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Please tell me about settling in your rescue dog

(64 Posts)
InterruptingGiraffe Wed 10-May-17 18:49:44

DDog arrived this week and we are settling in. Our first dog. She's 2, has been in a home so not coming from kennels, but she had lots of dogs there.

She's friendly with us, clean in the house, has been fine about me leaving to do school run, settled in her crate nicely overnight.

She has seemed a bit subdued today. We're taking it slow with going out and I think she is probably a bit bored. But we were advised not to overstimulate her too quickly.

I'd love to hear stories about rescue dogs settling in. Top tips. Happy endings. Funny things. Whatever you have. We are so enormously happy to have her and she is absolutely lush. But it is rather daunting!

sulee Wed 10-May-17 19:38:52

We are on our 5th rescue dog and they have all been very different! It sounds as though you have made a great start ( house trained, no problems being left etc. ) I would agree with the taking things slowly advice as it's so easy to rush things. We have had our latest a couple of months now and this certainly helped us as it gives you a chance to assess your dog and if necessary, try to nip any negative behaviour in the bud. I can't say any of ours have been without their problems. Probably the worst from my point of view was a spaniel who had lived with an elderly lady. As she had never been left, she suffered from terrible separation anxiety which we never overcame. If left for even the shortest amount of time, she would howl and destroy whatever she could get to. Some of the others were not socialised well. One chased cars, joggers, you name it, a couple were a bit grumpy with other dogs but with time,perseverance and some behaviourist advice things improved. Good luck, it's not always easy, but so rewarding!

TattyCat Wed 10-May-17 23:41:30

My Top Tip? Try not to be a push-over because you feel sorry for her (being a rescue)!

We're in our 8th month with ours (black Lab) and she's an absolute joy. BUT... I've made a rod for my own back and now, if she's not sleeping, she expects to be entertained for her entire waking hours, which is becoming a pain in the backside! I love her to bits but I've been too soft with her and haven't really given her our boundaries.

If she brings me her ball and I say "no, I'm not playing", she drops the ball immediately and stares at me. It's actually quite funny because she does it without taking her eyes off me, but that's the point at which I then start feeling sorry for her, so end up playing even though I said 'no'. I'm a crap parent! She's with me pretty much 24/7 and I've not left her longer than 2 hours yet - she's happily sleeping when I get in and isn't in the slightest bit bothered. It's me who's the problem!

We've had absolutely no problems with her settling. Bits of her personality are starting to come through now but she's the nicest dog I've ever met and she's kind, gentle and funny.

InterruptingGiraffe Thu 11-May-17 08:08:28

I have two young kids so there's only so much attention to go round. But that is a good tip, thank you.

Currently she is not really eating and I am a bit worried. She found the cat food and I think has decided that wet food is much nicer than her dry stuff.

Sparkletastic Thu 11-May-17 08:14:56

Congratulations! We've had our rescue a year and she is such a blessing.
Top tips:

The not interested in food may be 'not interested in boring kibble. Maybe mix it with a bit of raw food or Lily's Kitchen tinned.
Find out what they look to do for fun - ours in nonplussed by sticks and balls but loves shaking or chewing soft toys, and hunting out bits of stinky dried tripe in the garden.
Stick to some familiar walks at first if DDog is a bit anxious. They can scent mark the route and start to feel at home.

Vicina Thu 11-May-17 09:27:11

It's very early days. Keep on as you're doing, and agree with something more appealing mixed into the kibble.

After two or three weeks you might find she starts to push her luck a little bit as she gets more confident. My latest settled in well but I didn't see his cheeky side right away!

roundtable Thu 11-May-17 14:02:56

Marking place for advice and hijacking thread- got our ddog from a rescue centre in Saturday. She's very stressed I think.

She was much calmer yesterday and her poo was more solid - today back to diarrhoea. She barked at my dsis and blocked her way multiple times when she came into the house even though she's met her before.

We're see a dog behaviourist that's linked to the rescue centre tomorrow so I'm hoping he will show us some practical advice although I think the stress part will be a case of time.

