At DhohOo, we think that all dogs deserve happy lives. Shelter dogs are often very misunderstood by the general public and don’t get the attention they deserve. That's why we publish essential tips and tricks for pet owners to keep them informed with the right knowledge about their pets.
Many people shy away from adopting a rescue dog because they fear that they might be violent or aggressive. However, that is usually far from the truth. Shelter dogs can be some of the most loving and well-behaved dogs around. Additionally, when you bring home a rescue dog, you’re saving a valuable life.
They do require you to take special care and make some extra efforts to help them bed-in, but the relationship you can build with a rescue dog is more than rewarding enough for that effort.
Here is everything you need to know about adopting a rescue dog and making them a member of your family.
Are You Ready to Adopt a Dog?
Adopting a rescue dog means helping out an animal in need and bringing a loving new member to the family, but remember that it’s a big responsibility. You need to ensure that everyone in your home is on board with this decision and will commit themselves to put in the time and effort to take care of your new canine buddy.
However, time and energy aren't the only resources you'll need. Pup care can be an expensive business. You'll need to spend your bucks on planned (or unplanned) vet visits, good food, toys, bedding, grooming, etc. Make sure that you can handle the financial burden of adopting a rescue dog. Otherwise, you'll be doing more harm than good.
Make It Feel Comfortable
All dogs are different. They will have different personalities, temperaments, and behaviors. This is why we have to understand that every dog will react differently to being brought into a new home. A new environment can be a shock for any dog, especially for shelter dogs. You might note that your dog initially seems overly anxious or shy in the house. They may even try to hide in corners or under the beds. You need to be patient and give them time.
Gelling them in slowly means that you need to avoid any "trigger-stacking," which refers to exposing the dog to more anxiety-causing circumstances other than bringing them into a new home. It's understandable to be excited when you bring a new dog into your house but avoid throwing a “welcome-home party” or taking your new canine buddy out to busy parks/areas. These might trigger anxiety and stress in a dog that's already received a shock in changing surroundings.
Furthermore, dog-proof your house by picking up any small objects that your canine buddy might choke on or swallow. Don’t leave any chewable stuff in the area either.
Between 6 and 8 million animals in America are left at animal shelters every year. Not all of them find homes, and as many as half of them are put to sleep because the system can't handle them. Why does this happen? Why are there so many animals being left at shelters every year?
One major reason behind this overpopulation is owners not spaying/neutering their dogs. This leads to massive litters or unwanted pups that families can’t afford to keep, so they’re given to shelters.
This is why it’s crucial to get your adopted dog spayed/neutered the first chance you get. Plus, neutering can often make your dog calmer and easier to handle.
Set Rules and Routines
The biggest mistake you can make is giving your dog free roam of the house. Dogs love routines and being led. They like it if you set rules that are easy for them to follow. You don’t want to over-spoil them by, for example, allowing them to sleep in the bed or jump on the couch.
That’s because when you later don’t want these behaviors to happen, your dog will be left confused. So, set boundaries that your dog can easily follow, and you will both be happier for it.
After adopting a rescue dog, start off by restricting them to one room and make them earn more freedom by rewarding good behavior. Here are a few examples of routines you can start implementing from day one:
- Walk your dog twice a day. Follow the same routine every day.
- Feed them at set times every day.
- Teach them to sit whenever they want something, rather than barking or pawing. Just turn your back to them if they bark or paw for a treat/meal.
- Put your dog in the crate before you open the door for guests to prevent it from jumping on them. Once your guests are settled, you can take your dog around on a leash to meet them. This is building good behavior.
Don’t Punish Mistakes
Using punishment techniques, such as scolding, cracking the leash, smacking, alpha rolling, or choking to discourage unwanted behaviors will cause a lot of pain for your dog and frighten it. Your relationship will never be the same again, and your dog will not trust you.
Plus, they don’t know what behaviors you want them to be doing. They can’t understand what you’re saying, so yelling at them doesn’t actually tell them what behaviors you didn’t like. Therefore, they'll probably repeat the action.
Instead of yelling "NO, NO, NO" repeatedly at your dog to get them to correct their behaviors, tell them to do commands they already know, such as "sit." Reward the "sit" with a treat, and your dog will start to learn what behaviors are good and which ones are bad.
Positive reinforcement is always the best way to deal with dogs, especially rescue dogs. Don’t ever use anger or punishments, or risk making your dog aggressive.
Adopting A Rescue Dog: A Beautiful Experience
Now that we’ve warned you about some of the things you need to consider when adopting a rescue dog, we can tell you how rewarding it is.
Not only are you saving a life by bringing a rescue dog into your home, but you’re also getting one of the most loyal and loving friends you will ever have in your lifetime. Plus, adopting rescue animals is often much cheaper than buying a dog at your local pet store or breeder.
Best of all: most shelter dogs are housetrained, so you may not have to put too much effort into getting them used to their new life.
So, what are you waiting for? Go out and get your new paw-rtner today!