We have put together some advice and information to refer to when your new dog arrives. Some dogs enter a home and settle down like they’ve always been there; others take a little time so we have tried to cover the most common issues that may arise. Please read through and direct any additional questions to a member of admin.

DOGS CAN ARRIVE ANY TIME OF THE DAY OR NIGHT DURING A 24HR PERIOD. IF YOUR DOG IS DELIVERED DIRECTLY FROM ROMANIA, YOUR DOG MUST NOT LEAVE YOUR ADDRESS DURING THE FIRST 48HRS BY LAW.

We want you to enjoy every moment with your new friend and the advice in this article is tried and tested. Occasionally have been handed back within the first few days, we find that in most of these cases, adopters have deviated from the advice given.

ARRIVAL & INITIAL STEPS
It is most important to remember that when your dog arrives they will be scared and overwhelmed. They may have been travelling for up to 4 days and they are in a new environment, with new people. In many cases, they do not wish to be stroked and fussed right away.

TIP: Show them where a comfy bed and water is and let them settle and come to you when they are ready. Sometimes this takes just a few hours, sometimes a few weeks; the most important thing to remember is, just let them come around in their own time.

Rafa, adopted December 2019

Don’t expect too much too soon, and never push them to do something they don’t want to do, which includes being stroked.

Your dog, unless a UK foster, may never have experienced life in a home, so will need support and patience with training and settling. Even walking through a doorway can be very daunting as this is something they are not used to and they may need gentle encouragement. Positive reinforcement such as treats can be used for this.

Crying at night is common, it is up to you where your new dog sleeps if you have adopted, but please do not allow on sofas, in your bed, or on other furniture until fully trained and boundaries in place.

Be prepared to sit with and settle your dog for the first few nights. It is all very new and scary for them. Often warmth and silence are very alien to them.

In the first few days, you should use a lead (a long one if desired) in the garden regardless of how secure it is. You may find your dog is not keen on the idea of coming back inside, however, you should not force or drag them; just give them gentle persuasion and use treats to encourage them.

NEVER push or drag your dog

You should have a suitably sized crate prepared for your dog, with a blanket covering three sides and the top, to make a little den. You should put their bedding in here too.

PLEASE SEE OUR SEPARATE CRATE TRAINING INFORMATION & ADVICE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

TAGS & MICROCHIPS
Please ensure you have a tag made with your identity and contact details on, prior to the dog’s arrival. Wearing a tag is a legal requirement and you can be fined if your dog does not wear one, this includes any foster dog.
Your dog will be microchipped and this will be checked against the passport when they arrive. If you are adopting your dog, we will register your dog’s microchip, as this is included in the adoption fee. If you are fostering, the microchip remains registered to us.

TIP: Please take a photograph of your dog’s microchip on the scanner when your dog is brought out of the transport van and keep this for your records.

TOILET TRAINING
It is unlikely, unless in foster, that your dog will have any sort of toilet training.
Please be patient, consistent and give your new dog time to learn
Build a good routine – outside within 10-15 minutes of eating and have your own trigger word or phrase, such as ‘quick’ or ‘wee-wees’ etc.
Some people do use puppy pads, but it can sometimes be more confusing for an older dog.
If you are struggling with toilet training methods please consult a member of our admin team.

BATHING
NEVER try to bath your dog when they arrive. This will not be an enjoyable experience as the dog will be scared and still unused to the environment.
Bathing could cause your dog lots of stress and could make them fear you more, affecting your ability to build a bond with them.
Please always wait at least 1 week and go at your dog’s pace.
Think carefully, prior to fostering or adopting a dog from overseas if you do not want a smelly dog in your home, because the reality is, they will smell.

TIP: Please adhere to the following as these are the things that will set your dog up with good manners and the boundaries that he/she will need to ensure a safe and happy life as a part of your family.

  1. START training as soon as possible – immediately if you can
  2. DO NOT treat your dog to a bone/hoof/pig’s ears etc. These are things that they will guard
  3. AVOID dogs on the sofa until their position in pack hierarchy is established and after that ONLY if they are invited. Sofas make for a good place to guard
  4. YOUR dog should be made to sit before they are given their food.
  5. SUPERVISE your dog at all times, especially around children, other pets, and visitors – and even out in the garden, until he/she is settled
  6. Unless stated, our dogs are unlikely to be used to children, we will advise during contact if we think your family is suitable for the dog you fall in love with and always endeavour to make the perfect match. When introducing your new dog to children please do this very carefully and ALWAYS under strict supervision. NEVER leave a dog with any child unattended
  7. BE MINDFUL of your own body language – waving of arms in particular – as this could make your dog fearful
  8. DO NOT touch your dog whilst they are sleeping. Dogs sleep deeply and if they are touched, they can become reactive as they will not be aware of what it is that has touched them!
  9. DO NOT allow anyone other than the usual adult members of your household to look after your dog for the first few weeks of arrival. Too many strangers can scare your dog

PLEASE SEEK FURTHER ADVICE FROM YOUR ADMIN ON TRAINING
AND BOUNDARIES IF REQUIRED

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
IT IS NORMAL FOR YOUR DOG TO HAVE AN UPSET STOMACH ON
ARRIVAL
• A bland diet, little and often, is advisable for the first few days: chicken
and rice, scrambled egg and white fish, are highly recommended whilst
your dog adjusts to a normal diet and feeding routine
• Whilst in Romania your dog would have been fed a locally sourced dry
food. Please allow at least 7 days of this plain bland diet before seeking
further advice and introducing new foods
• Tins of wet food such as Chappie and a grain-free dried food such as
James Wellbeloved or Harrington’s are great choices
• Please do not be alarmed if you notice any blood in your dog’s stools when they arrive; an upset stomach is perfectly normal and it is not unusual to see traces of blood in their faeces as a result. It is often just caused by stress and the long journey they have had. You can purchase some inexpensive probiotics to add to their food from most pet stores such as Pets at Home

