Rescue Dogs The Joys and The Challenges
Rescue Dogs Make Great Pets
Adopting a rescue dog is a great option if you are looking for a new best friend. However, there is a huge difference between adopting a dog and getting a puppy. Raising a puppy can be challenging enough. However many, if not most, rescue dogs display some kind of behavioral issues. In my experience most of these behaviors stem from a lack of socialization or just plain neglect and then there are those that have been physically abused. There is not a single day that I am not contacted by someone who needs help with a rescue dog.
If you are reading this and are in the process of deciding between a puppy and adopting a dog don’t let what I said above scare you off. I don’t think it is fair to stigmatize rescue dogs, they are still what they are; dogs.
Given the right kind of environment, an adopted dog can end up being one of the best dogs you will ever own.
There are many good reasons for adopting a dog
I think the act of bringing a rescue dog into your home is reason enough. Giving a dog a chance at survival compared to the other choice is just a great thing to do. Plus you get to skip the puppy phase and there are situations when that is the smart thing to do. Rescue dogs can be great pets but you have to be a great dog owner!
I used to work with the Bitterroot Humane Association taking “retriever” type dogs that they felt were not adoptable but were too nice to put down. I didn’t take a lot of them but I did several and though it took a couple months working with them, each one turned out to be nice dog and all of them did get adopted. I didn’t really do anything different with them than I do with a pup. I just put them to work. Starting right away with obedience, not to mention the crate training, housebreaking, general good doggy manners. The key is providing the right kind of environment and the right kind of leadership.
This is especially important with rescue dogs. Puppies have the chance and the time to learn the habits within the home. They get to grow into their place in the home. Rescue dogs if they are older than around 9 months are much closer to an adult dog so it does not have this opportunity. At the same time your rescue dog may have been moved around quite bit without being able to settle into any of the places that he or she stayed. This is particularly hard on dogs as it is quite contrary to their psychological need to be part of a stable social group.
Even though there is a lot of discussion on the importance of the humans in the house being the “pack leaders” it is still the area where most problems with our canines stem from. The social structure in dogs is very complex. However, the most important thing to understand is that dogs do best in a well structured environment, not a lot different than children. And like children, dogs need to have some responsibility within the household. This is not so much about being dominant as it is about being a leader. It is not hard to acquire these canine leadership skills you just need to make the commitment and take some time to learn these skills.
It takes a fair amount of time and effort to adopt a dog these days. Also, there is the cost of the adoption, and then all the things that go along with bringing a dog into your home. Collars, leashes, toys, beds etc. People tend to spend a lot of money on their dogs. However, the one area where people don’t invest enough is in educating themselves in how to be a better dog owner. I’m not talking about a college education in canine psychology and I am not talking about spending thousands or even hundreds of dollars. Your dog is going to be with you for years, hopefully a lot of years. Is it unreasonable to do everything you can to set the stage for success? Success for both you and your dog. A well mannered dog is a joy, but an out of control dog can be a nightmare.
There is a lot of good free information out there. I am sure you could spend the next year on YouTube watching dog “training” videos. However, I think your better off getting your education from someone that has a true training program. And when it comes to rescue dogs I believe the program you choose should have a strong focus on behavioral training. My program is based on building quality working field dogs. That does not mean that I can’t raise a good house dog, I can and I have raised many. It also doesn’t mean that I lack the knowledge to deal with any number of behavior issues. However, I am not a trained behaviorist.
If your truly vested in having the best chance for success then I highly suggest taking a look at “The Online Dog Trainer“.
This is far from a review which I may do in the future but here are the highlights.
Daniel Abdelnoor who is known as “Doggy Dan” is a full time Professional Dog Trainer. Dan is a Certified Behaviorist and probably most telling for me, Dan is fully endorsed by the The SPCA.
If you are in the process of adopting a dog or have an adopted dog or any dog for that matter that is exhibiting any of the following behavior issues.
Separation Anxiety Issues
Aggression Towards Other Dogs or People
Fear of Other People or Dogs
Fear of Loud Sounds (Fireworks etc.)
Problems With Submissive Urination
Then Dan’s training program might just be the answer your looking for. Everyone of the above behaviors can be corrected, but you need the right information. There is a $1 trial so you can check out the site and the training and if you decide to sign up for Dan’s program it does not have to be a long term commitment, a few months should be plenty. The monthly cost for Dan’s program is about the same as a months worth of high quality dog food.
Make an investment in you and your dog’s wellbeing, I believe you will find that it is the best decision you ever made for you and your dog!