While adopting a rescue dog provides you with the opportunity to change its life for the better, doing so still comes with a set of obstacles. It is essential to keep in mind that rescues often come from distressed homes or abusive circumstances. Some have been deserted, others have been mistreated, and some have lost their previous owners. These are some of the common reasons why rescue dogs have trust issues.
Adopting a rescue dog is not the same as bringing home a newborn puppy that you can raise and train to become the kind of dog you've always wanted to have. Compared to the general population, the majority of rescues are elderly dogs with behavioural patterns and their own innate fears. However, that's not really a bad thing as long as you know how to establish trust with the animal.
Being aware of the psychology and the predetermined behaviour of a rescue dog will make the adjustment period easier to handle. But how are you going to develop the connection and start building trust? It's best to begin by recognizing your rescue dog's habits and knowing what to anticipate.
Here are some effective ways to get started:
Introduce a Safe Place
In order for a dog to be relaxed and happy in its new home, you need to prove that he or she can feel safe around your house. Whether or not you know your rescue pet's past trauma, you should avoid negative punishments as much as possible. If you want your dog to trust you, you have to maintain a calm and encouraging attitude during the first few months. When you're relaxed when it comes to dealing with him or her, that will reassure your dog that there's nothing to fear about.
Give Him or Her Space
Does this sound like a piece of breakup advice? In all seriousness, while dogs don't really bite the hand of the person that feeds them, gaining your rescue's trust is not a walk in the park. Your dog needs time to adapt to his or her new place, and this is completely normal. When it comes to building your relationship together, let your dog be the one to greet you, the one who looks for love, and the one who initiates playtime. You can achieve this by showing him or her that you care. Simple gestures like giving him or her dog toys will be much appreciated in the long run. Moreover, it will take time to establish trust with your new friend, so if you want to try to entertain him or her with a toy or a treat, always keep in mind to be mindful of your dog's space.
Discover Your Dog's Habits
Every rescue pet has an ingrained habit. If you want to discover your dog's likes and dislikes, then you have to spend time learning his or her behavior. Don't pressure your dog to play new games and do new ways when he or she obviously wants something else. Although this can apply to puppies, adult rescues have already established patterns in their behavior and in their interests as well. As long as they are not aggressive or destructive, it will be easier for you to embrace your dog's formed behavior.
Help Your Dog' Overcome Its Separation Anxiety
Many rescue dogs are suffering from separation anxiety. This is something that you have to pay a great deal of attention to after the adoption. Make sure you have plenty of time to take care of him or her so he or she won't be left alone, especially in the first few weeks. Furthermore, don't let the dog rely on your presence too much — when the dog settles in and feels relaxed in the new environment, start encouraging him or her to be alone for extended periods of time.