How Does a Dog Feel When Rehomed? (2024)

Moving to a new environment can be challenging. The same thing goes for your new furry friend. So, if you’re adopting a pet from another family, knowing how a dog feels when rehomed can help you navigate your first few months together. Discover what your dog feels and how you can help it adjust to your home.

How Does a Rehomed Dog Feel?

Adopting a pet that has stayed with a different family can be challenging. So, it’s normal that it experiences some emotions as it adjusts to its new home. A rehomed dog can experience some of the following symptoms.

Anxiety and Fear

It’s normal for your rehomed dog tofeel anxiousin its new environment. The feelings of anxiety can be because it doesn’t know what to expect in its new home. The dog might bark a lot as a sign of fear.

Moving a dog to its new home in the morning might help as dogs are usually more anxious at night.

Sadness and Feelings of Loneliness

You might notice the dog has floppy ears. It might also curl up in corners to avoid socializing. These are normal as the dog is not used to its new environment. Sometimes, it may cry or whine. Also, feelings of reluctance and shyness are not uncommon.

A dog with a neglectful previous owner might also find it hard to adjust to you if you give it too much attention.

Changes in Feeding Patterns

A rehomed dogmight refuse to eatwhatever you give it initially. This may cause it to appear lean and sick. All you have to do is remain patient and seek help if it becomes overwhelming.

Poor Toilet Habits

Changing a dog’s environment can affect the potty training it’s had with its former owner. This phase requires a lot of patience as the dog might mess up your home for a while. Your new dog will adjust to its potty routine with time andadequate training.

How Can You Help a Rehomed Dog Adjust?

You’ll have to take some measures to make it easy for you and your rehomed dog to adapt to living together. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through.

1. Create a Beautiful Space for Your New Pet

Regardless of thesize of your home, you can still create the perfect environment for your new pet. Although it might take a while for a dog to adjust to a smaller space, you simply need to create a homey environment for your dog. The idea is to make it feel loved and welcome.

2. Show Your New Pet Around

Give your new dog a tour of your house to help it get used to its new environment. Show it to the backyard, the garden, and other external parts of your home.

It would help if you didn’t overwork the dog on its first day in your house. So, you might want to spread the tour over a few days, depending on the size of your home. It would be best if you gave it its own space and time to adjust.

3. Create a Routine

Creating a routine for your rehomed dog will help it settle in fine. The routine should include time for feeding, napping, walks, potty training, and playtime.

Follow through with the routine to avoid confusing the dog. It will make your job easier and relieve the dog of some of the symptoms that come with rehoming.

4. Introduce Your New Pet to Other Family Members

Meeting every family member is vital to helping a rehomed dog adjust to its new home. A dog welcomed with love tends to settle faster. If your neighbors have dogs, you can also introduce the pets to each other. It’ll help your new pet with socialization.

5. Visit the Vet and Set up a Schedule

Avisit to the vetis also important. You can learn about your dog’s allergies and medical conditions. It’ll also help you create an insurance plan in case of a severe health complication. You should also schedule regular visits to the vet for routine checks.

How Long Does It Take for a Rehomed Dog to Adjust to a New Family?

The time it takes for a rehomed dog to adjust depends on its personality, upbringing, and other factors.

The “Rule of 3” can help you understand how long a rehomed dog can adjust to a new home. This rule stands for “three days, three weeks, and three months.” This principle has helped many dog trainers and owners. Studying it will show you how much time your new dog needs to settle in.

Three Days

You can expect your dog to adjust to its new environment over three days. There will be many indications of anxiety and uneasiness throughout these initial days. Your dog will seek a cozy, dark area, avoiding eye contact and touching people.

It may be challenging to get it to eat or walk during this time, but it is also the time when things begin to feel more stable. A good sign that you’re on the right track is if these days pass without significant incidents. Common negative incidents might be the dog biting someone or destroying your property.

Three Weeks

You must spend this time getting to know your new dog and building trust with it. While it may seem like all it wants is love and cuddles, this is a great time to start training it. You can also set house limits during this time. Your dog will also begin to adjust to its routine and socialize with people.

Three Months

Your dog should adjust to its new family after three months. At this time, it’ll want you to pet and play with it. It will also want to bond with family members and might even become clingy. At this point, your dog will feel safe in your home and be used to its routine.

Get Support With Rehoming Your Pup

Every dog has a unique experience and personality. A rehomed dog might adjust to its new home in an hour, a week, or months. Be patient with your new dog, create a schedule, and give it its space to help it adjust.

AtSierra Delta, we help Veterans by empowering them with professional dog training for their Life Buddy or Service dog. We’re a non-profit organization and provide support to help you create a lasting bond with your dog. Learn more about new dogs and how they get trained on the Sierra Delta blog.

How Does a Dog Feel When Rehomed? (2024)


How Does a Dog Feel When Rehomed? ›

While dogs don't experience these emotions exactly the same way we humans do, they may feel anxiety and confusion over the new situation. In some cases, they might show symptoms resembling human depression. However, with proper cuddles, care, training, and attention in their new home, most dogs will be able to adjust.

