Whether you got your dog from a breeder, SPCA, dog rescue, or if they just randomly showed up on your front porch you both benefit from the relationship.
I’d like to flip the script on the term “rescue” dog.
Lots of my clients have rescue dogs. Sometimes you learn the dog's history and other times you don’t. Some situations were absolutely horrifying.
It is totally in our human nature to feel bad for the dog. The stories I could tell you. I have seen some truly awful things – not just in rescue situations but with breeders as well.
Dogs definitely have residual behaviors from past experience. Left alone for hours, not socialized, not potty trained, or worse.
The good news is dogs pretty much live in the moment. This is where we’ve got to change our mindset as owners! These dogs are to be loved, not pitied. They need to experience the world, not stay sheltered.
We must treat our dogs as if they won the lottery – as if they are the luckiest dogs in the whole world. Because they are.
The bad behaviors can be managed. You can teach your dog anything you set your mind to.
Don’t “feel bad” for your dog, coddle them, or give up on them!
Consider your dogs past experience, but know that today is a new day. It will take time, but all you need to do is train. A top reason dogs are returned to the breeder or shelter is lack of training. Dogs do not speak English. It is our job to teach them.
- Non-Stop Barking. Dogs who like to bark need to be given time that is appropriate for barking. I teach my barking dogs to speak. When we are in the backyard, field, or the beach I encourage them to speak. When we are home and they are barking at the 500th squirrel, I let them bark for a moment and then tell them quiet. Training them to understand what speak and quiet means will keep both of you happy.
- Eliminating Indoors.
Until I know for sure a new dog in my house knows what #pottyoutside means I assume they haven’t learned. I do not like cleaning up pee and poop. If you aren’t expecting it, it’s all the more frustrating. I put them on a leash and watch them like a hawk. If I can’t watch them I put them in a crate. That’s a 2 sentence explanation – if you’d like more I have a Free Potty Training Workshop online.)
- Crate Aversion: The crate is your best friend in training. But what if your dog hates the crate or has never been in one? The most vital thing is to make the crate a safe, positive place. Start by providing meals in the crate. Teach them to do a down-stay in the crate with lots of yummy treats. Give the crate a cool name and get an excited voice and animated body when it’s time for your dog to go in.
Dogs are the absolute best. They are capable of so many amazing things. They offer us comfort, unconditional love, they can be trained to tell you when you were sick, they can be trained to offer stability, they can be trained to detect dangerous things, they make us laugh, and they fill our hearts with joy.
You can fix bad dog behaviors. It just takes time, patience, and a whole lot of repetition.