romanian rescue dog

The importance of ‘getting it right’ for your new Romanian Rescue Dog cannot be stressed enough.  It is far easier to prevent problems arising than it is to try to undo them once something has happened.

By sticking to a few simple guidelines when your Romanian Rescue Dog first arrives at his new home with you, you can help make sure they settle quickly, happily and with as few problems as possible.

COLLECTION DAY

When collecting your dog you must take/have the following

  • Your dog’s ID tag with your name & details for you to attach as soon as you have him (If your dog’s chip is not registered in the UK it will not read on a scanner, so if your dog does bolt/escape, at least if he has an ID tag, you stand half a chance of getting him back)
  • Slip Lead
  • Collar & Lead
  • Harness
  • Crate for the Car or some way of securing your dog in the car ie harness with seatbelt attachment

As soon as you have your dog, put him straight into the car in the crate.
Do not walk him around to see if he wants to toilet, most dogs don’t toilet until they feel totally safe
Please Remember your dog will most probably be scared and would bolt if given half a chance
Please DO NOT Risk your Dog’s Life

MEETING RESIDENT DOGS

  • It is best if new rescue dogs can meet resident dogs away from home somewhere quiet, have a little wander & a sniff together and then be brought back into the home together.
  • Please bear in mind that many of these rescue dogs will be scared, so make sure you have them double leaded, one of which being a slip lead (but not in use) and don’t expect them to walk as such, just to have a wander & a sniff and be able to meet their new friends before returning home
  • Make any necessary arrangements so that rescue dogs and resident dogs don’t have to be left alone in the same space for several weeks, or at least until it’s obvious they have bonded and are very happy together.
  • Once back in the home, allow your new dog time & space to himself away from resident dogs to process all the new information and experiences. A baby gate is ideal for this, to give them regular periods of down time but without shutting them away completely on their own. That way they can still see, hear and communicate with resident dogs and get used to all that is going on around them but without feeling overwhelmed and hassled by it all.

Romanian Rescue Dog Honey

 


GENERAL DO’S

  • GET YOUR DOGS MICROCHIP UPDATED IMMEDIATELY! This is so important, it is most likely in the first few days in a new environment that a dog could feel scared and more likely to run away if the opportunity arises. If the chip has not been registered to you, and your dog has just arrived from Romania His Chip Will NOT Show Up On Any Database In The UK it has to be registered first, so even though a scanner will read the microchip, they will have no way of tracing where that dog came from, meaning he will  end up in kennels somewhere with the risk of being put to sleep if not claimed.
  • LEAVE A LEAD ON WHEN YOU ARRIVE HOME. Leave a short lead trailing when you first arrive home in case you need to move your new rescue dog off of, out of or into anywhere, this will eliminate the need for you to grab for their collar, which could be scary to an already stressed dog that doesn’t know you.
  • Give them plenty of space & regular periods of quiet time during the first few days
  • Avoid having lots of visitors to the house during the first week.  Let your new arrival settle, get used to their new environment and get used to you before you start introducing more new people.  Visitors tend to want to excessively fuss because they will know you rescued this dog from an awful situation, and this can cause your dog to feel nervous if new people start arriving and immediately throwing themselves at them.  Let your dog choose to interact with your visitors, you should be able to tell how comfortable they are feeling from their body language, if they are happily leaping around your new visitors, then of course they will enjoy a fuss, but if they are hesitant and unsure, it is REALLY IMPORTANT that you let your dog set the pace for new introductions.  If you try to encourage them to make friends, you can actually MAKE them scared of new people.
  • Keep them separated from resident dogs for regular periods to allow them to get to know each other gradually & process all that is happening to them, but at the same time feel secure that they are not going to be ‘bothered’ any minute (preferably using a baby gate so they can see, smell & sniff one another but are not actually together).
  • Keep them on a lead, preferably a long line in the garden for the first few days, some dogs can be very panicked by all they’ve been through & their new surroundings and you want to be sure they have no intention of trying to escape.  This is especially important and a very real possibility if your new rescue dog was a street dog.
  • Keep new dogs and resident dogs separate at feeding times for at least a few weeks, maybe longer. Your new dog will arrive very hungry! If they have spent any amount of time in a Romanian Public Shelter they will have had to fight for their food, and whilst, with many, this behaviour subsides quite quickly, during the settling in period, it will still be in the forefront of their mind.  If an argument over food takes place, it could ruin the relationship between your new rescue dog and your resident dog forever, which will cause you many more problems in the long run.
  • Always feed treats and any high value bones/chews etc separately, either in crates or separate rooms (baby gates are a godsend here)
  • If you have a resident dog, pick up all the toys for the first few days/weeks until you can see how they are getting on, and to give them time to get to know each other and settle in each other’s company. If your resident dog is used to playing with toys with you, take them in a separate room for playtimes so they don’t miss out, and leave your rescue dog with a treat to keep him happy.
  • Double lead your rescue dog when you first start walking them outside, in case they panic and slip a collar or harness. Best combination is harness + lead and a flat collar + lead.  Or you could have a slip lead on as well as your ordinary collar/harness & lead, but don’t use it, it’s only there as a back-up if anything goes wrong.
  • Take your rescue dog out to go to the toilet every 2 hours (every hour if a puppy) this will lessen the risk of accidents in the house and give you the opportunity to praise all toileting outside, increasing the likelihood they will quickly learn where they are suppose to go to the toilet.

