Although many people are buying puppies to be introduced to their family, a lot of pet parents are still adopting from rescue centers and such.
Most of the canine companions that come from these shelters are either elders, maltreated, or abandoned by their owners.
The truth is, they can still make great pets and they still have this certain special kind of love in them. They are worth to be taken care of.
Although it seems very simple to adopt a rescue dog, there are still several things that you should understand in order to prepare yourself.
Majority of these rescue dogs are taken care of in cages with minimum human contact. Thus, they don’t know how it feels like to be taken care of in a home.
They probably have minimal interaction with kids, furniture, and other animals that you might be taking care of in your own house. The key is to have a gentle approach and slowly build the trust.
These are the common behaviors that can be observed on rescued dogs:
- Snarls or bites out of fear
- Scared of loud or surprising noises
- Afraid of humans and larger animals
- Scared of the outdoor environment
- Challenging to house train
These are just some behaviors that can be observed on rescued dogs. Thus, you shouldn’t expect them to:
- Be accustomed to the leash immediately
- Be potty trained
- Be playful with toys
- Accept food that you are holding out to him or her
- Respond when you call his/her name
- Accept petting gestures
- To be held on
Of course, not all dogs are the same. The behaviors that they display vary on the experiences that they have been through, before being rescued.
Some could be accepting, while others are mainly aggressive and would snap back at anyone once they felt fear. You can’t blame these dogs as they are using their own instincts to try to survive in the world.
6 ways to train a rescue dog
1. Give them time to adjust
Most rescued dogs come with a lot of history. Generally, it would not be mentioned until the adopter asks for it. Most of these rescued dogs came from very stressful environments and could have a major traumatic effect on them.
This could make them be anxious about their surroundings, especially on new environments. Thus, it is recommended to give an ample amount of time for your adopted rescue dog to adjust to your home.
It may help to provide a separate room for him, with enough water and a good space. Not too large and not too soft, as long as he would feel safe in it would be the best.
This is what we call an “adjustment period”, which applies to most adopted elder dogs and rescue dogs.
2. Set boundaries and keep your distance
What is the best time for training for rescue dogs? Most of us would answer “after he has adjusted to our home”. Wrong, the real training begins as soon as the rescued dog is in your home.
Even though it seems normal for you and your family members to pet and cuddle your new canine companion, this could be harmful to training and acclimatization.
It is much better to introduce certain boundaries that your pooch could follow.
For example, you can set that it is not allowed to climb up on the sofa, or maybe not to jump on the kitchen table, and many more. These are simple situations wherein you could train your dog little by little.
3. Routine setting
Imagine the stress that your newly adopted rescue dog might have experienced before and during the shelter. Thus, you can establish daily routines to make your dog’s acclimatization more successful.
It also results to a much more stable and comfortable feeling of growth and affection from the dog to your family. Thus, not only it helps in the adjustment period, but also helps in the long run.
4. Assume an untrained dog
Although your newly rescued dog might have been trained before, it is still much different as compared to the previous owner who trained him.
Thus, you have to treat your rescue dog like how you would a puppy, especially when introducing him to your home. If you have observed signs of being trained previously, it might help to conduct a refresher course just for himself.
He might know some basic commands like sit, shake hands, or fetch, and you shouldn’t be surprised. Of course, you still have to provide positive reinforcements to keep him from getting stressed and scared into the training.
It is recommended to have short sessions at first before providing him a long one in order to reduce the potential stress during training.
5. Consider house crate training
If you have to treat your rescue dog like a puppy, then you have to consider crate training as soon as possible.
This will help in both the adjustment period and in the long run, since the crate can serve as his own safe sanctuary where he can hide and feel safe.
At the same time, the crate will add to your confidence that your new rescue dog will not go into trouble if you are not present there to supervise.
6. Enroll in an obedience class or start one
Even while adjusting to your new home, dogs should be put off beginning in an obedience program. This could actually help on setting him on a good behavior from the start.
However, it is to be noted of that your rescue dog should be taken care of, with gentle words and do not shout or hit him for something the he wouldn’t be able to understand at first.
Additionally, they could be more at ease if they know your house rules. This is because dogs love stability, structure, and predictability, thus it can actually help for the emotional and mental health of your rescue dog.
If you would still like to proceed in adopting a rescue dog, then proceed to do so! It is very much encouraged, and it feels very heartwarming if you went through with your decision.
Just follow the mentioned steps and you will be able to have another good buddy soon.