ANY LARGE AMOUNTS OF FRESH BLOOD OR CLOTS PLEASE SPEAK TO A MEMBER OF OUR TEAM OR A VET IMMEDIATELY

GOING OUT
Fear of a collar and lead is very common in Romanian dogs – a fear installed by bad experiences with dog catchers
• We strongly recommend a harness rather than a collar and using positive association with the leads and treats. Favourite treats are a great tool to use here (such as cooked chicken or cheese)

Ragnar, adopted November 2017

ALWAYS DOUBLE LEAD WHEN FIRST TAKING YOUR DOG OUT!

We recommend using TWO slip leads or slip lead and clip-on lead (double lead) when first walking your dog in case they wriggle out of one.

  • If you find a harness isn’t working then try just a slip lead (it is worth being aware that certain breeds such as malamutes and husky types tend to be worse in a harness as the pressure on the chest can make them pull more)
  • It is fundamentally important that you keep your dog on a long lead in the garden for the first few days/weeks! They can be notorious escape artists and will scale walls and fences
  • Always ensure all windows and doors are kept shut and secure whilst your dog is settling in as this is also a common escape route for them
  • If fostering a dog, we require the foster dog to ALWAYS be on a lead when leaving the home
  • Many frightened dogs can easily escape both a collar and a standard harness in seconds. Whatever equipment you use to keep your dog safe, please also be aware that determined / fearful dog can chew through a lead or harness strap in seconds
  • Keep your eyes on your dog, take things gently and be patient while getting to know each other
  • Always use double lead until you are fully confident that your dog will not attempt to escape
  • Be prepared to work hard using a long line and treats to ensure perfect recall
  • Your dog may have a ‘name’ but it may not know it! Most dogs quickly learn their name and basic commands.
  • In the unlikely event of your dog escaping you must inform a member of our team IMMEDIATELY – you should ring the dog warden and all local rescues. If you and friends or family go to search for the dog we cannot stress highly enough DO NOT CHASE OR TRY TO CORNER THE DOG they will just become more fearful and run further. We have specialist tracking teams we can contact who are highly skilled in returning Romanian dogs to their owners.

DEALING WITH AGGRESSION
• Food aggression is a normal issue to encounter and is not impossible to
overcome

IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER YOUR DOG MAY HAVE LIVED ON THE STREET AND HAD TO FIGHT FOR ITS FOOD

• We always advise you feed your dog on its own, and keep all other animals and children separate at feeding time
• It does not take long for your dog to learn that in your home, food is
readily available
• Please be aware that growling is not a pre-cursor to aggression

GROWLING IS JUST A WARNING

• Growling is a dog’s way of saying that they are uncomfortable and unsure of a situation. Back away and leave them in peace.
• Growling IS NOT a dog being aggressive.
• Growling IS NOT a dog about to bite.
• Growling IS NOT a dog ‘going for you’.
• Growling at other animals is a warning.
• Growling is also a dogs way of finding their place in the new pack.
• Allow them to settle things at their own pace.
• Should a fight occur DO NOT put yourself in danger to separate dogs
• Make yourself aware of what play fighting can look like, sometimes it looks a bit scary, but while they nip at each other’s neck and faces they never break the skin.
• A submissive dog will bow down to invite another dog to play and sometimes when two dogs are bouncing around in this way it can look and sound worse than it is.

PLEASE BE AWARE
There are other quirks that rescue dogs can show, some across all rescue dogs, some more particular to those from Romania:

  • Do not be surprised to see your dog eating its own faeces. This can be for a variety of reasons but is often a learned behaviour due to hunger
  • They may show fear of:
    • Traffic/vans /bin/recycling lorries
    • Males
    • Noises that are alien to them such as TV, vacuum, phone, doorbell
  • They may dig in your garden and rummage in bins! They will often eat everything and anything they see
  • Your dog may never have been in a home before – DO NOT let them on furniture, your bed or sofas. Provide them with a bed and ensure you set strict boundaries and have training in place ASAP
  • BE VERY AWARE – these dogs have had to survive any way they can, they can jump higher than you think, wriggle through holes smaller than you think, be gone in seconds if scared
  • Settling in can take time, these dogs have been taken from everything they have known and put in a situation that can feel scary and daunting
  • They do not understand initially, that they are safe in your home or that you will love them and they do not know that they are no longer in Romania
  • They do not understand that your expensive ornaments/cushions /rugs/curtains are not appropriate toys! Provide a variety of toys/squeaks/tug toys/soft toys for your dog and let them know they can play with them
  • A firm no is all that is ever needed if your dog does something that you would rather they didn’t

NEVER, EVER STRIKE OR SMACK YOUR DOG

  • Please remember that the size your dog is stated as being or maturing to is a guesstimate – as mixed breeds can vary so much -therefore your dog may grow bigger than we initially thought, or in fact remain smaller!
  • …and FINALLY! Please enjoy your family’s new addition, and remember the commitment you have made to them!