General Information About Rescue Dogs

Each rescue dog is unique and each one comes from a very different environment, type of socialization, neglect, abuse, or even abandonment. Our DLRR Labs are carefully vetted and provided any medical treatment needed. They are microchipped, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered prior to becoming available for adoption. Sometimes, we have their history and under other circumstances we may not even be sure of their age. Behavior and costly medical care may be a reason for an owner to surrender their dog to a shelter or to DLRR, and if that is the case, we will medically treat the dog and have them assessed by our approved trainer. Commitment, patience and an adjustment period is required for our rescue dogs in order to make each adoption successful. We have an Adoption Support Team and a Behavior/Training Coordinator who can provide resources for any issues that may surface with your rescue dog. It takes an incredible act of compassion to take in a rescue dog and provide them a loving home.

The First 7 Days

Transitioning a Rescue into Your Home

Each of our DLRR rescue dogs has been on a difficult journey and must have time to adjust to your home and their new routine. Though we strive to be a breed-specific rescue, we sometimes take in lab mixes and we often only have the limited information we are provided on intake about a dog’s history. They may exhibit new behaviors once in your home that may not have been present in their foster home. Your new dog won’t be perfect. There may be mishaps along the way. You and the entire family must be committed to the transition and remain positive until your new companion is trustworthy, settled and confident. Here are some things to do to set you up for success during the first week of transition and beyond:

  • The first day home should be uneventful. Keep things quiet and calm.
  • No extra guests, activity, or out-of-the-ordinary excitement should be present.
  • Introduce family and friends one at a time—but only after several days in the home, and only if the dog appears relaxed and comfortable.
  • Do not coddle or give extra attention to the dog. This is a time for the dog to decompress and for you to observe. Quiet time is crucial.
  • Let the dog sniff/explore/walk around in a few small areas in the home.
  • Set up a place for your dog to decompress—a kennel, or its own safe place to retreat.
  • Keep the dog tethered on a leash while you are home with them, so you may watch behaviors and correct anything that needs to be corrected as it happens.
  • Keep the dog off of furniture.
  • If you have other dogs in the home, separate all dogs at feeding time to avoid any food aggression/resource guarding issues. Keep your new dog on the same food and/or feeding schedule recommended by the foster. If you choose to transition to a new food, do so slowly.
  • If you have other dogs in the home, limit toys and treats until you are sure there are no resource guarding issues.
  • If you have children in the home or visiting, please reinforce giving dogs personal space and make sure children avoid close contact while the dog is settling in. Closely observe the dog’s interaction with children.
  • Avoid outside dog interactions as much as possible. When you do dog introductions, make sure they are done on neutral territory. It is good to begin with a walk with both dogs with another person present.
  • After the first few days of decompression, set a routine and be consistent.
  • We recommend not leaving the rescue dog alone for long periods soon after bringing it home, and highly recommend crating the dog if you are leaving the house. You can use small locks to ensure the dog doesn’t escape the kennel.
  • Every dog is different and will have different reactions to new places/people/experiences. This should always be considered along with the fact that adjustment rates vary—one dog may adjust right away, another may take several months to appear fully settled and comfortable.

Should you need extra support please contact your dog’s foster parent. If they are unable to assist, they will pass you on to our Adoption Support Team for further assistance.

Thank you for providing a loving and safe forever home to one of our Labs!

Training and Trainers

Arizona Dog Sports | (602) 237-6775
At AZ Dog Sports, they believe a guardian should never give up on a dog for bad behavior because behavior can be redirected with patience and the right education. They value and live by a positive reinforcement philosophy, have a deep-seated love for animals and passion for what they do.

Doggie Steps Dog Training | (602) 318-0122
Doggie Steps Dog Training leashed its first dog in 2005. Since then, over 5000 satisfied canine and customers alike have experienced the pleasures of a “calm-submissive” dog. The goal has always been to show owners how to properly integrate their dog into the home setting.

Elyse Rossi | (602) 376-4004
Elyse specializes in establishing clear communication between you and your canine companion. Working with dogs on basic foundation behaviors to behavioral issues such as aggression, insecurity, and OCD to ensure a healthy, well-rounded family member that’s sustainable long term.

Gary Wilkes’ Click & Treat Training | (480) 649-9804
Gary Wilkes provides behavior modification and training services in the Greater Phoenix area. Training services are customized to fit the individual client and are mainly conducted “in-home” unless a dog’s particular education requires other locations.