Do dogs feel abandoned when you rehome them? ›

Yes, your dog will miss you when you give them away. But dogs are incredibly resilient, and they live in the moment. It is normal for a dog to grieve the loss of their previous family and go through an acclimation period in their new home.

How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new owner? ›

The time it takes for a dog to adjust to a new home can vary from one dog to another. Normally, it takes 2-3 weeks for a dog to adjust to a new home, but it can take up to 3 months for them to fully adjust behaviourally.

How traumatic is it for a dog to change owners? ›

Whether it's a rescue pup or a family pet, changing owners can be a difficult and traumatic experience for any dog. It's important to recognize the signs of distress in order to help your dog adjust to their new home.

Do dogs miss their old owners when rehomed? ›

Some dogs might show signs of missing their previous owner, like searching around the house, being less active, or showing less interest in food or play. They're trying to figure out where their old friend has gone. But here's the heartwarming part: dogs are incredibly adaptable and loving creatures.

Do dogs feel abandoned when you leave them? ›

They do! Various studies have been done on dogs, including brain scans, to determine that dogs displayed negative emotions while their owner was away. This is particularly interesting when we consider specific breeds and their temperaments.

Is rehoming a dog traumatic for the dog? ›

But dogs are social creatures and form strong bonds with their owners. Rehoming a dog can be stressful and confusing for a pup, especially if they've been with the same family for a long time.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for new dogs? ›

A simple way to understand this process of getting your rescue dog adjusted and comfortable in its new home is called the 3-3-3 rule. This rule will help you understand the decompression process that your new furry friend will go through in the first 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months at a new home.

How quickly do dogs bond with new owners? ›

Some dogs may warm up to their new owners within a matter of days, while others may take weeks or even several months to fully trust and bond with their new family. Factors like the dog's past experiences, temperament, and breed characteristics all play a role in the bonding process.

How do dogs feel when they change owners? ›

Anxiety and Fear

It's normal for your rehomed dog to feel anxious in its new environment. The feelings of anxiety can be because it doesn't know what to expect in its new home. The dog might bark a lot as a sign of fear. Moving a dog to its new home in the morning might help as dogs are usually more anxious at night.

How to cope with rehoming a dog? ›

Below are some helpful suggestions for coping with your emotions through this journey:
  1. Stay in touch. If the new family is comfortable with it, ask for updates on your pet. ...
  2. Remember the good times. ...
  3. Ignore other opinions. ...
  4. Your choice brings joy. ...
  5. Be gentle with yourself. ...
  6. Share your feelings.
Jun 7, 2023

Should you visit your dog after rehoming? ›

If visiting your dog would be too painful, it may be best to avoid it. Impact on the dog: Consider whether visiting your dog would be stressful or confusing for them. If the dog has adjusted well to their new home, visiting them might disrupt their sense of security and stability.

Do dogs get sad when their owners are gone? ›

Understanding Dog Grief

“When an owner passes away before her pet, it can be a confusing, sad, and difficult period, even if arrangements have been made for the animal to be taken care of by someone else,” says Russell Hartstein, a certified behaviorist and dog trainer based in Los Angeles.

What age do most dogs get rehomed? ›

The age of the dogs for rehoming can be variable; the majority of dogs up for rehoming are withdrawn in the early stages of the training program, and can range from anything from 6 months – 2 years. Dogs retiring from being a canine partner can range from 8 to over 12 years of age.

How do I know if my rehomed dog is happy? ›

If your dog seems relaxed in their posture and not tense or stiff, this is a good indication they are feeling good. Loose shoulders, soft eyes without a fixed gaze, and a dose of 'wiggliness' or pure 'flopped-outness' are all clues that your dog's feeling super chill. They're playful.

Will my dog remember me after rehoming? ›

We've adopted 9 rescue dogs over the years —they all brought emotional baggage with them. The short answer is yes, dogs can remember events and experiences, particularly those tied to strong emotions.

Do dogs get upset when you rehome them? ›

Anxiety and Fear

It's normal for your rehomed dog to feel anxious in its new environment. The feelings of anxiety can be because it doesn't know what to expect in its new home. The dog might bark a lot as a sign of fear. Moving a dog to its new home in the morning might help as dogs are usually more anxious at night.

Do dogs get sad when you give them away? ›

The short answer is yes, dogs can experience sadness and a sense of loss when they are given away or rehomed.

What do dogs feel when you surrender them? ›

Her observations reveal that surrendered dogs often tend to shut down, overwhelmed by the sudden change and the loss of their families. "They are terrified and confused. It makes it hard for them to be adopted, and many don't get adopted," Gorham added.

How do you say goodbye to your dog when rehoming? ›

Sit down with your family and take turns petting it and loving on it. Talk about why you are giving the dog away. These conversations will help your family come to terms with losing their beloved pet. Make sure everyone has a chance to say goodbye to the dog.

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