 

double lead your rescue dog

GENERAL DON’TS

  • Don’t keep fussing over them, they will most likely not be used to it and although you may feel you are comforting them, they can actually find it more stressful on top of the stress of finding themselves in a whole new strange environment.
  • Don’t allow them to follow you everywhere and have access to all areas of the house for the first few days/weeks. Often these dogs will not be used to all the home comforts we offer them and if you allow them free reign over everything, you could find them developing resource guarding behaviours over all the new & wonderful ‘stuff’ they find at their pawtips. Plus it can help prevent the development of separation anxiety.
  • Don’t Let them on beds or sofas for the first few weeks. Again this can instigate resource guarding, which once it starts to happen, is more difficult to stop than if you can prevent it from starting and being practised in the first place.
  • Don’t allow them to keep demanding attention from you. This is usually insecurity behaviour and you could enhance the possibility of separation anxiety and owner possessiveness (resource aggression) developing by always giving in to their demands for attention.
  • Don’t mess about with your rescue dog’s feet – this is a very sensitive area (instinctively) for dogs, leave grooming, bathing and rubbing with a towel until they are a bit more familiar with you and a relationship of trust has been established. Your new rescue will most likely smell quite unpleasant, and whilst some will tolerate being bathed, it could be another stressor for them on top of an already stressful week! if you can leave it a couple of days, they might feel more comfortable about you doing it
  • Don’t Take your rescue dog for walks for a few days. (Unless it is blatantly obvious they enjoy walking on a lead and being out and about) We, as owners, feel they need walks every day to be happy, but many of these dogs will not be used to our busy environments and find them scary & stressful, on top of the already stressful experiences they have been through leading up to their arrival with you . They will be tired enough with processing all that has and is happening to them, they need time to settle to get ready to take on the environment outside. (Google -Stress Stacking in Dogs for a more detailed explanation about this)
  • Don’t Expect your rescue dog to be used to wearing a collar and walking on a lead. If they have had any experience of being on the end of a dog catchers pole, they will most likely be terrified if you start trying to pull them along on a lead.  Do plenty of lead practise in the garden in the first few days, without all the distractions they will face when the actually go out for walks, to get them used to it and to realise it’s nothing to worry about.
  • Don’t Let your rescue dog off the lead for at least several weeks (probably much longer & with some never) unless you are 100% certain you have a reliable recall, that WILL NOT FAIL in the presence of unexpected distractions.

romanian rescue dog honey

WHAT TO EXPECT FOR THE FIRST FEW WEEKS (At Least!)

When your rescue dog first arrives with you, it is important to be 100% aware and realise he will need time to adjust and settle. If I took one of my dogs and left them in a strange house where they didn’t know anyone, I would expect them to be very unsettled, upset, confused and very stressed, and to display any range of behaviours which they would not normally display.

I would expect all this from a dog that has never had any upset in their life and has lived knowing nothing but love, safety and security.  So imagine how much worse it is for a rescue dog from Romania.  These dogs could have spent some time trying to survive on the streets, would have had to endure the horrors of a Romanian Public Shelter and how they’re treated and handled there.  They would have spent 2 days on a transport vehicle with yet more strange dogs and people, 2 days in another kennel environment with MORE strange dogs and people before they finally arrive with you, yet another new environment with more strange people and possibly more strange dogs, along with a completely new routine and level of expectations.

Some dogs cope with all of this remarkably well, but some don’t, and it would serve adopters and fosterers better to assume that they won’t cope and behave and handle them accordingly.  That way, you are far more likely to prevent problems than if you assume they will be fine, or that they will be grateful for this wonderful life you have offered them and don’t provide them with the necessary consistency, boundaries and structure that they need at this most unstable of times.

