The best things in life are rescued

Dogs adopted from a dog rescue or animal shelter make the BEST pets. No matter the reason they landed in the shelter, with a little time, PATIENCE, and training, shelter dogs can become happy, well-adjusted FAMILY members.

The following are some tips for training a shelter dog

Expect a Period of Adjustment

When you adopt a puppy or dog from a shelter, he comes with a history, sometimes not known even to the rescuer or to the shelter. Keep in mind that the stress of this, along with whatever the dog has experienced in his past, can make him less than confident in new surroundings. Plan on giving him some time to adjust to his new home and family. Dogs can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months to get used to living in a new place. Be PATIENT!

Assume Your New Dog Has Never Had Training

Treat your shelter dog the same way you would a new puppy coming into your house. Assume he has never had any training. Even if he has had obedience training in the past, he may need a refresher after all he’s been through. Your best bet is to expect that he knows nothing. This way you’ll be pleasantly surprised if the dog already knows some basic commands or is already housebroken, but you won’t be setting him up for failure with expectations that are too high.

Get on a Schedule

Dogs like having a routine. A dog who has spent the last few weeks or more in a shelter or rescue may have been stressed out in part because his life had become so unpredictable. By establishing a routine for feeding, walking, and playtime, you can begin providing some stability for your dog. In most cases, this will help with his adjustment to his new home.

Enroll in Obedience Class

First and foremost- make sure the training class you consider for your rescue focuses on POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT techniques. Positive reinforcement is reward based training scientifically proven research shows that dogs who are trained with this method lead well-adjusted lives, learn better & quicker, the wanted behaviours are “better established” and you end up with a happier dog. Do some research before enrolling in just any training school- punishment ( like spray bottles, choke chains, shouting, hitting, shaking things in your dogs face are all part of negative reinforcement training- the effects of which can lead to often permanent damage, fall-out behaviours and even latent aggression & recurring unwanted behaviour).

Even though it may take a little while for your shelter dog to get used to his new home, that doesn’t mean you should put off starting an obedience program. DO NOT MOLLY-CODDLE your pooch in the first few days- get straight into a routine. Dogs thrive on a happy, predictable daily routine. On the contrary, regular training sessions can help get him into a routine.

Starting a training program can also help you to establish boundaries for your dog right from the beginning. It can be tempting to coddle him for the first week out of empathy, but it is best to set rules asap! If you allow your dog to engage in certain behaviors when you first bring him home, such as eliminating on the carpet, or chewing on table legs, it will be much harder to train him to stop doing those things later. Starting an obedience class sets him up for good behavior, and makes it easier for him to become a happy and healthy member of your family!

Housetraining Accidents

Even if your dog has been housetrained before, don’t be shocked if he suddenly “forgets” his training. Remember everything is exciting, yet stressful for your new pooch so show him where he needs to eliminate. Remember, that a habit, once formed, is very hard to break. You’ll probably need to work on remedial housetraining for a while after you bring your dog home- set exact times ie morning, after meals, just before bed- a ROUTINE.

Patience is vital in helping your new found companion adjust to his new “forever” home environment

It is a known fact that rescue dogs love ten fold in return…an eternal gratefulness at being rescued … we just need to show them the steps to allow them time to adjust to their new home..and the LOVE they give in return is priceless..don’t you agree?!