AFTER TWO WEEKS MY RESCUE DOG IS SUDDENLY BEING VERY “NAUGHTY”
I often get calls from clients who have adopted a rescue dog and they tell me that for the first couple of weeks he has been an “absolute angel!” then suddenly he has “changed” & become the dog from hell! Hmnnnn ………… the dog has now habituated to his new environment is now starting to feel safe and have trust in you – and sometimes this is when it becomes evident why he was surrendered in the first place.
Fortunately for the dog – by that time, the new owners have fallen for him – so are usually more than willing to work through any issues that start appearing at this stage. So be aware that this could be on the cards and have some plans in action to deal with some of the more common problems.
He Won’t Know The Rules
This is a big one. Every home has different rules. This dog might have gone from comfy living (or not, depending on his origin), to a place with very few comforts (the shelter), to your home, which probably seems like paradise after the shelter. He’s not going to know what to do, or what not do. You will need to start to gently guide him into your routines & gently introduce any house rules.
Dogs are also great opportunists. Even if he’s never sat on a sofa before coming to live with you, he’ll probably try anyway, just to see if you’ll let him. The same goes for begging for food, or sleeping on the bed. Don’t punish him for trying, but try to limit his choices and not put him in the position where he is able to make the “wrong” choice.
Good Rules To Establish:
Give him his own area to eat in. Don’t expect him to eat close to other dogs – nor should you let children pester him whilst he is eating – he might have had to fight to get a meal at some stage! An indoor dog crate is a wonderful thing to use as a “safe “place. However, he might need to be gradually accustomised to the crate & this could take a bit of time – especially if he has not had previous positive crate experiences.
He should not be disturbed when in his “safe” place – his “safe place” “rights” in this regard should be respected – especially by the children. He deserves a place where he can escape to if he feels the need. This includes his own space to sleep in – again respect his rights – and he should not be pestered by the kids when he is in his bed
To help bonding with the dog – the entire family should take turns providing meals & the good things in life.
The same goes with calm play – (unless he is fearful) try to get the whole family involved as play is a wonderful way to bond!
The family can also take turns with the scoop the poop duties – this is also a good idea to help teach everyone what a responsibility it is to own a dog.
Encourage the whole family to take part in some basic training such as teaching the dog to “come” when called. All learning should be reward based & using basic positive reinforcement methods & each and every interaction should be rewarding in some way for the dog.
Be careful which rules you establish / reinforce!
Beware of giving a dog attention whilst exhibiting behaviours you dislike –the attention could be perceived as a reward and the behaviour will escalate!
Rather concentrate on rewarding and giving the dog attention when he is displaying behaviour that you approve of.
Ignore the negative and reward and praise the positive!
COMMON PROBLEMS TO PREPARE FOR – REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS!
Being forewarned is sometimes being forearmed! Expect the worst then you will be often pleasantly surprised! To follow are some of the most common problems that you are likely to come across. Most of them are pretty easy to solve – with a little common sense & some time, patience & understanding.
The basic rule is to ignore all negative behaviour & reward and praise all good or positive behaviour.
Many common problems are caused by stress – therefore it is imperative that the dog is not punished for these unwanted behaviours. If you punish a dog for displaying stress behaviour – the stress levels with heighten and his behaviour could well worsen or develop/escalate into further unwanted behaviours.