When introducing a Rescue dog to your home it is important to remember not to listen to your instincts. As a human being in today’s society your instincts are probably wrong, greatly dulled, or, from excessive TV watching, just plain non-existent! The common person’s instincts when it comes to dealing with nervous, anxious, aggressive, excitable, hyper, dominant, or an otherwise imbalanced dog are, in the main, dead wrong.
And believe me, you may think your new rescue dog is a, “real lover” (meaning the dog constantly loves to receive attention and be patted or pet and gets up on your lap or stays right by your side, or licks and kisses you often) but to me that’s a clear warning sign…Proceed with caution!
Most rescue dogs are on their very best behavior when they are put into a new home. Keep this in mind and enjoy the short interlude because after three or four weeks (sometimes sooner) of living and getting accustom to the home environment the poor owner is suddenly confounded and befuddled when their, “precious, lovable, new, furry, family member,” decides to growl at someone in order to claim something in the house, or suddenly develops housebreaking issues, or is acting more nervous and fearful by the day, or starts to bark or guard the front door from any and all visitors and loved ones, or starts to act insane on leash, or, perhaps the most sinister of all, just starts to slowly but surely dominate and manipulate any and all things to his/her doggy advantage. Many dogs do this before the human is even aware of what’s going on! Soon the dog has out-touched, out-maneuvered, and in general just outdone (dominated) the human being.
You thought you had a, “real lover” on your hands and so you decided to keep up the constant petting, baby talk, and giving of treats to bribe your way into a cozy relationship with your new rescue dog… you didn’t realize you were feeding and reinforcing a state of mind dominated by Fear. You were unaware how intelligent and manipulative this furry creature could be. This happens on a daily basis across the world!
The human, after seeing a singing Sarah Mclachlan commercial and feeling awful (weak energy!) goes out and decides to make a difference in at least one animals life. And then the downward spiral of manipulation begins. The human didn’t even know the dog was that fearful until something in the environment finally triggers the fear. Or, if the new owner did recognize the fear they do the one thing to make it infinitely worse and give the fearful mind what it wants…the ability to remain fearful! They let the dog use them as a comfort blankey 24/7! The rescue dog then continues and sometimes increases the use of unsocial fight/flight habits mixed with escalated out of control energy levels.
Here are some Don’t and Dos that will really help you…
Don’t label and keep the “rescue dog” as a victim for very long. Let the dog move on…basically Don’t live in the past and use weak energy with your dog. (See my other post on, “Dealing with a fearful dog.”)
Don’t let the dog smell the whole house. Why would I give the new rescue dog access to the whole house? The dog should earn access to more rooms and levels of your home after a number of weeks.
Don’t let the dog constantly use you as a comfort blanket and always touch you or “love” on you. This is probably the most important on the list.
Don’t let the new rescue sleep in your bed or any humans’ bed. This can quickly lead to behavioral issues as many dogs may soon start to claim certain spots or the whole bed itself as their own.
Do exercise the hell out of the dog. This is a great time to show leadership (work the heel position), drain energy, release stress, bond as a pack, and explore and socialize your new companion.
Do make the dog work for praise, affection and it’s breakfast sometimes.
Do make it clear that any and all humans are the owners of everything in the dog’s life including the dog’s own body. This is a very important “do.”
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Feel free to leave questions or comments. If your rescue is fearful or aggressive read my other post entitled “Dealing with a fearful dog.” And don’t forget to go to my business website for some great products and other info www.gstevensdogtrainer.com