Are you planning to adopt a dog from the shelter? We are so glad you thought about saving a life. But before you head to the shelter, or bring home a streetie, there are some things you should consider.
7 Things To Know Before Rescuing A Dog
Rescuing a dog is a lot like getting a dog for the first time, even if you’ve already had a dog before. There are always added precautions you have to take with rescue dogs that you may not have to with puppies.
1. The First Few Days Are The Hardest
Some rescue dogs have been troubled, or have had a difficult life and they don’t trust people very easily. Many shelter dogs have also been tossed around in foster homes so when they come to your house, they don’t know what’s in store.
Some of them may cry and whine, while others may stick to the corner. It is also possible that you see an entirely different side to their behaviour when you bring them home with you.
The same goes for street puppies too. When you adopt a happy, fun-loving street puppy, you may see them cry or whine for the first night.
Don’t give up on them on the first day. They have had a difficult ordeal their entire life, it’s completely normal for them to be a little shaken up.
2. Training Starts From Day One
Even if you adopt an adult dog, you cannot expect them to be house trained. Some rescue dogs were neglected and untrained.
Some of them came from stable houses but had some unaddressed issues. Either way, you need to be ready to take out time for training.
Some dogs develop bad habits from their previous homes or from the shelter and getting rid of those habits may be harder than training them good habits.
3. Addressing Behavioural Issues
Make sure you know what you are getting into. Ask the shelter everything they know about the dog and ask them about behavioural issues.
If you want to make sure they find their forever home, you may have to take extra precaution to get rid of those habits. If it is out of control, you might have to hire a professional trainer to address those problems.
4. Tough Love Is NOT The Way To Go
A lot of Indian pet parents might tell you that you need to be rough and tough with your dogs. Or that your dog is behaving badly because they want to exert dominance.
Rescued dogs come from troubled pasts and they are just trying to find ways to cope. Scolding them or hurting them will only make things worse.
Don’t hire trainers who advocate training with pain like pain from choke chains, prong collars etc. These short cut methods won’t address the real problem, that is their confidence. This brings us to the next topic.
5. Work On Ways To Build Their Confidence
Dogs with a traumatic past tend to have lower confidence. Much like human abuse cases, these dogs also feel like they will always be treated badly. Some dogs don’t even know where to sleep, how to behave around other dogs, where to pee, how to pee etc.
In moments like these, you need to find ways to build their confidence. Abstain from scolding them and instead prepare them for success.
Take them out every hour and praise them if they go potty. Praise them a lot for the behaviours you appreciate. Praise them like they are puppies again!
You should also consider having a training session anytime in the day. Try to keep the timing consistent to maintain stability. Train them with a lot of treats and praises to build their confidence and to strengthen your bond with them.
6. Be Prepared To Take Time Off From Work
Rescuing a dog from a shelter or from a troubling situation is a huge undertaking and requires a lot of time and dedication.
If you plan on rescuing a dog, you need to ask yourself if you can dedicate time to train the dog and build their confidence.
Does your work provide work from home facilities? If not, is your dog with a family member while you are away? And can that family member walk them and train them while you are away? Is there a trusted doggy daycare or pet sitter nearby?
You have to ask yourself all these questions before adopting a rescue dog and only adopt if you are confident that you can give them the time they deserve.
7. It’s Okay To Say No
Rescuing a dog, with a troubled past, is a huge undertaking, and it’s completely understandable if you are not ready for that kind of commitment.
You need to work extra hard to get them on track. Sometimes, even after all the training and dedication, they may have some life long fears that they have to live with.
It is okay to say no to that undertaking. Remember that the last thing you want to do is to put that dog back in the shelter. So, only go ahead with the rescue if you are absolutely sure you can take complete responsibility for them.
Of course, for those who are unsure of rescuing a special needs dog, or a sad and abused dog, you can always adopt a puppy with a stable past.
It’s really fulfilling to adopt a dog but it’s even more fulfilling to know with confidence that they are in their forever home! We hope this article helps you make that decision.
Have you ever rescued a dog? What has been your experience so far? Let us know in the comment section below. We are always eager to know your thoughts.