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What to Expect When You Adopt a Dog

Oct 18, 2021

Dog adoption is one of the best ways to welcome a new pet to the family. A lot of pet owners are starting to make use of rescue dog adoption. That means more and more unwanted animals find new homes, and it’s all for the greater good.

However, many people don’t understand that rescue dog adoption is entirely different from getting a new dog as a puppy as rescue dogs often go through a lot of trauma before they find a safe home.

Here’s everything that you need to know about adopting a rescue dog.

Should I Adopt a Rescue Dog?

Rescue Dog

Adopting a rescue dog is a noble act so long as you’re prepared and able to properly take care of the pet. It is not quite as simple as getting a puppy who has been properly bred and cared for by a certified breeder and it comes with a lot of responsibility. Why? Sadly, these dogs are often up for adoption because they have undergone some form of trauma, meaning they can have more significant needs than other dogs.

If you don’t have the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to these dogs, you shouldn’t adopt them. They also don’t do well in loud and active households; it’s essential to ensure that you bring these dogs into a calm home environment.

It’s very important to consider the amount of time you can dedicate to the pet and the environment at your home before making the final decision. Often, it is unclear what a rescue dog has been through, so it's crucial that any owner does everything they can to ensure that you won't add to their difficulties.

What to Expect From Your Rescue Dog?

Change is always stressful for dogs and it can have a particularly more significant impact on rescue dogs. These new pups may respond to the additional stress in ways that you don't expect. However, with the proper care and effort, any unwanted behaviours should disappear as they adapt to its surroundings.

If you choose to adopt a rescue dog, it’s natural for them to require an adjustment period which may be longer than you’d expect. The adjustment period might be a few hours for some dogs, while other dogs might require more than a week, and some might even take a few months.

There are some behaviours that your dog may potentially exhibit during the adjustment period. Newly adopted rescue pups are typically shy and very timid. They may even hesitate a lot before entering the house correctly.

The new dogs might also bark a lot for reasons that you may not be able to identify. They also might have a habit of marking their territory, which is unpleasant for the whole household. Even if/when dog begins to adjust, it might showcase a lot of separation anxiety while it’s home alone.

How to Manage Your Rescue Dog Through the Adjustment Period

Rescue Dog

While every dog will go through an adjustment period, it doesn’t mean that the owners are completely helpless and can’t do anything. Pet owners can take it upon themselves to help manage their dogs through this time.

Here are a few tips that’ll help rescue dog owners navigate through the adjustment period;

Ample Exercise

One of the best ways to help your dog through this period is to ensure that it gets ample exercise. New rescue dogs go through a lot of stress, and a great way to help them negate that stress is to keep them stimulated and burning of excess energy.

Consistent Routine

It’s crucial to ensure that your new rescue dog goes through a consistent routine. The routine shouldn’t be too overwhelming to ensure that the dog doesn’t undertake unnecessary stress.

Don’t Force Anything

Another important factor in ensuring that your new rescue pup gets the best chance to adjust is by giving it the time it needs. It’s crucial that you don’t try to force anything. If your new pup wants to hide, let them stay in the position for as long as they want.

Always Remain Calm

Dogs will feed off your energy, so you must always remain as calm as possible around your new pup. All dogs will react negatively towards harsh words or anger and it’s particularly detrimental to rescue dogs and will make their adjustment much more difficult. As with all dogs, it is important that you only use positive reinforcement techniques when training a rescue dog.

How to Prepare Your House for Your New Adopted Dog

Getting the house ready and comfortable for the dog will help both your dog and you adjust to your new live together as quickly as possible. There are a few essential items that you’ll need to get before the rescue dog can come into your home.

Here’s a small list of some of the key items that you’re going to need:

When you bring a new rescue pup home, you must take your time to introduce the dog to its new surroundings but at their pace. Maybe in the start, only let the dog explore one or two rooms, then slowly let your pup into the rest of the house.

Naturally, dogs tend to enjoy smaller spaces, which is why it’s important to get a crate for the dog and start crate training. Your new rescue dog will feel much safer if it only has to explore a small area first. If you’re looking for tips on how to crate train your dog, we have created a blog which you can read by clicking here.

Many people make the mistake of taking their dog to the pet store or park right away after they move into a new home. While a settled dog will have no problem with this, there is a high change that your new rescue dog won’t enjoy travelling in the car.

It’s a good idea to let your new rescue pup acclimatise to you and the new surroundings before taking it on any adventures.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Adopting a Rescue Dog

Rescue Dog


Saving an Animal

Sadly, some animals that don’t find homes are euthanized in shelters. By adopting a rescue, you’re helping break that cycle for one dog.

Always a Surprise

Many people think that they want a puppy, but after adopting a rescue dog, they might notice that it’s calmer and already responds well to basic commands. A shelter may be the ideal place to connect with older dogs.

Lower Upfront Cost

While adopting a dog isn’t completely free, it still costs significantly less money than buying a pup from a breeder.

Learn More About the Dog

When you’re adopting a rescue dog, you can learn everything you need to know about your new pet from the caretakers at the shelter. This allows you to make an informed decision on whether or not the dog you’re interested in will be a good fit or, more importantly, if you’re right for them.


Difficult to Find the Exact Breed

If you’re looking for a specific breed, the chances are pretty low that you’ll find one up for adoption. This is not only because they are snapped up very quickly, but also because rescues often don’t come with documentation to prove their breed.

Adopting Takes Time

A lot of shelter and rescue groups set up waiting periods to ensure that the owners aren’t rushing into any decision. They also set up the waiting period to give dog owners the chance to come and reclaim a pet that may be lost.

Paperwork and Privacy

Before the shelter lets you adopt a new dog, they’re going to ask you a lot of questions to see if you’re a suitable owner. These questions are usually pretty detailed and ask you to reveal some personal information. Aside from the privacy-invading questions, you’ll also have to fill in tons of paperwork.

Bear in mind that this is not unique to adopting a rescue dog. You will likely be scrutinized just as much if you were to purchase a puppy from a breeder as they will also want to ensure that you can provide the life the dog needs and deserves.


Not all dogs can adjust to living at home after spending a significant amount of time in the shelter. Often, people adopt a dog from the shelter and only see its true behaviour when they reach home.

The Costs of Adopting a Dog

While adopting a rescue dog is definitely a noble act, it isn’t exactly free. Aside from the expenses that arise from taking care of your dog and preparing your home, you’ll also have to pay an adoption fee.

Depending on the rescue centre you pick, the adoption fee can range anywhere between £100 - £250 and possibly even more. The shelter may also provide the initial vaccinations and license needed to own the dog.

You may find that an adoption centre charges different fees for puppies than they do adult dogs. For example, Dogs Trust will charge £185 for an adult dog and £240 for a puppy. The reason for this is that they include a £55 Dog School fee for puppies. You can find out more about adoption through Dog’s Trust on their website.

Aside from these costs, there’s also the cost of food, grooming, pet insurance, and medical expenses which will be ongoing throughout the whole of the dog’s life. Dogs require a significant financial outlay which makes it important to plan everything properly. You can’t simply adopt a dog thinking that you’ll only end up paying between £100 - £200.


There are several benefits of adopting a dog. However, it isn’t a decision that anyone should take lightly. Dog owners need to consider several factors before they can determine that they’re ready to adopt a rescue dog!