Adopting a street dog
If you are considering adopting a street dog please read the below.
Adopting a street dog is extremely rewarding but can also be challenging. An important thing for a potential adopter to understand is that it is very unlikely that the dogs history will be known therefore it is very difficult to predict how quickly your dog will settle in.
Some dogs have been a street dog their whole life and never been in a home environment before. Everything about being in a home will be alien and possibly frightening to the dog. All the normal domestic smells and sounds could easily overwhelm a street dog initially. While we may romanticise that the dog will be 'in heaven' having a lovely warm house to live in, the reality is that it could take a while for your dog to see it this way.
A street dogs instinct when they feel scared, uncomfortable or vulnerable is to run away. It is well known that Romanian dogs are excellent escape artists. Extra precautions must be taken to keep your dog safe (see our Safety Advice tab for more details).
The key to a successful adoption is time, patience, commitment and being prepared. It may be that you dog takes it all in his stride and settles in very quickly and behaves as if they have always been with you, but the opposite could also happen. Some dogs progress quickly while others take months before they start to settle.
When the dog first arrives they might shy away from people and contact, and we know this can be upsetting to people who have waited for their dog and dreamed of the 'gotcha' moment when the dog gratefully runs into the adopters arms. It is important to understand that it is not personal, and the dog just needs time to adapt, they are simply overwhelmed with all the changes.
Not having any expectations of the dog and being willing to adapt to the needs of your new arrival are key. Once the dog has had time to start to feel safe and secure, you will start to see their true personality and trust will start to build. Rushing a dog into something that they are not ready for or comfortable with can have a long lasting negative impact on the trust your dog has in you, and is setting them up to fail. For the first 48 hours you should be prepared to give the new arrival as little stimulation as possible, and let them sleep off the journey. Keep visitors and other resident pets away and only stroke the dog if they come to you and initiate the interaction. A bland diet is recommended as they may well have an upset tummy after transport.
You should be prepared to toilet train and lead train your dog. Many street dogs have a fear of their collar and lead and getting them to accept walking on a lead can take time.
These dogs have been through so much already and they deserve a family who will be willing to help them overcome any fears or insecurities they have. Time is a great healer and with patience and understanding your dog will blossom.
Some dogs may have been a pet in their former life, but have spent a long time in kennels at the rescue centre. Dogs are creatures of routine and when the predictability of kennel life is taken away can feel very insecure in a home environment.
A dog who was very sociable and affectionate in kennels can arrive at their new home behaving very different. Dogs like people deal with stress differently, and some find the 2 day road trip from Romania to the UK emotionally draining, and need time to bounce back.