before bringing the dog to your house, ensure it is safe. Put away all the tempting stuff for the dog to chew, such as wires, shoes, chemicals, medicines, and toxic plants. You may also have to supervise the dog in each space when you bring them. This way, they will only reach safe things.

Also, confine a clean and comfortable space for your dog where they can recoil to relax and be in their own space. You can use a crate with appropriate bedding, food, and water bowls and place it in a quieter room.

Remain Calm When Pick up the Dog

Bringing a dog home may be exciting for you, but the dog is leaving a familiar place and going somewhere new and may not feel as thrilled as you do. Hence, you must stay calm and hold on to your excitement until the dog feels at home.

You can show affection, but keep calm because too many emotions can make your dog uncomfortable.

Take a Walk

After welcoming the dog to their new home, take a walk with the pup around your neighbourhood while keeping them on their leash. This way, the dog will get familiar with the new place and its surroundings.

Give Them a House Tour

When you bring a rescue dog to your house, you must give them a guided tour of the rooms and yard while keeping them on their leash. This way, the pup feels more welcome, and letting them enter your space makes them comfortable in new presences and incense. Avoid walking the dog to the areas you don’t want them to have access to.

And when you have been to the yard and all the rooms, take the dog to their crate and let them relax.

Set a Routine and Be Consistent

Rescue dogs often feel nervous in a new place and may require something to calm them down. Setting a routine for meals, play sessions, walks, and naps helps the dog to settle in with ease as they know what comes next. Being consistent with the routine helps with their anxiety because they would know what you expect of them.

Also, if your dog already has a routine, try to build a new routine around that one.

House-Train the Dog

More often, dogs defecate inside the house in a new place and environment due to anxiety or stress. And so, you must start house training your dog right away. Training your dog to defecate in a defined spot from the beginning will enable them to recognize where to go for the toilet.

You can do that by supervising the signs when the dog wants to go out, creating a routine, and taking the dog outside every two to three hours, and after every meal, nap, and play session.

Give Your Rescue Dog Space and Time to Settle In

Rescue dogs usually come from shelters that are unlike homes and may take time to get used to being around people. You may see that they avoid interaction, which is normal behaviour. Be patient because it may take weeks or even months for your dog to settle in.

Leave them to spend time alone without forcing interaction, and let them come to you when they feel comfortable.

Introduce the House Members Slowly

In the initial days, try to keep your dog away from other people and let them adjust at their own pace because introducing so many new faces and personalities may be overwhelming for them.

If you have young children and other pets, introduce them carefully, and maybe when the dog has adjusted to your home. With young children, make sure they meet the dog under your supervision and be gentle with them. While with the pets, introduce them slowly and make sure they are under control.

Be Gentle and Patient

Being patient and gentle with the dog is an essential part of settling them into their new house. You must have patience while acclimating the dog to an unfamiliar setting and people. Offering treats or toys may help in welcoming the dog and building your relationship with them.

You need to be gentle and calm when dealing with their unwanted behaviour. Moreover, look out for signs of anxiety or stress and respond appropriately.


Giving a rescue dog a forever home is the most rewarding thing one can do for them. However, acclimating the dog into your home can be taxing and would require patience and understanding that they may need time to get used to a new environment. With your support and guidance, they can adapt to the change and be your companion.

To successfully adjust your rescue dog to your home, make your home safe for the dog, stay calm, talk on walks, give space and time, and be gentle and understanding.

Give us a call at 865-383-3646, or go to our website at for more information.

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