Help and advice for your new rescue dog
If you have decided to provide a forever home to a Rescue Dog, it’s as important to be prepared prior to their arrival. It’s likely that you’ll have home visits and a check prior to the Dog being placed into your home. After that, you should know what you will need to have ready for the Dog and how you should be training and socialising the dog. The rescue centre should be able to assist with this plan too.
As with taking on a new puppy it’s far better to take on one new dog at a time to develop the trust, control and relationship with its new owners. Try and avoid taking more than one dog on for emotional reasons such as “feeling sorry for the one left behind”. Whilst it may be upsetting, it will be better in the long run.
A rescue dog cannot really be summed up easily and does not fit a certain description as they can range hugely in age, temperament, training level and exposure to abuse or neglect. They may always have parts of their history that we may not know.
When looking for a rescue dog, there may be some benefits .For example, it’s not that common for a young puppy to be in rescue that would need more attention and house training etc.
HOWEVER, any problems the dog may have are potentially issues you’ll have to manage forever rather than a puppy that you can train and develop. If the dog has aggression or fear of people / other animals, this may not be curable; you may have to manage the problem with training and control. If taking on a dog with needs such as this, ask the rescue centre if they will provide ongoing support or training and consider making contact with a clinical behaviourist at an early opportunity.
As with choosing a puppy a lot of the advice is similar, you should first select the right dog for you, before visiting a rescue centre and falling in love with one of the dogs there that you know nothing about!
Once you have decided on the type of dog you want then you can contact local rescue centres and also lots of breeds have their own rescues E.g. Labrador Rescue. It’s useful to talk to the centres and ask their advice on which dogs fit your requirements. It’s sensible to visit the rescue centre without children initially as their hopes will be high, if you decide on a dog and the rescue centre confirms you are approved as a new home the children can then be introduced along with other animals in a safe, secure environment to ensure compatibility.
If you do choose a dog, it’s normal procedure that the rescue will ask to check your home, ask you to attend training classes and maybe ask for references or get you to sign a contract. These are all in the animal’s interest to give it the best chance of succeeding in its 2nd home (or possibly more).
The dog is potentially having a 2nd chance and so being a kind, fair and most importantly understanding is what is required from you as the new owner. There are several published books that can offer good advice on modern approaches to training with a rescue dog. We can provide further details on request.
This will prevent the dog from becoming challenging once it has settled into its new home.
A useful way of teaching the dog that you are kind and fun to be around is to not feed food from the normal dog bowl but to feed your dog their food from your hand and ensure that it learns to earn food rewards.
You will be teaching the dog so many important lessons.
Hands come to give not to hurt, tease or steal
You are owner of the food and so pack leader
The dog cannot be possessive over the food or food bowl
If the dog earns the food you are providing training and stimulation and preventing boredom and frustration which can often lead to aggression.
The dog will enjoy being around you and you will gain more attention from your dog as the bearer of all things good!
It can be very rewarding to offer a home to a rescue dog and see the gradual improvement they make. It can also be upsetting and stressful at times.
We are able to offer support and advice on lots of rehabilitation techniques we have used ourselves and whilst training many rescue dogs.
Often when training a rescue dog it’s best to come to a one to one session as you are going to have different questions and training needs to someone who has owned their dog from a young puppy. Also it enables the dog to be more relaxed with less distraction and gradually build up the people and dogs around whilst carrying out training.