Adopting a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences just knowing that you have been responsible for saving a dogs life pretty much says it all.
What to expect from your new rescue dog:
The first few weeks you may feel your dog is just perfect, so what does perfect look like? Typically from the dog owners perspective, a dog that is calm, laying around, not barking, is most likely to fit that “perfect dog” description. However from the dogs perspective he is far from that. Being adopted can be a terrifying experience for a dog, look at it this way. Its most likely he has spent most of his life in a shelter, then a “stranger” comes along and take him into yet another strange place, that being your home. Your newly adopted dog has yet another new situation to adjust to. Your dog’s new home may now involve living in a busy neighborhood with heavy traffic, buses, fire trucks, trains, and foot traffic, maybe lots of dogs or children.
Often times, for most dogs this is not a living environment they have been use to. It can take approximately 2 – 3 weeks before your dog will have figured out the lay of the land, and he will respond in a couple of ways; he could adapt to his new living situation easily or he could show signs of stress in his new situation which could be exhibited through hiding, or on the flip side, due to his fear and uncertainty, showing signs of growling, barking (aggression) and anything he perceives strange to him in his new world.
So what do we do?
- Give your dog some time, help him learn to adjust to his new living environment in a friendly, calm way.
- Do not push him to quickly otherwise your dog is likely to shut down or exhibit a fear anxiety response.
- Using enrichment toys to help him learn to refocus his attention, provide him with fun doggie toys he can engage in making it now a fun place to be.
- Using food to reward calm behavior,
- Never scold your dog for showing signs of fear or aggression, he needs understanding, time and the ability to build trust you and his new home through confidence building.
- A “Rescue dog” does not excuse bad behavior, but remember most rescue dogs are in a rescue situation because their previous owner did not take the time to help him develop confidence and manners.
- Now its your turn. Invest the time with your new family member, it can be challenging, but who said anything worth having was easy. The more you help your dog learn and develop manners and social skills to better chance he has of becoming the wonderful dog he can be.
Contact: Pawz for health dog training – for Rescue Dog training Maryland
Dog Training Servicing: Columbia, Chevy Chase, Fulton, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville and surrounding Maryland areas.
Good luck with your rescue dog!