Important points to remember in order to provide structure in the early weeks

  1. Have all the equipment you might need ready for when your dog arrives.  That way you will be prepared.
  2. Keep YOUR behaviour consistent.  Your rescue dog will learn much quicker from knowing what is expected of him.  Avoid confusing him by making sure everyone in the house is doing the same things.
  3. Provide a secure, safe place for him to be left alone.  Start doing this as soon as he arrives, even if only for 5 or 10 minutes at a time while you go elsewhere in the house.  The more times you can repeat this from day one, the better your dog will cope with being left when you have to go out for longer periods.
  4. Expect some problems in the early settling in period, and be prepared for it to be a bit stressful and unsettling for everyone in the house to start with.  All legitimate rescue’s will provide support and advice, but it can never hurt to have already sourced a reputable local trainer or behaviourist you can call upon if needed.  I would recommend looking for a trainer that is registered with a recognised body of professionals, such as  IMDT (Institute of Modern Dog Trainers) the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) or COAPE (Centre of Applied Pet Ethology).  You can click on any of those website links and there will be an option to enter your postcode and search for a registered trainer local to you.  By using someone registered with these organisations, you are ensuring your trainer has been fully assessed and uses positive reward based methods of training and handling. (The dog training industry is unregulated and therefore it is possible for pretty much anyone to set themselves up as a trainer, but this doesn’t mean they will be a good trainer or behaviourist, with up to the date knowledge.  I know for a fact, many trainers are still using aversive methods for training and dealing with behaviour problems, which if used on a rescue dog, will most likely cause more problems than it solves)

This is a critical transition period.  Dogs are particularly impressionable when they first arrive in a new environment, and how well you manage their behaviour during this transitional period will have a direct effect on how quickly they settle and become a well adjusted member of the family.

Please plan to invest time during this period to socialise, teach and get acquainted with your new dog and his/her unique character.  

It will definitely be worth the extra effort 🙂

 

foster dog honey

 

POSSIBLE PROBLEMS YOU MAY ENCOUNTER
WITH YOUR ROMANIAN RESCUE DOG

  • Resource guarding
  • Separation Anxiety
  • House soiling
  • Demanding Attention
  • Snatching at food
  • Escaping
  • Running off
  • Fear of new people (growling / reactivity)
  • Fear of other dogs (growling / reactivity)
  • Counter surfing
  • Bin Raiding
  • Not liking a lead being put on
  • Pulling on the lead or not wanting to move when the lead is on
  • Stress behaviours (Chewing / Shredding)
  • Digging

If there is anything you are concerned about or unsure of, please discuss this with your rescue organisation BEFORE you get your dog.

EQUIPMENT THAT WOULD BE OF GREAT BENEFIT

  • Slip lead
  • A long training line (15 – 30ft)
  • Baby Gate(s)
  • Harness
  • Crate
  • Plenty of tasty treats (Think cooked meats rather than anything to rich as their tummy  may be a little sensitive for a few days)
  • Treat bag

Prevention of Problems During the First Few Days & Weeks
Following Adoption Are Critical
.

Problems that Happen During this Time are Most Likely to Lead to
Long Term Issues or Even Adoption Failure
.

If you are in the process of Adopting a Romanian Rescue Dog and would like additional advice and support
prior to collection and during the settling in period, I offer special packages via in person or Telephone/Skype Consultations.  These consultations have proven to be a successful support option for new adopters, and have already helped prevent several adoption failures due to settling in problems.
If you would like to chat to me about this – Please CLICK HERE to Message me
using the contact page in the first instance.

If you are a rescue organisation and would like a PDF copy of this Article
To Give To Adopters, Please Contact Me Here to request one

 

RECOMMENDED READING

  • Cautious Canine – Patricia McConnell
  • I’ll be Home Soon – Patricia McConnell
  • The Other End of the Leash – Patricia McConnell
  • If Bones would rain from the sky – Suzanne Clothier
  • On Talking Terms With Dogs – Turid Rugaas
  • The Culture Clash – Jean Donaldson
  • Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding – Jean Donaldson
  • Man Meets Dog – Konrad Lorenz
  • How To Speak Dog – Stanley Coren
  • Charlie The Dog Who Came In From The Wild – Lisa Tenzin-Dolma

There are many other books by all of these authors, all of which are worth reading, some relate to specific problems and some are more generalised.

 

GOOD LUCK & ENJOY YOUR WONDERFUL NEW FRIEND 🙂

Romanian Rescue Dog Honey

Two of the dogs shown here are Romanian Rescue Dogs… Happy, Relaxed and finally enjoying life!

