There is nothing more rewarding than finding a home for a pet that has been mistreated or abandoned, except perhaps being that home. Every year, many rescue dogs are brought to Long Island shelters. If you walk through a shelter, you can find an incredibly wide range of dogs from teacups pedigrees to 20th generation mutts and everything in between. They are left by owners, brought in by animal control, and rescued from inhumane homes. Fortunately, on the other side are good-hearted people who realize that a new pet doesn’t have to mean shelling out thousands of dollars for a pedigree puppy when there are dozens of shelter dogs waiting to be adopted.
The Needs of Your Shelter Dog
If you are thinking about adopting a shelter dog or have recently bonded with one of those adorable furry faces in a nearby shelter, this can be one of the most enjoyable decisions you will ever make. However, it’s also important to understand that the one thing all shelter dogs have in common is that they have had a troubled life before meeting you. Some have had previous owners which means extra training might complicate your relationship. Some have been mistreated by humans and may need help adapting to what it’s like to have a loving family. Some have even lived most of their lives as strays and don’t know how to be domestic dogs yet even if they’re very friendly.
If your rescue dog is showing behavioral problems or doesn’t seem to understand what you want, don’t blame the pet. The answer is most likely that they need a little professional training.
Helping Your Dog Adapt
All dogs have to learn how to be good pets. Anyone who’s met an untrained puppy knows that dogs don’t spring from their litters knowing when to bark or where it’s safe to piddle. They have to be trained. Fortunately, most dogs are pretty smart, and they want to be your friend. We often take for granted how easy dogs are to train because they are usually so cooperative. However, if a dog has had experiences that don’t match up with the new home you’ve made for them, they may not know how to react and cooperate. They may do things you would never train a dog to do or have fear responses to things you don’t understand. These are just signs that your rescue dog hasn’t fully adapted to their new home yet.
The best way to help your rescue dog adapt is patience and careful retraining. Patience gives your dog time to adjust and learn your patterns and preferences while training gives the two of you a solid way to communicate.
Learning With Your Dog
A good professional trainer doesn’t just work with your dog, and they help owners and dogs learn how to work with each other. Often the biggest challenge in adopting a shelter dog is when they don’t know how to respond to your commands. Dog training essentially establishes a combination of words and signals you and your dog can share. Your dog has been guessing what you mean by “stay” or “be quiet.” You have likely been guessing what your dog’s signals mean as well. Training removes the guesswork by establishing a practiced response to each signal. Not only will your dog understand they should stop barking when you say “quiet,” but you will know what to do when they pick up their leash and look at you expectantly. By working together with your dog, you can quickly become a well-coordinated team.
Whether you’re planning to adopt a shelter pet or have an adorable rescue napping on your carpet right now, don’t forget to be patient with them. Behavioral problems and miscommunications are very normal. The training experts here at Canine Commander can help you build your new bond and learn to communicate with your new rescue dog. For more information about training shelter dogs and available training classes, contact Canine Commander.