Rescue dogs are the most resilient creatures on Earth. They come into our lives without being able to explain to us what they’ve been through, and so often, we expect them to fit into our lives seamlessly. 

While this flawless transition happens occasionally, there is no guarantee, and all potential adopters have to be ready to deal with acclimation issues that might pop up. Bringing a rescue dog into your life is a beautiful thing, but it comes with bumps in the road. 

Depending on the shelter from which you adopt your rescue dog, you’ll get some background information on your new family member and an evaluation of your dog according to the rescue or foster home. They may not know much about your dogs’ past, or maybe they will, but you’ll have little knowledge regarding your dogs’ personality when you bring them home. 

This knowledge mentioned above doesn’t mean they won’t throw you a curveball. Your recently adopted dog may hide from you or follow you everywhere. Both of these occurrences are entirely normal and often resolve on their own. 

Why does my rescue dog follow me everywhere?

Rescue dogs come into our lives needing both independence and the knowledge that they can rely on someone. If your rescue dog is following you everywhere, there may be a little insecurity involved. It’s also possible that they’re looking at you as a pack leader, which is precisely what you want!

Your rescue dog will likely stop following you around constantly at some point. Here are a few reasons it might be happening:

Your dog wants attention

Your rescue dog could be following you everywhere because he wants attention! It’s hard to be a rescue pup, and chances are, he’s spent a good chunk of his life not getting the attention he needed from the humans around him. 

Instead of getting frustrated with your clingy pup, show him love and let him know that you aren’t going anywhere. It will take some time, but eventually, he’ll learn that he’s safe and can rely on your presence and consistent attention. 

It’s time for a walk or dinner

Most rescue dogs have a set schedule. Whether they were living with a foster family or receiving their walks and dinners from shelter employees before you come along, they’re likely expecting food and walks at certain times. 

Of course, you will be able to get them used to a different schedule that works for you, but you’ll have to deal with them shadowing you for a while. Again, this is something that won’t stay the same forever.

Your rescue dog has separation anxiety

Rescue dogs have been through some hard times. It’s only natural for them to have a little bit of separation anxiety, and they may show it by following you everywhere. With consistency, they’ll begin to realize that there is no reason for them to be so afraid.

Through basic training, you’ll be able to convince your rescue dog that it’s okay for them to have a little independence and time away from you. In severe cases, a professional trainer may be necessary.

Your dog is trying to tell you something

From an empty water dish to the need to go outside, maybe your rescue pup is trying to communicate something to you. In times such as these, you’ll notice that the following is more sporadic than constant. 

No matter the case, make sure that you’re hearing what your dog is trying to say, no matter how busy you are. Your dog wants you to know something, and you should listen!

Your dog is afraid

The fact that your rescue dog is following you around constantly may mean that they’re afraid. It’s common for a rescue dog to have at least a little bit of fear. There has been plenty of change and inconsistency in their lives, and it’s your chance to show them that they no longer have a reason to be afraid. 

Your rescue dog could be bored

Are you giving your dog enough consideration and exercise? Just like any dog, a rescue dog needs plenty of time to play. Dogs get incredibly bored when they lack stimulation mentally and physically, and it’s your job to make sure that they get that attention!

Is it normal for a rescue dog to be clingy?

Since all dogs have their own personality, it’s hard to group them into categories of what’s normal and what isn’t. However, it’s completely okay if your rescue dog wants to cling to you. 

Experts in the rescue field often say that it takes around three months for rescue dogs to get used to their surroundings, and this is an estimated amount of time. Your dog might take less or more time to acclimate to its new way of living. In these situations, patience is the best perspective to have. 

A rescue dog might be clingy for many reasons, including fear, boredom, anxiety, schedule changes, and the fact that it wants to be around you. You can gauge the reasons for your dogs’ behavior by spending time with them and allowing the situation to unfold. 

It’s essential not to give up on them. Your rescue pup will ease into life with you. It would be best if you gave him the time and opportunity to do so. 

How long does it take for a rescue dog to adjust to a new home?

New rescue dog owners must resist putting their dogs on a timeline. It can be challenging because you’re likely looking forward to your dog easing into life with you, making memories, and forming a deep bond. 

These things will come with time. Before you connect with your rescue dog, you’ve got to ensure that they’re comfortable enough around you to make that connection. It will take time and consistency. 

Don’t try to rush them. Rescue dogs might be aloof, super clingy, or settle in right away. While we can try to guess what the timeline might be, and the average is the three months mentioned above, in reality, that time frame will not apply to every dog. 

Go into the process of rescuing a dog with the expectation that there will be some bumps in the road. Take comfort in knowing that any issues will likely smooth themselves out, and you’ll be making life-long remembrances with your new dog in no time. 

How can I get my rescue dog to be comfortable?

So we’ve discussed the issues that might contribute to a clingy rescue pup, but we haven’t jumped into how you can make your rescue dog more comfortable in your home. You can take actions that will help them open up, encouraging them to embrace independence within their new surroundings. 

Structure

Your rescue dog is likely to come from a place where the schedules are strict. While his new life with you might be a bit different, try to help him ease into things by sticking to the same daily plan. 

Patience

One of the single most important things for you to do is have tolerance with your rescue dog. This new way of life is a massive change for them, and there is no way to be sure what they’ve been through before you. Show them kindness, compassion, and patience. 

Calmness

You’re excited about your new pup, and you have every right to be. Remain calm at all times, especially the day you take them home and during the first weeks of your life together. If family and friends want to come to visit, ask that they give your dog space and help maintain the level of peace.

Training

It’s no secret that dogs love structure, games, and learning! If you want to help your rescue dog adjust, try jumping into basic training straight away. Your dog will learn the manners and commands you expect of him while having fun and settling into his new life!

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.