Are you looking at getting a dog to join your family but want to save a life rather than buying a puppy?
Rescue dogs are often given a bad reputation, as most people think they are homeless due to bad behavior. While this is true in some cases, it certainly isn’t always the case. There are many reasons a dog needs to be rehomed, for example:
· Owner is unwell and can longer care for dog
· Owner has to move and can’t take the dog with them
· Dog has grown too big for their family
· Owners working commitment has changed and they are no longer able time to spend enough time with the dog
Regardless of the reason, all dogs will take time to settle into a new environment and will require some form of training to learn their place in your family.
Like humans, dogs can slow down with age, and ‘bad habits’ can be hard to break, but you can teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs live their whole life wanting to make their humans happy - sometimes we just have to be patient with the older dogs.
When you first adopt a dog, there is a settling in period where they are on their best behavior while they work out if you are their new humans and if they are safe in your home. After a few weeks, they start to get comfortable and then want to try and find their boundaries. This may look like bad behavior, but they are not sure of your rules or their place in the family and they need you to show them.
In their old home, they might have been allowed on the couch, but if you have a strict rule that dogs are not on the couch, you will have to teach them so they understand the new rules. Their previous humans might never have left shoes near the front door, so they may not know these aren’t yummy smelling dog toys.
When you first bring your new dog home, you will need to learn their likes and dislikes, do they like children, cats, other dogs, rides in the car? You will need to learn their tell signs and read their body language. Tell signs are the way our dogs tell us when they are uncomfortable in situations, some tell signs are licking lips, flattening ears, yawning, looking away, tails between legs, growling. Reading our dogs’ tell signs is a vital part of learning our dogs - not just rescue dogs but all dogs.
Introduce your new dog to new situations slowly, on a lead if need be, and look for their tell signs. If your dog is uncomfortable, calmly remove them from the situation and wait until they are calm and ready to try again. Remember your dog may have never been in the situation before so it might just take a few tries before they are comfortable. Or they might have had a bad experience, so they may appear afraid or even aggressive when exposed to this. This does not mean your dog can never be comfortable in this situation; it simply means that they will need some extra help desensitizing them to the potential scary thing to make it a positive thing rather than a negative thing. This could mean desensitizing them over a period of time, praising and rewarding them as they get closer to the object of their fear.
If you are unsure about how to handle the situation or are not progressing, talk to your vet for a recommendation to an experienced trainer for personal help with your new dog.
Also consider booking an in home training session as soon as you can. This will ensure you both have a fantastic fun future together with many happy experiences.