InterruptingGiraffe Thu 11-May-17 14:06:19

I hope you can get it sorted roundtable, sounds like the rescue are being supportive?

How old is your dog? Do you know much about her history?

Jenda Thu 11-May-17 14:19:39

What about a little game of fetch in the garden? She's probably really tired with settling into a new house and trying hard to be good! Can we see a pic?!

InterruptingGiraffe Thu 11-May-17 14:35:16

I bought some wet food and mixed it with her kibble. Very popular. And putting it in her crate made her slightly happier to go in. She is good with her crate but after initially going in happily she was becoming more reluctant. I'm going to pop her food in it for a bit so the crate is not just "that place you put me & then disappear".

So far she hasn't shown much interest in any toys. We did try a bit of fetch but she just stared at us.

InterruptingGiraffe Thu 11-May-17 14:36:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

InterruptingGiraffe Thu 11-May-17 14:37:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

roundtable Thu 11-May-17 14:39:12

She's 3 and rescued from a Spanish kill centre. She lived with her rescuer and 4 children for a few months before going to kennels here for 6 months. (I'm royally outing myself with this post!) That's about all I know. She went to stay with someone once and they returned her saying she doesn't like men but she never had a problem with the male volunteers. She tries to take on too much responsibility and needs direction for what to do next. If she doesn't get it - she barks and growls (I think, we'll see what he says tomorrow)

I think she's overstimulated today after what you've said. We found a neighbours lost dog which we kept hold of from 4-7.30pm (still quite miffed about that but that's another thread) We've had a few visitors already. It's great they're so interested but I don't know if it's too much? They're not staying for long though to be fair and are bringing treats or a toy etc.

She seemed very calm and unbarky when we met her the times before taking her home so we're keen to get back to that.

Saying that - she's conked out on the rug in front of me so hopefully she's unwound a bit from this morning.

I've bought some long grain rice and some diced turkey thighs to boil later to try settling her stomach again.

She's started spitting out bought dog treats. It's all about the little slices of sausage and cheese!

InterruptingGiraffe Thu 11-May-17 14:47:01

Ours is Romanian, also been in foster for a while so pretty used to people. She's also wary of men, but we were told that is not unusual for ex street dogs and if any men around her make the effort she will learn to love them. She was certainly fine with the man from the rescue place.

We had a lot of advice about limiting visitors to start with. We don't tend to have a lot so that's been ok. We do have some friends with dogs lined up for walks once she's settled. It's a fine line between overstimulating and leaving it too late.

roundtable Thu 11-May-17 15:00:48

Yes, I think you're right. Hopefully, she'll feel more constantly settled.

Did the centre give you advice on how long before visitors? We were told not too many in the information brochure but not really given an idea of how many/ time frame.

InterruptingGiraffe Thu 11-May-17 16:32:29

They just said not to overcrowd in the first few days. And to ensure the dog has a safe zone that you can pop the dog in, then let them out once everyone is settled. Also to get guests to ignore them to begin with & then offer small treats if the dog is settled.

Mupflup Thu 11-May-17 17:50:02

We've had mupdog about 3 months now, she had been in rescue for 6 months after being found as a stray as she was so terrified of everything they felt she couldn't be rehomed. We were the first people to see her and we had to visit for about 6 weeks so they were confident she would bond with us before we were allowed to take her home.

She's clean in the house and very well behaved, we have never left her alone so that's something we need to start working on. We were told minimal visitors until she'd grown to trust us more which we have stuck to and I think it's helped. She's still very nervous of strangers and can be growly and snappy if anyone tries to get too close, which is tricky cos she's so damn cute everyone wants to pet her! She's also not keen on other dogs so walks can be 'interesting'. We are about to start classes for nervous reactive dogs, so I'm hoping that will help.

She has however brought a ridiculous amount of joy to our lives, and seeing her do things that 3 months ago would have been totally unthinkable has been amazing...I'm so proud of her when she does something new and you can often see how brave she's being when it's something she's not sure about...the little look back at me for reassurance just kills me.