If you know of anyone that would benefit from this article, please feel free to share it 🙂 

Comments (23)

  1. Reply

    Great article, please can I share it on Give a Dog a Home UK? The best quick and easy book I have found, dealing with the first few weeks is also by Patricia McConnell and Karen London ‘ Love Has No Age Limit; welcoming a rescue dog into your home’ .

    • Reply

      Hi Lynne, Thank you. I’m so glad you thought the article was good and will be useful to others, so yes no problem at all, please go ahead and share on your website.

  2. Reply

    I was reading this with Give a Dog a Home in mind, then saw Lynne’s comment 🙂
    Brilliant article, thank you!
    Can I add another book that I’ve found useful, “Charlie”, the dog who came in from the wild” written by his adopter, Lisa Tenzin-Dolma who is a behaviourist.

    • Reply

      Thank you Katherine 🙂 and thank you for the book recommendation too, I will be doing a recommended books post at some point so will make sure to include your recommendations.

  3. Linda Wylie

    Reply

    I have always thought there would be benefit in reading to animals when they first come to a new home. Or rather just reading in their vicinity. Any other animal you have will already know your voice and this gives the new dog time to get used to just listening to you without it infringing on them and their space. Perhaps it could be one of the books about welcoming a new pet into the family and anybody can do in various stages

    • Reply

      Hi Linda, thank you for your comment, I must admit reading to them when they first arrive is not something I have ever done, but then I tend to chat away anyway. I can see how it could benefit certain dogs, although some could also find it more stressful and might benefit more from space and quiet time to be able to completely relax. I would say it would definitely depend on the dog and hopefully the owners will be able to read their signals to tell if they are enjoying the reading or not. Thanks again for taking time to comment.

  4. Reply

    Best article I have ever read about Romanian rescues in particular. Well done x

    Please somewhere mention putting a name and address tag on the collar when you go to collect the dog surprising how many people dont, and like you say, chip wont be registered so chance of dog pound and pts.

    Will be sharing this one for sure

    • Reply

      Hi Jill, thank you so much for your lovely comment, I’m so pleased you feel it is well written and informative. I will certainly update the article with the tag information, as you say, it could be a lifesaver! Thank you for the feedback and thank you for sharing x

  5. Gavin Hamilton

    Reply

    Makes an awful lot of sense, I am printing off copies to give to my adopters. Thank you for posting

    • Reply

      You are welcome Gavin, I’m glad it is useful and informative. If it would help to have a pdf version to print off/share with your adopters, please do let me know and I can sort that out for you.

  6. Nigel Yates

    Reply

    What a wonderful article, my wife and I are about to adopt two Romanian Rescue Dogs. We have had quite a lot of help from the people at the Romanian Rescue Appeal, but to put all that information into one article is of invaluable help. Thank you

    • Reply

      Awwww thank you Nigel 🙂 It’s great to know this info is helping so many people. Wow how exciting for you, feel free to update us when your new four paws arrive, everyone loves to see happy endings!

  7. Roanne Anad

    Reply

    Having my home check tomorrow and trying to read up on how to handle Romanian rescue dogs to fully prepare myself. Thanks for all the advice and information, I found it incredibly helpful. It’s fantastic knowing that there’s plenty of support out there and people who are able to answer questions and give advice. Thank you!

    • Reply

      How exciting Roanne! I hope all is going well and I’m so glad the information and advice is helpful for you. Good luck with your new arrival!

  8. Shelagh Greer

    Reply

    I rescued a Romanian Shepherd 13 year old bitch. I thought it deserved a happy ending. I don’t care if she lives only 6 months, at least she has known some love and comfort. She has Spondolitus which means her spite is painful and fragile. She has 3 short walks a day and medication to keep her comfortable. When we first got her 4 months ago, she became very I’ll with diarrhea and vomiting. The kennels had omitted to tell me she has RAW diet only. As soon ax we changed her to raw chicken, turkey or pork, loads of chopped veg and fruit, and chicken wings she became a new dog. Beautiful black shiny coat and filled of a bit. She also has a very thick ear from infection and trauma that was left untreated. She must have been in agony. All cleared up now. She’s cost us over £1k in the first month, but
    what price love.

  9. Amanda Turnbull

    Reply

    Have had my Romanian rescue dog Ruby, for a month, she is an absolute darling.
    She was very, very timid when I brought her home but she is gaining confidence every day and has started to enjoy going out on walks.
    So glad we were able to offer her a chance of having a better life, Mandy.

