Is it the first day with your newly adopted rescue dog? Or need some ideas to share with a new adopter at your rescue? We’ve got you covered!

Here are a few tips for helping day one with the rescue dog go smoothly:

First Order of Business

When you first get home take them right outside to what will be their relief area. Let them sniff around and see if they’ll do their business. Don’t fret if they don’t right away. You can bring them inside, and try again in another 30 minutes to an hour. Whenever they do go to the restroom, be sure to reward with treats and lots of “Good Boy” or “Good Girl” praising!

Decompression Time

After they have had a chance to sniff around outside and you bring them in your house, give them time to decompress. There will be lots of sights and smells, so it is best to not overstimulate them by introducing them to too many things. If possible, keep other pets separate today. Pack your patience, and let your dog sniff and wander around. Try minimizing the amount of space they have to go to at first by closing off extra rooms or using baby gates.

If they seem relaxed you can start introducing them to more of the house and/or other family members and pets. If not, keep them in the smaller space. Feed them, love them, play with them, and let them know this is a safe place for them to be.

Hello, My Name Is…

The first day is a great day to help them learn their name and associate it with a reward. Keep a pocket full of treats and give them one each time you say their name. This is a great thing to keep them engaged with you on their first day home.


When it is time to go to sleep, introduce them to the space they will be sleeping. You can give them the command, and help them lay where they should. Give them a treat and head to bed. They might cry at first and may need to be redirected to their bed several times. Be patient, and eventually, they should drift into a happy doggy dream, knowing they’re at their furever home.

Finally, take a deep breath and welcome home your new floof, soon-to-be best friend. Don’t worry about being perfect. Be patient, loving, and caring. You’re just getting to know each other. This first day is the first of many that will create a special bond between you and your sweet rescue dog. 

Need more help! We have a full guide to adopting a rescue dog. You can download it here!

Thank you for saving a life!