Rescuing a dog can be a very rewarding experience full of joy, but can come with many obstacles So we created a quick guide training for rescue dogs.
Fear not, here is what you need to know, and what steps to take when training for rescue dogs!
Know Your Dog’s Background
Before we get into any specific details of training for rescue dogs, you should get a full grasp of your new dog’s background.
Remember that the experiences that your dog has had will determine how to approach training. Every dog is different, and that means that the training will be modified based on your specific dog.
Is your dog happy-go-lucky, full of joy, or is your new pup a little anxious, scared, and fearful?
Is your new rescue a puppy with little to no habits, or is he an older dog with established habits?
These are the questions you will have to start getting answers to before you continue with training because every dog is different, and your dog’s past experiences will ultimately determine how your dog will behave in a given situation.
Ultimately knowing your dog’s past will tell you how to approach training with your specific dog.
Building A Relationship
Once you have uncovered your new pup’s history and background, it’s time to start building a relationship with your new dog!
The way to start building your relationship with your dog is through training your rescue dog! Of course, you can lay with your dog and let your dog get comfortable, but your new dog understands no rules, and you likely are not relevant to your new dog compared to everything around him.
The way to become more relevant in the eyes of your new dog is through consistent training, but don’t worry this isn’t going to be very complicated!
You simply want to make everything fun, so your new dog will love paying attention to you!
One way to do this is to use your dog’s food and simply reward your new pup for paying attention to you!
However, we are not just giving him the treat; you want to make it a game where every time your dog looks at you, you playfully run. This way, when he catches up to you he gets rewarded!
Play is a great way to take the relationship between you and your new dog to the next level!
Playing games like “tug” and “fetch” are both good games to play with your new dog.
The most important part of playing is to make the game more of an interactive experience between you and your dog and less about the toy.
Dogs have a natural desire to chase, as it’s fun and exciting, so why not make it game between both you and your pup?
If your dog is not too confident, you might have to take baby steps and gradually work your way up until your dog is comfortable enough to play.
Building a relationship between you and your dog isn’t just about everything being fun, though, it’s also about creating boundaries, which brings us to our next point.
Setting Boundaries Over Comfort First:
More often than not, when owners get a new dog, they choose to let their dog roam free, jump on everything, and get “comfortable” in an attempt to make their new rescue feel better.
The issue with this is that when you choose comfort over setting rules and respect first, you essentially teach your dog to do whatever he wants- whether that’s chewing furniture, going “potty” in your living room, and even trying to compete over space.
So, you must teach your new rescue boundaries and house rules before trying to give him all the freedom you want.
We all know you love your new rescue and you want him to be part of the family, but the only issue is that if you start with giving your dog all the freedom without any rules, how your dog views you in the relationship is what will become an issue.
It’s best to teach your dog what is and isn’t appropriate first, then start gradually increasing the freedom that you give your dog.
What’s the best way to manage your new rescue while teaching him the rules, you ask?
Well, crate training of course!
Crate Training for Rescue Dogs
Crate Training your dog can help you with initially teaching your new rescue the house rules. Crate training allows you to teach your new dog what behaviors are appropriate while preventing your new rescue from getting into any trouble around the house!
What’s the easiest way to crate train your pup?
Rewards, Rewards, Rewards!
You always want the crate to become a positive experience for your new dog. especially if your new rescue has had a bad history with crates.
Simply tossing some treats, a kong full of snacks, or feeding him inside the crate, and showing your dog that good things happen inside the crate will make all the difference!
Dogs learn through association, so why not make your dog associate the crate with positive things?
To learn more on crate training your pup, click here
This is probably the most important aspect of training for rescue dogs!
Providing your new rescue with a consistent routine with structure will help your new dog get acclimated to your lifestyle much faster.
The more you provide your rescue dog with structure, the fewer issues you will experience.
The way you may want to go about providing your dog with structure is very simple.
First, you want your new rescue on leash about 90% of the time. The reason for this is simply to manage what your new rescue will put his energy into.
You would much rather have control of your rescue when you need it. For example, if for some reason your dog starts chewing on furniture, you can easily redirect your new dog onto a more appropriate object.
Second, you want to set a consistent routine, such as in the beginning when you first get your rescue, every time you take your dog out of the crate you want to take him outside to potty even if he was just in the crate for 5 minutes.
You also want to start giving your rescue some alone time in the crate every day so that your rescue gets comfortable with being alone, even if it’s just 10 minutes, in the beginning. You can work your way up by increasing duration over the course of a few weeks.
Being consistent with your new dog will make all the difference. For instance, if you teach your new rescue to sit before going through the door, make sure that you stick with that 100% or you end up with a dog who will “test if he can get away with it”.
Ultimately, providing your dog with structure will come down to staying consistent with a routine. For example:
- 7:00 AM: wake up
- Take your dog out to potty
- you train your dog / feed your dog
- you put your dog back in the crate with a chew toy
- 11:00 AM: take your dog out to potty again
- you go on a walk
- you have your dog hang out in the living room with something to chew on
Everyone has a different lifestyle, but being consistent with the structure of your routine will benefit both you and your dog!
Adopting a new rescue can be exciting, so by taking the proper first steps in training for rescue dogs, you will ensure that your rescue has a seamless transition into his new life!
Remember consistency is key with anything.
Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!