House rules for the successful adoption of a rescue dog

Taking on a rescue dog is such a very special thing to do and taking in a dog that has been rescued from a life on the streets is even more special.

The transformation you can bring to the life of a dog that has more than likely experienced hardship and cruelty is enormous. 

And the rewards that are there on offer from witnessing this transformation are even bigger.

We see this time and time again with the scores of dogs rescued by Animal Friends of Turkey and rehomed in new loving homes in the UK.

The regular updates and videos of sheer happiness that our adopters so often share on our Facebook page are enough to melt any heart.

However, we make no secret of the fact that taking such a dog into your home is not always easy and taking on a rescue dog always comes with enormous responsibility.

There is a huge amount of knowledge and experience of dog behaviour and rescue dog care embedded within the individuals who make up the committee that runs Animal Friends of Turkey.

We take great care when we hand over one of our dogs for adoption that we share as much of this knowledge and experience as we can.

To this aim we have pulled together a set of basic House Rules that we always urge our adopter to follow.

What may have been acceptable for you in the past for your current or previous dog may not necessarily be a good way forward for your Turkish rescue dog. 

Most of the dogs that come through AFOT have had some heart-breaking experiences whether this be through injury, a life fighting to survive on the streets, through neglect or even abuse.

These dogs require security, a firm set of rules with clear boundaries and a comfortable and safe environment.  They need all this as well as buckets and buckets of love and care.

The following is a guide to a set of rules that, if followed, should help provide just that for any rescue dog:

The AFOT House Rules:

Rescued street dogs are particularly possessive over food and toys – especially food.  This will often be driven by experience but there is also a high likelihood that this will be inherently bred into them if they come from a line of street dogs.

It is important to heed the advice given here on feeding and especially if there are children in the house.

A dog is naturally a pack animal, and he will see his new family as his or her pack. 

Each Pack needs a leader .  It is important that your dog sees you as its new leader.

The new arrival must be at the bottom of the pack and it is important that he or she does not see you as equals or subordinates as this can lead to serious behaviour issues. 

In order to establish this and to help establish a good bond with your new family member you must start with the House Rules from the minute they arrive. 

It is unfair to the dog to give him a “grace period” and then change everything the next week. 

He or she will need constant guidance and reassurance and the best way to start this is at the very beginning of their lives with you.

We strongly advise the following of these basic rules:

  • Do NOT allow your dog to sleep on the sofa or your bed.
  • Create a set safe space that is theirs.  This can be their bed or crate and should not be moved to various locations around the house
  • Do 30 minutes of basic obedience training a day.  This can also be made into a family affair as your new dog needs to respect all its humans
  • Feed in a separate space away from other people and animals
  • Do NOT remove food whilst your dog is eating
  • Do NOT allow a child to take away toys or food
  • Do NOT allow a small child to sleep or even sit or enter the dog’s safe space or bed
  • Do NOT allow a child to dress up or play roughly with a dog and never let them put their face in the dog’s face or cling to them round their neck
  • Never leave your new dog unsupervised with a small child or other small animal pets

These are just a few basic rules that if put in place and used correctly will help the dog settle quicker and help you all build a good and safe bond.  We want our dogs and new families to all feel safe and secure at all times.

After a period of 4-6 weeks when the dog has settled in, they may try and push the boundaries and rules just like a toddler or teenager would. 

Stick to your guns and reinforce the rules.  Never remove a dog from a sofa or bed by dragging it by its collar.  This will soon be associated as a negative.

It may be that your current resident dog sleeps on the sofa or bed.  However, we do ask our adopters not to allow your new rescue to do this. 

In a dog’s head this means he or she will regard itself as equal to you. 

This does not mean that your dog is not loved and there are so many ways to show this alongside the following of these rules.

Our experience shows that dogs that live in homes with such clear boundaries and rules are often the happiest and most secure of them all

Rescue dogs with clear boundaries are happy and can complete a family