Pet Behavior Solutions | (480) 200-2011
Pet Behavior Solutions works with you to understand the causes of your pet’s behavior and to arrive at truly effective long-term solutions that will have a positive impact on your relationship with your pet. Sam Freeman is the President and owner of Pet Behavior Solutions. She began her career in animal welfare in 1996, working with pet owners as well as animal welfare organizations, rescues, and animal control agencies. Sam is certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and has completed specialized education and training in psychology, learning theory, ethology, family counseling, behavior modification techniques, aggression, canine and feline behavior issues, and grief counseling.

Partners Dog Training | (480) 595-6700
Partners Dog Training is in Cave Creek, Arizona, United States. We are a professional behavioral dog training facility that specializes in aggression, submissive and insecure behavior. We also offer a full sports program specially for dogs, including agility and protection dogs.

Pawsitive K9 Trainers, LLC | (623) 337-6977
Natalie Widomski is the owner and Certified Dog Trainer at Pawsitive K9 Trainers, LLC. Her niche is to train basic, advanced manners and life skills for all ages, and prepare canines and handlers for Pet therapy and/or Canine Good Citizen evaluations. She serves in the West Phoenix area. Natalie is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator and a Pet Partners Pet Therapy Evaluator. She is certified through the Victoria Stillwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior. Her mission is to help guardians communicate positively and effectively to their canines and in turn, their canines will be loved, well-behaved and balanced at home and in public.

Sam the Dog Trainer | (602) 708-4531
Sam has been a professional dog trainer and animal behaviorist for over two decades. He provides training and behavior modification for puppies and adults in Phoenix / Scottsdale areas. No electric collars. No harsh methods.

Team Canine | (480) 695-1491
The training philosophy is based on the idea that communication is the key to stopping unacceptable behavior and creating a well-mannered dog. Their training program teaches owners and dogs how to understand and communicate effectively together.

The Complete Canine (Tucson), Jeremy Brown | (520) 403-1401 A Tucson-based trainer who specializes in positive reinforcement training, socialization, therapy dog training, and building a positive relationship and bond between canines and their humans. Jeremy is a Certified Therapy Dog Evaluator, a current board member for Pet Partners of Southern Arizona, and a past Volunteer Manager for a local non-profit organization. Jeremy won the 2015 and 2016 Greatmats Trainer of the Year and was a Greatmats Trainer of the Year Finalist in 2017. Jeremy is a 2020 graduate from the University of Washington’s applied animal
behavior program.


Kelly Moffat, Medical Director, DVM, DACVB, Veterinary Behaviorist
Undesirable behaviors negatively impact the relationship we have with our pets. The goal of our Behavior Services is to create a better life for you and your pet by preventing and treating behavior problems using compassionate, scientific methodology that nurtures the human-animal bond.

Dog Obedience Advice
Professional dog training tips and articles to help train your dogs. Free dog training articles and dog training advice on solving your dog’s annoying behaviors like dog aggression, dog barking and dog biting.

Adoption Support Team

This DLRR team is composed of volunteers who have resources to assist adopters of our Labs. Common issues that our team can help with include:

  • Confinement and crate training 
  • Car anxiety 
  • Aggressive dogs 
  • Separation anxiety 
  • Leash training 
  • Dog introductions 
  • Food aggression 
  • Counter Surfing 

Boarding Facilities

DLRR recommends the facilities below when you need to board your furry family member:

Arizona Mutt Hutt  (Phoenix/Glendale):

The Furshire Social Club (Phoenix): 

Applewood Pet Resort (Phoenix/Paradise Valley): 

Second Home Pet Resort (Phoenix): 

Doggie District Pet Resort (Phoenix, multiple locations): 

Sabino Canyon Pet Resort (Tucson):

Kingsmark Kennels (Flagstaff):


Redfin – Moving with Pets: Expert Tips for a Successful Move

Training or Behavior – Is There a Difference? 

Socialization and Play

Benevolent Leadership in Dogs

Emotions in Our Pets

Introducing a New Baby to Your Pet

Five Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

Private Training vs. Group Obedience

Housebreaking Puppies

Selecting a Behavioral Consultant

Is Tap Water Safe for Our Dogs?

Crate Training

Incorporating Children in the Care of Pets

Integrating a New Dog with an Existing Dog

About Labs: Information on the Breed

The sturdy, well-balanced Labrador Retriever can, depending on the sex, stand from 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds. The dense, hard coat comes in yellow, black, and a luscious chocolate. The head is wide, the eyes glimmer with kindliness, and the thick, tapering “otter tail” seems to be forever signaling the breed’s innate eagerness. 