    • Reply

      Awwww that’s lovely Mandy. Thank you for saving her and giving her the chance of such a wonderful life with you xx

  10. Judi

    Reply

    Don’t know why anyone buys a dog when rescues are more deserving and much better. Our little girl has been badly damaged but trusts us.

    • Christopher Sellers

      Reply

      …absolutely agree Judi – not sure if rescues are “much better” though – all dogs are deserving of a decent life. What concerns me is the lack of action to close down the puppy farms. Good luck.

  11. Christopher Sellers

    Reply

    I obtained a Romanian rescue dog (4 month old bitch) in March 2014. Total round trip to Kings Lynn from Lyme Regis was 565 miles! There and back in a day, with a short break on the return journey to let her out of the crate (on a lead!) to stretch her legs. Yes! She did pong terribly and, yes, she did have diorrhea for a week or so. She had evidently been quite traumatised in the public “shelter” (for which read “canine death row”) in Bucharest. Over the past three and a half years she has blossomed into the most wonderful and loyal companion – although she IS a bin-raider and a pot-licker! We were absolutely amazed to notice one day, when neighbours and their Hungarian Witzler bitch visited us, to see “Bonnie” protecting our infant daughter – she wouldn’t let the Witzler bitch come anywhere near her. Later, we were equally astonished (and somewhat concerned) to see that Bonnie was fiercely protective of me – a friend shook hands with me and Bonnie barked and lunged at him. That protective behaviour, we were told by a local dog trainer, is not actually a real danger – Bonnie is a dog who, like most dogs, knows very well the power of her bite but who chooses not to actually use her canines to inflict damage – rather a warning “nip”, very much like a Collie. Bonnie has NEVER offered to bite or menace anyone in my family. I have placed a large dog cage in my porch, leaving the door open at ALL times – Bonnie chooses to snooze in this cage and she seems to use it as her “safe” or quiet space whenever she feels like it. I think that it is important to allow a dog to retreat into its own private domain by choice. I live in the country in East Devon, adjacent to a small farm track which is on the Ramblers’ Route. Bonnie does NOT like people walking past and she lets them know it – I have to make sure that the gate is shut at all times because she does stand and menace passers-by, although her tail is wagging while she stands and barks at them…she has an ambivalent attitude towards the postman – she will condescend to accept treats from him, while still barking at him – again with her tail wagging. She does allow the postman into the garden without inflicting any injury on him though. I have found that a calm, consistent, assertive and understanding approach to Bonnie has paid huge dividends in her development. I have NEVER hit her – tone of voice is more than adequate for a sensitive and intelligent dog. Initially, Bonnie did suffer from some separation anxiety (she still does, to some degree) – I thought this through and decided to try “little and often” absences. This seems to have worked and Bonnie, while not particularly wishing to be left alone, soon settles down in her cage and seems to cope quite well – no shredding or damage now, at least. She did, initially, tend to drag her bedding out of her cage and I had to replace her shredded mattress twice – but if that is all, in three and a half years, that is not bad! Bonnie enjoys travelling in her large cage in my VW Camper Van – she will stand by the van waiting to jump into her cage and she will immediately settle and snooze – no problems here. She was supposed to have been “cat checked” by the rescue kennels in Kings Lynn – well, she must have been “cat checked” against a pride of lions! She chases my Siamese cat (if he stood his ground he would be fine, but he doesn’t) – my female Brown Burmese does stand her ground so Bonnie tends to ignore her. So – a word of warning – DON’T always believe the assurances of the rescue kennels re “cat testing” – you might just have to handle that problem yourself if it manifests itself. If you see your dog’s eyes following your cat, deal with the problem straight away – warn your dog, in no uncertain terms, and repeatedly if necessary, that following your cat’s movement with its eyes is a NO-NO! Bonnie is learning. In summary – Bonnie has won the doggy lottery. She has a long walk over meadows and through woodlands every day, she chases squirrels and is fine (albeit a little wary at first) with other dogs and is great with children.

  12. Diana

    Reply

    Hi, I adopted my wonderful Romanian girl just one week ago. She has taken to domestic life so easily, including the cat! Doesn’t really understand walkies but because everyone is so nice to her she is getting better. Very unsure about other dogs but again good meetings are helping enormously. Absolutely no regrets, love her to bits.

    • Reply

      Awww Diana, your Rommie girl sounds wonderful, it does take time for them to adjust, take it steady and at her pace and I’m sure she will continue to blossom in your wonderful loving home xx

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