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Big Day

The big day is here. The foster parents are bringing your new dog to you or they are arriving in the UK, so they can start their new life with you. Below will give you an idea of what to expect as they settle in to your home. 

  • FFTF rescues literally hundreds of dogs per year
  • European rescue centres, charities and Kill Stations
  • Some have been treated with shocking cruelty and many abused
  • Some dogs have been pets, others we know very little about
  • Some returned from other adopters, bereavements, etc.
  • All dogs will have been vet-checked, spayed/neutered (not puppies), flea treated/wormed, vaccinated and chipped
  • Will have passport/vaccination record
  • They may have been travelling for over 1 week!


  • Settling in takes time days/weeks not hours (don’t invite friends/family/budgies round yet!)
  • Up to 2 hrs per day for walks depending upon breed
  • Time every day with your dog for training, play, bonding
  • May take more than 6 months to get “the dog you expect'”

New Routine

  • Are you prepared to get up when the dog tells you?
  • Going for walks in all weathers? Rain? Wind? Snow and Ice?
  • Now you have to consider if venues are dog-friendly and if the dog will cope?
  • Your dog is now part of every plan you make!

Work/ Time out of house

  • If you work, who will be with the dog?
  • How long will you leave dog alone?
  • For 1st week or so, 100% attention needed or suffer the consequences!


  • Cleaning up after your dog accidents * poo/wee/vomit
  • Damaged possessions and furniture
  • Fur everywhere (clothes, carpet, furniture)
  • Embarrassing behaviour
  • Dog smells indoors, messy car…


  • Dog may whine/bark/howl all night!
  • Will you stay up for as long as it takes?
  • No more lie-ins!
  • Do you have neighbours? How will they react to your dog’s noise?


  • Adoption fee
  • Pet insurance &/or Vet bills
  • Flea treatment, wormer, etc
  • Trainer/ Behavourists/Dog sitter/Dog Walker?


  • Collar, name tag, harness, lead & slip lead
  • Food, treats, bedding, toys, bowls
  • Crate recommended


  • Friends, family, neighbours, etc?
  • Holidays or occasional days away? Christmas? Shopping?
  • Working from home or away?
  • Unexpected emergencies? Jury Service?

Arrive very tired

  • They may have been travelling in a van for up to 3 days with lots of other dog
  • Dirty/Smelly!

Arrive Disoriented

  • They will be scared/terrified
  • They will be confused
  • They will know nothing and nobody.

They may not want to eat, drink, sleep or toilet

  • They won’t be themselves – give them time, peace/quiet and space

You should anticipate your new dog to:

Have never lived in a house before

  • They are NOT likely be house-trained
  • May go to the toilet in-doors at first!

Not be trained

  • They will know NO commands
  • Will not understand a word you say!
  • Will not know their name
  • Will have NO RECALL at all…

May not have been on a lead-walk before

  • Likely to be scared of traffic, strangers, other dogs, plastic bags, etc
  • Likely to pull on a lead or try to escape
  • Very sniffy
  • Won’t engage with you or take treats


  • Adopting a puppy is a 24/7 commitment
  • Some dogs still behave like puppies up to 18 months.
  • If they are not asleep, assume they will be getting into trouble!
  • “They take more time than kids!”

Your dog will be very nervous and lack confidence

  • Fight, flight or avoid
  • May initially favour 1 person in the household over others
  • Give your dog lots of time Slowly, slowly, slowly…

Inside the house (NB Not house trained!)

  • Take them into the garden FREQUENTLY or risk accidents!
  • Start simple commands (No!, Good boy/girl)
  • Will not respect/understand boundaries
  • Will “explore” any open door, work-surfaces, cupboards
  • May pick things up or chew them


  • Spend time with them in the garden first
  • DON’T LET THEM OFF THE LEAD! They will NOT have any recall
  • Likely to react to people or other dogs especially those off-lead
  • Likely to be scared of traffic; lorries, motorbikes, dustman, etc.

Your dog will be less nervous and gain confidence

  • More playful and engaged. Naughtier?!
  • Eat, drink and sleep more
  • Improved trust of all people in the household
  • Slowly, slowly, slowly…!

Inside the house

  • House training?
  • INFREQUENTLY accidents (hopefully)
  • Boundaries understood (if you have been clear what they are)
  • Start basic training (sit, wait, lie down, off, good boy/girl)
  • Practice lead walking


  • Improved lead walking in the garden using treats
  • Start recall training in the garden using long training lead
  • Try to find other dogs to go on walks with to improved sociability
  • Understand/anticipate reactivity to other people or dogs
  • Understand/anticipate scary environments

Your dog should now be confident

  • Established routines for eating, drinking, sleeping and toileting
  • Understands name and some basic commands
  • Responds equally well to everyone in the household

Inside the house

  • Respectful of all boundaries
  • Introduce all new commands indoors first. Reward with treats and/or toys
  • Trained NOT to respond to visitors, postman, etc.


  • Improved lead walking on walks, taking treats, good eye contact/ “checking-in “
  • Continue recall training in parks/on beach using long training lead
  • Practice all commands in all situations
  • Introduce dog to normal (human) social situations (pubs, restaurants, etc.)

Your dog should now be confident

  • Knows name
  • Has all 4 feet under the table!
  • Eager to be with you
  • Keen to learn new commands

Inside the house

  • Calm, relaxed, respectful of rules


  • Good recall established (need constant
    practice in all situations)
  • Sociable with people and other dogs is possible depending on the dog’s temperament and training that you have done.


  • We have years of experience and expertise
  • Access to local vets


  • Absolute Dogs (force-free training)
  • Facebook Groups – From Foster to Forever (Happily Adopted)
  • From Foster to Forever (Rescuing Dogs) “Files” page
  • Trainer3Style Community
  • Dog Training and Support Group
  • Other recommended local dog trainers and behaviourists
  • YouTube – Nigel Reed, Diary of a Rescue Dog

The Bottom Line

Regardless of what your dog does or how it behaves, it is your responsibility to find a solution,
As a dog owner, that’s what you are committing to.

We will endeavour to help as much as possible so please do get in contact if you have any issues but it will take time and every dog is different. Please don’t give up at the first hurdle.    

For inquiries, please contact us

If you would like to know more about fostering, adopting or helping the rescue. 

please click the button below or message us on our Facebook page and a member of our team will get in contact.