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Adopted A Small Breed Rescue Dog? What To Expect In The First Week

Maltipoo on a dog walk

Expect your rescue dog to feel a range of emotions in the early days.

As they get used to their new surroundings, they could exhibit fear, trepidation, or exhilaration.

During this period, patience is crucial. Your rescue dog can start to feel safe and start developing trust when you create a quiet, stable, and secure environment.


"Bringing home a rescue dog is a life-changing experience. In the first week, establish a routine, provide plenty of affection, and be prepared for some ups and downs as your new furry friend settles in." - Dogs Trust


Consistency plays an essential role in helping them settle in.

Your small breed rescue dog will understand what to expect if you establish a daily schedule for feeding their dog food, dog walks, exercise, and rest.

Predictability can lessen stress and facilitate their transition.

For your dog,

treats and praise are effective positive reinforcement methods for promoting desirable behaviours.

These techniques help you and your rescue dog build trust and enhance your relationship.

Another factor to take into account

for your rescue dog is socialisation.

Introduce new people, animals, and settings to your rescue dog gradually. They grow into well-adjusted, self-assured partners thanks to this steady exposure.

To help with

your rescue dog's comprehension of expectations and commands, spend money on professional advice and dog training.

Effective communication is essential, whether it is through signing up for fundamental obedience training or getting advice from qualified trainers.

To treat any of your dog's health issues

and create a preventive dog health care plan, routine veterinary examinations are essential.

This safeguards the health of your rescue dog and is crucial for small dog breeds with particular medical requirements.

The cornerstone of dog health is nutrition.

Consider characteristics including age, size, and general health when speaking with a vet or canine nutritionist about your rescue dog's ideal diet.

A healthy rescue dog needs to be physically active to be happy and content.

Respecting the breed and energy level of your dog, go for regular walks and play sessions.

Remember, this may be the first time your rescue dog has had toys and they may not know how to play.

They may also not know how to walk on a lead. Both of these issues are valuable learning and bonding opportunities for you.

Then you can celebrate the success together when all the hard work pays off!

Give your dog a lot of love and adoration.

Your rescue dog needs lots of cuddles, pet time, and bonding time to feel loved and secure in their new home.

Sleep is vital

for helping your rescue dog to heal, calm down and recover from whatever they have experienced in the past.

Un-interrupted, deep sleep in a cosy warm bed is incredibly important for them. Let them sleep as much as they need to.

Keep in mind that

patience is a crucial element throughout this rescue dog process. Building a deep bond and trust with your rescue dog takes time, especially if they have previously experienced trauma.

If you run into problems, don't be afraid to ask for help from knowledgeable trainers, veterinary professionals, or support groups.

There are several tools at your disposal to help you guide your rescue dog through this vital first week.

You may support your rescue dog on a successful and rewarding journey

into their new home by accepting these factors and offering love, constancy, and patience.

Each rescue dog is different, and each one's recovery will be different, but with your love and commitment, they can flourish in their caring new home.


What should I expect in the first week after adopting a small breed rescue dog? 

The first week is a period of adjustment for both you and your new pet.

Your dog may be nervous or anxious in their new environment. It's critical to give them room, exercise patience, and create a schedule for eating, strolling, and playing.

How can I make my rescue dog feel at home? 

Make sure to provide a comfortable space for your dog with a bed, toys, and access to food and water.

Spend quality time with your dog but also let them explore their new surroundings at their own pace.

What are some common behavioural issues in rescue dogs?

Some rescue dogs may exhibit behaviours such as anxiety, fearfulness, or aggression due to their past experiences.

It's crucial to tackle these problems patiently and to think about getting assistance from a qualified behaviourist or dog trainer.

How can I train my rescue dog? 

Positive reinforcement methods are generally the most effective and humane way to train rescue dogs.

This involves rewarding the behaviours you want to encourage and ignoring or redirecting the behaviours you want to discourage.

What should I feed my small breed rescue dog? 

Small breed dogs often have faster metabolisms and may require a diet that's high in protein and fat.

Always consult with your vet to determine the best diet for your specific dog.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider.

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mary puppins small dog breeds uk

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mary puppins small dog breeds uk

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny and expert in small breed dogs. With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families, Kate shares her top tips with you. Kate guides readers on small breed dogs, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle for their small dogs.


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