Advice for Adopting a Romanian Rescue Dog

Here are some guidelines for people who are thinking about adopting a rescue dog from Romania.

  1. FEEDING & WEIGHT – Dogs usually arrive underweight so please feed them twice a day.
  2. COLLAR & TAG – Ensure these are kept on the dog at all times.
  3. TWO LEADS IN THE GARDEN – Only take the dog out in the garden with two leads on – one sliplead and one lead attached to their harness. They may freak out at things such as sirens, airplanes, fireworks, cars backfiring, phones ringing, loud music etc so be vigilant.
  4. WALKING – Avoid taking the dog for a walk until it is ready. DO NOT walk your dog outside of your garden for at least 2 days, maybe longer. It may only feel safe walking in your garden. Once ready to venture outside of your garden, Initially (first 1-2 weeks) take them on a short route close to home and do it regularly so they start to recognise the place. Avoid large open spaces as it can be frightening. Building their confidence is vital. It’s about their enjoyment of the walk above yours in the early days.
  5. NO OFFLEAD WALKS – Avoid any ‘trust me’ eyes and NEVER be fooled to trust them to go off the lead during the trial period (and only once you are the adopter and are absolutely sure and have practised in a secure field/space). They instinctively love to ‘bolt’ and many have been injured and killed due to carelessness.
  6. TOO MUCH ATTENTION – Ignore the dog initially (we know this can be difficult) and let it come to you in its own time. This may take hours, days or weeks. Be patient, it will pay off.
  7. OTHER DOGS AT HOME – Remove all dogs toys and food bowls belonging to other dogs to avoid any canine arguing. The erection of a dog gate (higher than a stairgate) is recommended for initial introductions.
  8. CRATE – Have a crate available. The dog may or may not use it. Crates help to reduce dogs from chewing furniture when you’re out and can also help with house training. More importantly, a crate is often their only ‘safe place’. Never allow children to climb into/onto the crate or place their limbs inside.
  9. VISITORS – Avoid visitors for the first two weeks if possible. The dog needs to get used to you, the home and routine. It will be with you for life (if adopting) so there’s no rush.
  10. MEETING OTHER DOGS – Try to leave it at least one week before introducing the dog to others. If they meet and have a sniff during a walk that’s fine but don’t intentionally visit other dogs.
  11. WASHING – Only bath the dog when it needs washing. Use a flannel or sponge to clean its face.
  12. TREATS – Only give a small number of treats and give them when they’ve earned them. They will not be used to treats.
  13. TOILETING – Let the dog toilet in the house on puppy mats if it is too frightened to venture outside. Some Rommie dogs are scared of the dark too! Never try to drag a dog outside. The Romanian rescuers tend to sing to their dogs so a nice soft kissing type sound is encouraging plus perhaps a treat if they’re food orientated.
  14. OPENING THE DOOR – Ensure the dog is safely behind one or ideally two doors before opening the main door to your home. If they’re happy in their crate pop them in there initially. Remember that wind can blow doors open!
  15. EYE CONTACT – Avoid eye contact initially, this can be seen as confrontational by the dog.
  16. GO SLOW – Be prepared to take each day as it comes. All dogs are unique and some settle quicker than others. Some may have lived in a house and others may not. If you rush them they may regress.
  17. KITCHEN WORK SURFACES – Move food from the edge of work surfaces as the dog may well enjoy counter surfing for food.
  18. SOFT BEDS – The dog may or may not go in a soft bed initially. Don’t force them. They have been used to cold floors.
  19. LEAVING THE HOME – Avoid telling them when you’re leaving the house. Make it an ordinary occurrence and leave them with things to occupy their minds. Classical musical is also known to calm them.
  20. MEN – Sadly Rommie dogs are often physically abused by men so can be frightened of men. Just bear with them and let them come to the men in your home. A little encouragement with high value treats can help.
  21. ENTERTAINMENT – Bored dogs can be naughty dogs – a sliced antler (for pups) or an antler is a great natural treat. They’d also love the odd pigs ear or chickens foot to chomp on. Dog friendly toys are good including kongs, squeaky balls and squeaky soft toys.
  22. CLEAR COMMANDS – Keep any basic commands clear with just one or two words as the dogs are not used to English.
  23. HOARDING – Some Rommie rescues love nothing more than to collect up and chew your shoes and/or knickers & bras. They find comfort in your ‘scent’ so beware!
  24. VIEWPOINTS – Don’t be surprised if you find the dog lying on a high point, for example your dining room table. This seems to be a habit of many ex shelter dogs so they can watch the horizon and keep an eye out for danger.
  25. GARDEN – Remove anything near the edge of your garden fences that the dog can climb on as this will allow them to escape.
  26. UNUSUAL SOUNDS – Be aware they may be scared of the TV, hairdryer and vacuum cleaner. Introduce these things slowly.
  27. HARD FLOORING – They may be scared of wooden/hard flooring. If this is the case please pop a runner or two down.
  28. CAR TRAVEL – Start off with short car journeys and gradually build them up. Put the dog in a crate or dog seatbelt attachment every time it travels in a car. It is a legal requirement.
  29. ITCHING – Dogs will often be itchy after arrival in the UK. This can be due to central heating, dry skin, stress or fleas. If they have dry or sore patches of skin rub organic coconut oil on it gently before bedtime and then again in the morning.
  30. AVOID CHOCOLATE & DRIED FRUIT – NEVER give them chocolate, grapes, raisins, currants or sultanas. They are poisonous to dogs.
  31. COLOUR ON SKIN – If the dog has any tattoo type marks or coloured spray near their private parts this is from spaying/castrating.

Items needed for your dog:

  • Slip lead £5 (from SNDogs)
  • Three point harness £20 (from SNDogs)
  • Lead (for harness)
  • Collar
  • ID tags (one for collar, one for harness)
  • Crate for home
  • Crate or a seatbelt attachment for car journeys (legal requirement)
  • Blanket to cover top and sides of crate (one without holes in it)
  • Bowls (water and food)
  • Puppy pads
  • Poop bags
  • Stimulating toys
  • Food
  • Patience
  • Love
  • Understanding
  • Time