Rover Rescue: Adapting a Rescue Dog to a New Environment
While bringing home a rescue dog can be exciting for you, it can be terrifying to your new dog, especially if he is a more timid sort. Oftentimes, rescue dogs have gone through some sort of trauma, whether it's the trauma of abandonment, abuse, or having been a stray for an extended period of time. Before you bring your new family member home, put a plan in place for helping him adjust quickly to his new forever home.
Give Three Days of No Demands
If your dog is particularly nervous, let him have space. Don't force attention he may not want; if he wants to be left alone, respect that. Give him his own space with a comfortable bed, food and water, toys/treats, and a kennel. Dogs are den creatures and feel more secure in their environment when they have their own "den" to escape to when they're feeling overwhelmed. Take him outside when he needs to, go for walks for exercise, and monitor him closely. Potty accidents, hole digging, or other destructive behavior can't occur if he's closely supervised. Make sure he feels safe, but also knows the rules. Be firm.
Be consistent with your dog and use positive reinforcement. Simply put, bad behaviors get ignored or redirected and good behaviors get endless amounts of praise. When your new dog goes potty outside, make it a happy time. Lots of happy praise and treats will make your dog realize that going outside is what makes his new family happy. If he has an accident in the house, immediately take him outside and praise him heavily when he does his business where he's supposed to. However, don't be overly permissive. Yes, your dog has had a hard time, but that doesn't excuse poor behavior like growling, jumping, or destroying household items.
Don't Bombard Him
You'll want to show your new furry friend off to everyone you know, but it's best to keep the environment quiet for a few weeks. One or two people coming in and out probably won't stress your pet out, but a birthday party or barbecue absolutely will. Avoid places like pet stores, dog parks, or other heavily populated social places, too. He needs to focus on adjusting to his new home and dropping new people or places in on him during this adjustment period can cause setbacks in getting adjusted. Make sure your dog won’t attack strangers. Often rescues have adapted to become more aggressive to deal with their environments. According to Taylor and Blair, personal injury lawyers in Surry BC, they say it is great to praise soft play. Be sure before they meet new people and animals they are well trained enough to avoid an accident like this.
The basic rule of having a new rescue dog is to keep things quiet. Allow him time to learn about his new people, his new bed, and his new rules. He's gone from a noisy shelter environment to a home and that can be intimidating, no matter how good of a change it is. If you ever have any dog behavior questions, contact a professional dog trainer to help you stay on the right track for a long lasting relationship with your dog.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She has lived and worked in her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico after her graduation from the University of New Mexico. Contact her via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.