Labs are famously friendly. They are companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and they socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike. But don’t mistake their easygoing personality for low energy: The Lab is an enthusiastic athlete that requires lots of exercise, like swimming and marathon games of fetch, to keep physically and mentally fit. 


According to a report by CNBC, the UK-based People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) revealed that pet owners drastically underestimate the cost of owning a dog, cat or other beloved pet over its lifetime. Ninety-eight percent of pet owners polled by the PDSA significantly underestimated the lifetime cost of ownership. It turns out owning a pet over its lifetime, likely over 10 years, costs between $27,074 and $42,545, depending on the breed—this excludes expensive and unforeseen veterinarian visits. 


Valley Fever: 

The Primary Disease is limited to the lungs. Symptoms of Primary Valley Fever include a harsh dry cough, a fever, a lack of appetite, and lethargy or depression. These symptoms usually occur about three weeks after infection. In the Disseminated Disease the fungus has disseminated or spread to other parts of the body. A dog with Valley Fever will be diagnosed with a Valley Fever blood test, which checks the blood to see if your dog is making antibodies against the Valley Fever fungus. Fluconazole, an anti-fungal medication is the drug of choice to treat Valley fever. The dog will also need periodic blood testing to check improvement. Fluconazole can be compounded at compounding pharmacies and the cost varies.

Tick Fever: 

Canine Tick-Borne Disease or Canine Anaplasmosis, also called dog fever or dog tick fever, is transmitted from the deer tick. Symptoms are similar to other tick diseases including  fever, loss of appetite, stiff joints and lethargy, but also can include vomiting and diarrhea. In extreme cases, dogs may suffer seizures. Tick Fever responds well to treatment with the antibiotic Doxycycline. Improvement in symptoms is usually very quick, but several weeks of treatment is usually needed to ensure a full recovery. Doxycycline can be compounded at compounding pharmacies and the cost varies. 

Hip Dysplasia: 

Canine hip dysplasia is a form of degenerative arthritis. Most likely, your dog will not want to play or do any kind of exercise, but you can help ease your dog’s pain if he or she suffers from hip dysplasia. Medications and joint supplements, which ease arthritis pain, can help your dog. Conservative treatments include Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, NSAIDs, and as a last resort, pain medications (steroids). 

In severe cases where surgery is indicated, the cost can range from $1,700 to $4,500. 

Found Dog  

According to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, here are a few steps you can take to help return a lost pet to its owners: 

  • If the dog is wearing a current Maricopa County tag, call 602-506-PETS (7387) and follow the prompts to retrieve the owner’s phone number. 
  • If the dog is wearing any other type of ID, attempt to contact the owner using the information on the ID. 
  • If you plan to keep the found dog at your home for a few days, please post a flyer in the area you found the dog. This will allow the owner to contact you should they find you have their pet. 
  • The animal can be scanned for a microchip by a local veterinarian or shelter. (Call the place you desire to take them to ensure that they have scanning capability.) 
  • Post fliers in the neighborhood where you found the animal. 
  • Post the found animal on Pet Harbor, Lost Dogs Arizona Facebook page, and/or  Straydar Facebook page, etc. 
  • If you can safely contain the dog, call Animal Control and they will pick up from your location. You can contact MCACC at 602-506-PETS (7387) for dog pick up. Or you can complete a  stray dog report online
    Take the dog to one of the county shelters. Please visit the county Services and Fees page for applicable fees. 

Lost Dog 

If you lose your dog, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control recommends the following: 

  • Check the animal control hours and locations page for shelter hours. Call the Lost and Found Department at 602-372-4598 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily) 
  • By law, county Animal Control is required to hold stray animals for 72 hours. This allows time for an owner to claim their lost pet. 
  • Use their  Interactive Search Tool or the  PetHarbor  site. The Interactive Search Tool now allows people who have found pets to post flyers. Make sure you search all the Found pet postings for your area. 
  • Post flyers in the neighborhood where the pet was lost. Ask elementary schools in your area if you can post a flyer — kids often notice animals. Feel free to use their  Sample Flyer (PDF)
  • Talk to your neighbors, letter carrier, and paper deliverer to see if anyone has spotted your pet. 
  • Post a Lost Pet ad on  Craigslist, Lost Dogs Arizona Facebook page, and/or  Straydar Facebook page
  • Place an ad in the local paper and offer a reward. Also check the found ads. 
  • Most importantly, keep looking for at least 10 days. Many pets are found by members of the public who may not bring the animal in to a shelter for several days.