Rescue dogs

You can usually judge the character of a puppy within a day or two. This is not always the case with rescue dogs. You could take on a dog with a lovely temperament who is scared and so may seem to show aggressive tendencies due to fear. You could have a very strong dog who seems very biddable while he tries to judge the weak one in the family who he can manipulate to get his own way.
 
It is important to let a rescue dog know exactly what his boundaries are (in the nicest possible way, of course) He is probably quite confused having gone from one house to another and you are not doing him any favours if you let him have a ‘settling in period’ when he can do what he wants.
He may have come from a household who sometimes let him get away with things and other times came down on him hard if he misbehaved. So, if you ask him to do something make sure he does it by luring if necessary and rewarding him when he gets it right. If you don’t want him to do something i.e. get on the furniture, don’t let him do it from the start.
 

GIVE HIM SPACE

Don’t keep trying to pet your dog or give him cuddles; let him come to you. It can be quite frightening for the dog if you keep ‘grabbing’ him. Many dogs, even ones with good temperaments, are not ‘cuddly’ dogs. You must respect this and not force him. You may find he demands ‘excessive cuddles; this may means he feels insecure and you could make him worse by constantly cuddling him.
 

THE PACK

Don’t get too hung up on being the leader of the pack. Everybody has to conform to rules; even us. Dogs learn to do what they have to, to get what they want. They soon learn who the ‘softest’ one is who will feed them treats for nothing. The dog won’t respect them and won’t bother to do what they tell them because they know they can get their own way and still get treats.
Be consistent and follow through your commands and never give a titbit for nothing. Do not give praise for nothing, but make sure you give praise and rewards to the dog doing what you want.
 

CHANGING HIS NAME

It is fine to change his name. Don’t make the mistake of just saying it over and over to get him used to it. To start with, when he looks at you, say his new name and reward. Say his name when he is giving you attention. This will teach him to look at you when he hears his name. Then start saying it when he is not looking at you, but not engrossed in something, then build it up to using it when you want him to do something. Try not to use his name if you are going to scold him.
 

HOUSE TRAINING

If you have a rescue dog it may not seem to be housetrained. This could be that it has never been taught, or has been in kennels for a while and got out of the habit, or it could just be stress or even that he doesn't know where the door is. Whatever the reason, treat it just as you would a puppy that has not been housetrained.
To prevent accidents in the house and to teach him where he should toilet you need to put him into the garden at regular intervals:
When he wakes up
After a meal
After he has been playing
After an hour from the previous time
If he shows signs of wanting to go out
When he goes out, if he doesn’t go within 3 minutes, go indoors but let him out after 20 minutes.
Restrict where he can wander in the house without your attention, so can’t find nice corners to go to the toilet.
It is no good scolding him if he has an accident; it will just make him more stressed; be more vigilant watching for signs that he wants to go out.
 
UNWANTED BEHAVIOUR
If he 'misbehaves', don't assume the behaviour will improve with time. Make sure he does what you want and praise and reward when he does it correctly. Get help from a trainer or dog club.
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