Training Tips for Bringing Home a Rescue Dog
If you have ever watched a video of dogs being rescued from puppy mills, you probably would have been either moved to tears or moved to adopt. So many dogs have been rescued from terrible conditions, while some dogs have been abandoned or let go because their owners knew they could not keep up, or for legitimate reasons. Despite the various backgrounds of rescue dogs, they are still often stigmatized as dogs with behavioral problems so bad their owners let them go. In this post, we share with you the Training Tips for Bringing Home a Rescue Dog.
While it is understandable that a lot of these dogs have suffered one trauma or the other, it does not mean they are damaged or dangerous, it just means they are in need of a home, a good home. If you believe your home is what a rescue dog needs, then this article will help equip you for what will be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life.
Finding The Right Dog
Your journey to finding a lifelong friend starts by picking the right dog to suit your personality, preferences, and patterns. While no two dogs are equal, dogs of certain breeds have the same general characteristics, and they serve as a good indicator of what type of dog you should pick. If you are a busy person or are not very outdoorsy, choosing a dog that likes cuddling by the fireplace instead of running around the neighborhood would be a better suit for you.
Some dogs also require more financial investments than others, to go towards grooming, feeding, and veterinary bills. All these factors need to be weighed before you make your decision. Beyond choosing the right breed, you also should adopt from a registered shelter with accurate accounts. Some of these shelters will also assess your compatibility with the dogs they have and might be able to partner you with a dog that would fit best with your home and lifestyle, based on their knowledge of the dogs in the shelter.
Understand Your Dog
Once you’ve found the dog you potentially want, find out as much as you can about it. Find out as much of its medical history as possible. In most cases, you probably won’t have access to ancestral records or genetic history, as the origins of these dogs are not always known. It would be helpful to at least know which, if any, medical conditions the dog has had and how to prevent reoccurrence.
For a dog coming into a home with multiple occupants, the residents also need to know about the dog you intend to bring home and learn how they can all play a part in training and looking after it.
Speak to the carers about the dog’s previous training. Learn about the dog’s likes, dislikes, the commands it knows well, any possible problem areas, and favorite snacks (this will come in handy during your training).
Prepare Your Home
Whether you’ve decided to opt for a big dog or a small one, old or young, you have to assume your dog does not know anything, yet. Get all the gear you would for a young puppy, including paper pads. It is advisable to get a crate as well, even if you don’t like the idea of them.
The purpose of the crate is to provide a safe place for your dog to dwell, especially if you don’t have the space for a playpen. Remember to make the crate as appealing as possible, so that even if your dog doesn’t like crates, it would still find this one very attractive to sleep and play in.
And of course, don’t forget to stack up on a variety of foods, to find out which one your rescue dog agrees with best. Though the shelter would tell you the kind of food your dog likes, you may still want to conduct your own experiment. And don’t forget the toys. A dog without toys is like a kid without, well, dog toys!
[Related, check out the Best Dog Crates and Cages]
Manage Your Expectations
A beer-fetching, toilet use, garbage disposing dog probably won’t just walk into your home. While your dog will come with a few tricks up its sleeve if it is an older dog, the likelihood is there will be a lot for you to do in order to get your dog to behave acceptably to your standard. Your dog might not be housebroken, or might need a refresher course, as it probably hasn’t been in a home for a while.
Some form of anxiety is to be expected. Your dog has just moved from a stressful environment and is yet to settle into your own peaceful, loving home. When a dog has dropped off at my gate a few years ago, I had no idea what to expect. He wasn’t trained, didn’t know how to communicate, and was way too timid. He was constantly afraid of being hit. I don’t know what he went through, but I knew it was my job to do the best I could with what I was given.
[Related, check out these Amazing Dog Ramps]
Go Through Basic Training
Getting your dog ready for the world may be a bit challenging, or surprisingly straightforward. If your dog has been previously well-trained, that is very convenient, but still not a reason to assume she will never do anything bad. On the other hand, if your dog has not been trained, you gain the opportunity to train your dog from scratch, using positive reinforcement.
The first day your new dog comes into your home should be when you introduce basic commands. Just throw some commands at it and see which ones it knows. It is possible the dog has been trained in a different language, but the hand gestures might be the same. In either case, you would need to do the training again. Remember that positive reinforcement rewards good behavior and doesn’t punish bad ones, something your dog may not be used to.
After you’ve given the commands, it is time to start training. There are tonnes of different commands to impart, and chances are no matter how well trained your dog is, it hasn’t been through all of them. Do make sure you cover all the basics – sit, lie down, leave it, come when called, toileting outdoors or on the pad, leash training, etc.
When training a rescue dog, a light touch is preferable at the start. Don’t be in a hurry to catch the dog up on all the training. If your dog can manage just one or two a day, stick with those for a few days. Keep training sessions short and maximize playing time.
Have As Much Fun As Possible
One of the things your dog has probably been missing is the opportunity to run around for extended periods of time a day. Allow her to run free through the yard, or go to a secluded park. If your dog knows how to fetch, play with her, and watch her face light up as she runs around. Initially, your dog might be afraid of doing things wrong, so encourage her by running around a little bit yourself.
Socialize with People and Other Dogs
Another thing your dog has been missing is adequate human contact. It is important for your dog to get used to people and not to be afraid of them. Get your dog out to public places and casually bump into strangers. Don’t overwhelm her by throwing a house party the day you bring her home.
Getting her to meet other dogs is also vitally important. While most shelter dogs are used to the company of other dogs, they may not have interacted with them in a positive environment much, free from restrictions. If you notice any anxiety in her interactions, don’t be alarmed. If you don’t know what to do, call an expert.
Get Help From A Certified Dog Trainer
Taking your dog to a training center or inviting a professional animal behaviorist to come to your home can help you with the adjustment period. The trainer would help you better understand your dog, what it needs, and how to better take care of her. If there are any behavioral issues, the trainer will also show you the most effective way to deal with it.
Keep On Exploring
After trying the Training Tips for Bringing Home a Rescue Dog, it will take you several months, if not years, to discover the eccentricities of your dog. The process will require a lot of patience and consistent training methods. Be generous with your rewards and don’t give up on your dog. All dogs, be they from a shelter or not, have their own quirks. If your dog displays odd behavior doesn’t mean it is rescue-related. It could just be how your dog is. Whatever you do, keeping doing your best and your dog will love you for it. You can do it!
[Related, check out these Amazing Dog Pools]
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