The "perfectly behaved" dog takes a little bit of time, patience and proper training.
Adopting a Rescue Dog
Adopting a rescue dog can be an amazing experience however, the number one reason why dogs end up back in the shelter is behavioral issues. These issues can be resolved with proper training. As dog owners it is our responsibility to work with our animals to develop acceptable behavior. If we take the time to work with, rehabilitate and build more confidence in these dogs we can increase the possibility of each pup staying in their furever home.
Bringing Your Rescue Dog Home
We recommend when bringing your rescue dog home, or any dog for that matter, make the transition calm and slow. An environment change is often very tough on a dog. It is recommended to watch your new dogs behaviors and reactions when introducing into a new environment, family members or current pets . The shelter is a very over stimulating place for a dog, often times overcrowded. Extended stay shelter dogs are more at risk for developing behavioral issues. For the dog's sake we try to make the transition as "quiet" and calm as possible.
Shelter Dog Transition Period
The dogs we pull often have had 2 or more years of inadequate training/structure which in one way or another has ended with the dog in the shelter. Most shelter dogs are not puppies, be cautious and allow for your new dog to gradually ease into his / her new home. Keep in mind that on average it takes a dog 10 days to transition into a new environment (some cases even longer) and during this time it is important for the adopter / foster to pay close attention to the new dogs body language.
It is important to be extra cautious during this period to avoid any unwanted situations. Take things slow. As much as you may want new people or existing animals to meet your new canine allow new dogs to slowly get accustomed to their new environment before introducing new animals. Letting them explore more of the home only after you have had enough time to evaluate his / her behavior and you feel comfortable.
Basic Dog Obedience Training for Rescue Animals
While our pups are in foster homes, we encourage our fosters to work with their dogs daily, teaching them basic commands such as heel, sit, down, off and leave-it.
Crate Training a Rescue Dog
Dogs are denning animals, meaning the more insecure dogs will feel more comfortable in a crate, especially to begin with. No matter the breed, we try to encourage crate training as a transitional tool. This is even more important when working with a more insecure dog. Crates provide them a set location where they can feel safe and reduce the risk of in-house "accidents" or property damage.
Basic Obedience Training
Dogs being pack animals by nature, enjoy structure. Most dogs want something to do, training fills that need and re-enforces the bond between handler and canine. If you plan on adding a new dog to your family it is recomended to setup a daily routine and training schedule with your new pup.
Introducing Other Animals
Introduction should always be done on leash and NEVER face to face. No matter what introduction method you use perform introductions on neutral ground and avoid face to face confrontations.**Keynote: It is important that each handler remains in complete control of the dog, not allowing his/her dog from jumping, lunging, or showing aggressive behavior. If such events happen simply remove the dog from the introduction and try again after the dog comes back under control.
Be the Leader, Stay in Control
Dogs are pack animals and by nature look for a leader among their own family. If no pack leader is present most dogs often will assume this role resulting in a dog who challenges your role, does not listen to given commands and opens the door for bad behavior. When you are working with your dog give, firm, clear commands, be in charge and stay in complete control especially when working with a new rescue animal.