We are also quite strict about routine, food / treats and what she is and isn't allowed to do which I think has helped as she knows what's happening at different points in the day which she seems to like. Initially we walked her the same route every day as she got anxious if we changed it but she's much more relaxed about that now. I it ally she would only go for a walk if both DH and I went but that also isn't a problem any more.

I think building trust is the key thing; they need to know that they can trust you to feed them, make sure they are safe and warm and get them away from things that make them anxious.

It's a journey, every day, and getting her was the best decision we ever made.

Mupflup Thu 11-May-17 17:53:29

I love this cartoon about it

InterruptingGiraffe Thu 11-May-17 18:42:02

Mupdog sounds lovely. That cartoon is great too.

Feeding in the crate is going well, she happily went all the way in to eat her food. It may not translate to being always willing to go in. But it's a start.

I'm also getting a safety gate for the kitchen so potentially she can go in there when we are out. Although I'd rather she slept in her crate overnight so the cat feels happier/

roundtable Thu 11-May-17 19:12:36

Mupdog is doing well!

Dh came home and ddog was thrilled. I think she worries when one of us goes. There must be an element of just getting used to it though. He's taken her out for an evening walk (she's on 3 a day at the moment but she's quite physical, can't be let off lead to bound around)

She seemed less uptight this evening. She has got a terribly upset stomach which I think could be stressed related. She had boiled turkey and rice for dinner this evening so hopefully that'll help. I'll see what dh says when he gets back from their walk as to whether she was calmer.

roundtable Thu 11-May-17 19:14:34

My dsis recommended buying a kong for the crate as it keeps her pup amused for ages digging out treats.

I'm going to order one soon.

Gingersstuff Fri 12-May-17 00:35:43

Ahhh your dog is gorgeous!!! I have a Rommie rescue as well. Best advice I can give you is give her time. Lots of time. Patience and love. I've found that ours is a very fast learner (they have to be, given their backgrounds, because they wouldn't be here otherwise). You might also find that once she is settled and feeling that she is safe, her behaviour might change slightly, as it's not uncommon for these dogs to suppress aspects of their behaviour until they feel secure. Our boy has significant fear aggression, which didn't become apparent until a few weeks in.
You've done an amazing thing saving one of these dogs from rotting in a rubbish dump somewhere in Romania. Wishing you many happy times with her smile

Mupflup Fri 12-May-17 08:29:34

round we find that mupdog is much more relaxed when we are both home as well, initially she was very anxious when one of us went out, especially if it was DH. It has got better though! She's still happier when we're both around but not as anxious and pacey when we're not.

interrupting I missed the pictures yesterday, she's gorgeous!

Mupflup Fri 12-May-17 08:31:38

gingers how are you dealing with the fear aggression, have you managed to improve it at all?

dudsville Fri 12-May-17 08:46:28

I've read that it can take 6 to 12 months to stop seeing new settling in behaviour, but then you'll also have all the changes as they age anyway. In the begining they watch and concetrate on your actions trying to work out the rules, learn what the routines and habits are, how to communicate with you, andtry to figure out what you mean when you say and do things, etc. One of mine used to sit resolutely in the garden as i called to her invitingly with treats. Nothing would convince her to move toward me. She'd been abused (unfortunately we had some photographic evidence) and I gathered from her response that she'd been teased into approaching her abuser. That took several months to overcome. She stopped flinching after about a year. Now she's a lively bright cuddly lap dog (far too big to be a lap dog but who cares!). I think she gets a little bored. She doesn't know how to play and training, even in the gentlest shortest durations frightens her so we've stopped and just do more of what she loves. She had a terrible skin and fur condition in the past and must have suffered but now she loves being groomed so we do that most days, the garden is full of interest, her walks, she loves hanging out with us and talks a lot, and she had a favourite shop in town that sells a huge range of treats and always gets cuddled wherever she goes and she loves that. Oops, I've gone on too much! Your post reminded me of how far she came in that 1st year! Hope your pooch settles in nicely!

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