top of page
  • Writer's pictureVickie Foster

Tips For Socializing Your Rescue Dog

Do you have a recent rescue dog addition to your home? If so, congratulations! You can help your new dog get adjusted to its new surroundings and feel more at home by introducing some socializing skills. Your dog can be more at ease, feel calmer, and be better behaved if you follow some of the tips below.

Know your dog's body language

The shelter where you got your dog may not have much history to give you clues about your dog’s behavior. You may have to rely on your dog’s body language to gauge their mood in specific situations.

Look for the following behaviors that signal discomfort, anxiety, or fear in your dog:

  1. A tucked tail and hunched back

  2. Flattened ears

  3. Lip or nose licking especially done several times

  4. Yawning

  5. Shaking

  6. Trying to hide or run off

  7. Pacing

  8. Panting

  9. Whining

  10. Hair standing on end along the spine or neck (called Piloerection)

  11. Aggression

Let your dog set the pace of your socialization efforts. Any of the above signs could mean you are pushing your dog and moving too fast. This may cause your dog to shut down and sabotage your efforts. Ease off and move slowly to give your dog a chance to get used to new surroundings.

If your dog shows signs of aggression you may need help with behavior modification. Aggression can be a serious problem and hard to deal with on your own. Gentle Touch Pet Training offers great classes to help with aggressive or reactive dogs. Click here to learn more!

Start with less challenging situations first

The goal is to keep your dog relaxed. Once a dog feels stress, it is less likely to learn. For example, if you want to walk your dog on a busy street, start with a quiet street first. Gradually introduce your dog to busier streets and areas.

Keep sessions positive

Reward and praise your dog for choosing to interact with a new and scary situation. Liberally use treats to reward brave behavior! Rewarding your dog immediately after they’ve completed the desired task, will help you mark their positive behavior.

Keep introductions brief

Introduce new dogs by going for a walk together with ample space between dogs. You may eventually let the dogs sniff each other as they’ve grown more comfortable with each other. Proper introductions are very important so make sure you set your dog up for success.

Be alert for stress

If your dog shows signs of stress, remove it from the scary situation right away. Calm your dog with physical affection, play, or treats, and don’t scold them. Scolding your dog will only make them more stressed and all learning will stop. Ease off the activity or situation that caused stress and try an alternative to it next session.

Keep efforts consistent and positive

A rescue dog can have more background to overcome than a puppy. Be patient, consistent in your training, and stay positive to reach your socializing goals.

Be patient with your pet while it is adjusting to its new home! We hope these tips were helpful. If you require assistance please contact us at


Make sure you follow us on Instagram and don't forget to subscribe to our blog!

All proceeds from Thousand Hills Pet Resort support New Life K9s. New Life K9s provides service dogs to veterans and first responders with PTSD at no cost to them.




Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page